said 1 year, 4 months ago:
This is a post close to my heart and it is interesting reading your opinions. I wanted to put my point of view – not as a sales pitch but as somebody who offers the only accredited Social Media Qualification in the UK. I agree with @marlenegavens that it is a quality not a quantity – and that it should sit within marketing.
At the back end of 2010, I got tired of small businesses in the UK hiring so called ‘Social Media experts’ and then finding out that in reality they had only just joined Twitter or were ‘learning on the job – at the business owners expense’. At the same time, there is a need for people to understand how to use Social Media. This is an new area of potential employment in times of hardship.
I got together with a colleague and created a Social Media Qualification that we got accredited through City & Guilds at Level 2 and Level 3 (if that means anything to you). This is currently the only accredited Social Media Qualification in the UK which means that it goes through quality processes and verification.
Our qualification is not a tick box. Candidates actually have to use all the major Social Networking sites in anger for a business, as well as reflect on best practice for a minimum of 4 months. The qualification is evidence based so that candidates are assessed on their reflections as well as how they use the tools, set up their profiles, produce content, and apply Social Media to the business situation.
Through training and assessment we cover from ‘reviewing current marketing strategy, business values and brand and what success means’, through using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Googe+ (more recently), Foursquare (if approriate) and other tools, Keywords, WordPresss, Blogging, Google Analytics, Video, Accessibility, and end up with creating Policy and Guidelines and a Social Media Strategy going forward.
Once candidates have completed the training and achieved the qualification, I still don’t think they are ‘experts’ (this is an ever changing and learning environment) – but they can go to a small or medium business and offer a knowledgeable solution to the business’s Social Media needs. Likewise the business owner has some way of understanding their capability in an ever evolving new business service.
I would be interested to know what others in the club think.