There's no such thing as a social media expert. Does it ever seem like Twitter is one big pool of brands talking to each other, bragging about themselves? Are you wondering why your Facebook posts are only being shown to a handful of people? Or what the heck a Reddit AMA is and whether you should include it in you marketing plan? Taking a step back, the social media sphere is constantly changing, and what's more, the strategy to make it work for you requires a unique combination of knowledge of your industry, listening skills, writing ability, communication strategy and time. If you can't devote the resources to social media, it will be difficult to see a return from it, regardless of whether you're looking to gain leads, create a customer service outlet, hear feedback, conduct research or employ any of the countless ways social media can help your business. What is an expert, anyways? Navigating the platforms, processes and personalities that comprise the many different social media avenues is a huge undertaking. You may look to colleagues, interns, and even kids, for guidance and help speaking the language of today's social media scene. But even the most savvy young professional, well-trained intern or techiest kid won't know the most important secret to your social media success: there's no such thing as a social media expert. Social media platforms, features, integrations and commerce functionality are updated frequently (for example, recently Facebook changed the way people see posts in their news feeds), trending topics change constantly, and the automated programs that were invented to "manage" social media workflows often lack the ability to listen and process content and responses with authenticity. So even though phrases like "social media guru" and "expert" get thrown around all the time, having someone who understands social media and your business, your customers, and communication strategies that resonate across any media channel – social or otherwise – is really where expertise matters. The first rule of social media Be authentic. This applies to every facet of a sound social strategy. For example, don't rely entirely on social media management tools. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great for scheduling "evergreen" content and promotional messages and reminders, but can't actually interact with other people and brands in ways that really mean something. Don't inhibit the two-way conversation aspect that constitutes the "social" in "social media." Find unique ways to listen respond and connect with your customers and social media followers meaningfully. There are real, live humans out there, just waiting for you to connect with them.