Are you a social media "ninja"? I didn't think so.

Are you a social media “ninja”? I didn’t think so.

I am NOT a social media expert. I appreciate it when people call me that, but I do not consider myself an expert. In my opinion it takes a lot more than being a power user to become an expert. As Malcolm Gladwell said, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. As much time as I spend online, I haven’t spent 10,000 using services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I bring this up thanks to Spirit, the Southwest Airlines inflight magazine. On a recent flight to Seattle I read an article about social media and social media experts. They used the words ninja, mavens, evangelists, and experts. As if the term expert wasn’t bad enough, the word “ninja” just makes me laugh. According to the article, 32,233 people refer to themselves as a “ninja”. Ha!

There are a lot of people that consider himself or herself an expert… But I’m here to tell you, you’re not. It takes more than using a service to be an expert. You need clients. You need case studies. You need to prove that you can produce results using these social services. Even though I don’t consider myself an expert, I do have some case studies that validate my services as a social media consultant.

YouTube Goes Viral

I manage several social media accounts for the company I work for. Last year, during the Super Bowl, one of our employees was on the field after the game and snagged a video of Greg Jones proposing to his girlfriend after the New York Giants won the game. I took the video, optimized it for YouTube, and shared it on our YouTube channel. Within 24 hours the video had over 100,000 views and it was my first experience working with an organic viral marketing campaign. The video would eventually reach over 500,000 views and still gets views, and search results on a daily basis.

Greg Jones Proposal Super Bowl Onfield Marriage Proposal

Proving Paying For Facebook Works

One of our clients is The Spirit International. The Spirit is a biennial amateur golf tournament that I have been working with since they hit the web. I manage all of their social media efforts including their blog. Facebook is where I have seen the most engagement from fans of the event.

A few months ago, I did some research and decided to pitch the idea of paying for some ads on Facebook. We discussed it for a few days, and decided to set a goal of $15 a day to promote the page. The account had only 255 connections when we started the campaign. Now, after only three weeks, the page has over 1,000 connections. That shows me that if you pay for Facebook ads, your will increase your number of connections. Engagement has also gone up. But, that isn’t what went viral. The Paige Mackenzie post did.

Two weeks ago The Spirit announced that Paige Mackenzie would be the captain for team USA in 2013. Paige is very active online, so we wanted to promote a post. We drafted a nice post about the announcement, supplied a link to a press release about the announcement, and promoted the post. At the time this blog was posted, that one post has reached more than 2,935 people.

LIVE From Amy’s Baking Company

My blog gets a lot of traffic, but nothing like what I saw during the grand reopening at Amy’s Baking Company. If you’re not familiar with Amy’s, the Phoenix New Times has some pretty comprehensive coverage of the meltdown. Needless to say, I was excited to have dinner at Amy’s. Since I’m a blogger, I figured I would blog about it. Not blog… LIVE blog. Sheryl decided to tweet about it during dinner, and our friend Dennis was going to post about it on Facebook. We were covered.

Our reservation was at 5:00 PM, but we didn’t get in on time. I began to blog, shared some links on Twitter and Facebook, and just continued to update the post while at dinner. From meeting/chatting with Samy to all our food, I documented it all! During dinner I was using my phone to push content to my site. Eventually the app wouldn’t allow me to update anymore, and eventually told me I didn’t have permission to access my website. As a matter of fact, the site was shut down. I freaked out and called my host provider.

Long story short, my site had been shut down due to traffic. I would later learn my site had 54,000 hits between 6:30-7:10 that evening. Eventually I got my site back, but it was a learning experience for me having something I didn’t expect to go viral truly going viral. Sheryl also went somewhat viral with her blog post about Amy’s. Her blog has over 60 comments and is spreading like wild fire. All we did was document our experience. I guess people wanted to hear about the meltdown. Thanks to Sheryl’s Twitter account, we were also interviewed by the Associated Press. Oh, and Channel 3 and Channel 10 news!

There are other success stories that I could discuss, but I just wanted to prove I have some success using social media. From blogging to using sites like Facebook and Twitter, I feel totally connected. Since the Amy’s incident I’ve had several people call/email me from around the world (including Cambodia and Indonesia) saying they saw me in the news or online being interviewed. Does that make me an expert? That is for you to decide. I just understand social media, the ability to connect with people all over the world, and the ability to do it from my phone. Social media has changed the way we, as a human race, communicate. If I’m an expert in something, maybe it’s in communication. I know how to use social media sites to increase brand awareness… But I’m no ninja!