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Is Being A Social Media Jack of All Trades A Good Idea?

If you were to consider only the most used (thus possibly also the most influential) social media outlets what would you list as the Top 5? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn? Would you have another combination that would make better sense for your business? I ask this question so we can seriously consider what the true skill set of a social media professional is as we move deeper and deeper into the online social age. Is it truly possible to be a master of all of those social media outlets? I would consider a master being someone who knows every nook and cranny of each property. A master would know literally everything about the processes, rules, regulations, do’s, don’ts, shortcuts and more about every one of those networks.

Of course, knowing the rules and regulations is just the start. The next, and arguably much more important aspect, is the application of the particular tools to your particular business. This is no small feat, since it is proven every day that social media, while having all the magical elements of measurement, is still a very elusive animal. What works today might not work this evening. Throw in the many land mines that can be encountered as a complete surprise and you have something that is both valuable and dangerous. Then take into account the constant change that exists in the space and you are looking at quite a task at hand.

While the idea of mastering a particular area of social media is enticing, there is a problem with that. You really need to know exactly how your corner of the social media world interacts with each other. As a result, your apparent mastery of one piece of the social media puzzle will possibly be watered down due to a less than masterful approach to others.

The natural reaction in the face of this kind of situation is to know a little about a lot, so that your knowledge base can span the high points of the most important social elements of your area of need. In fact, it appears that this is the path that most have taken. As a result, we have a lot of what Daniel Gulati calls (in a post for the Harvard Business Review) the “Everyday Expert,” which can be a real danger.  It’s an interesting read, especially for the Internet and social media marketing space since everyone and their brother is an expert, ninja, maven or whatever. Gulati shows just how tough it can be to forecast anything at all.

A comprehensive study of 250 economic and political experts making 80,000 forecasts over 20 years suggested that, on average, they performed no better than dart-throwing monkeys.”

So what’s my point here? We all have to figure out just how much we do and don’t know about Internet and social media marketing and we need to come to terms with it. There is a lot of pretending going on. The smart people realize that all of these elements play together on many levels and the idea that staying in one corner of the Internet marketing space is ill advised. That’s not to say you have to be everywhere all at once either.

So we are presented with a bit of a conundrum, aren’t we? Well, there is a solution. It’s something that is often elusive in the world today. Are you ready? It’s called the truth. If you are not a jack of all trades or a master of one area of the online space, then don’t say you are. Don’t give up, either. Instead, find people to partner with who can “fill in the blanks” for you with regard to your weak spots.

As we get further into the social media age, it is getting more and more difficult to keep pace with the change and innovation that occurs. Much of this innovation is driven by venture money that is not necessarily looking for something that truly helps people but rather something that can build up quickly and provide a cash out opportunity. We need to be very careful not to jump on every bandwagon that someone like a Robert Scoble throws in our path. Just because it’s cool doesn’t mean you need to know it or use it. Just imagine having to be a jack of al trades across an even greater number of offerings just so you can say you are. That’s a plan that will blow up. I guarantee it.

If you would like to be a consummate professional, the first thing you may want to recognize are your current limitations. That way you won’t go where you don’t belong and , even better, you won’t take someone else along for the ride.

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