A very thought-provoking post by Social Media Explorer prompted an interesting discussion yesterday about social media and public relations agencies. An executive from Chicago sought me out to ask, “When I submit social media RFPs to PR agencies, how can I tell if they actually know what they’re doing?” As Facebook reaches new heights and Twitter continues to see explosive growth, reputable PR agencies are increasingly stepping into the social media game. Of course, there are no college degrees offered in social media, there are no certification programs, and the field is evolving at such a rapid rate that it’s very hard for anybody to keep up with it all, let alone be able to competently test other people on their social media skills. In the last month, employees of at least two different PR agencies candidly admitted to me that their social media capabilities were not what they needed to be. At the same time, you have thousands of people claiming to be “social media experts.” (DISCLAIMER: I, too, am a self-proclaimed “social media expert.”) So what you’re left with is a lot of reputable PR agencies with track records – that are not in social media – and a lot of free-floating social media experts with knowledge but no track record. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff.
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