I remember often as a child I would be accosted by a strict teacher to explain some study material. Even if I don’t know the stuff I would rather fib whatever I do know. Sometimes I got caught but at other times I managed to fool them. 🙂

It is an art to fake expertise. It is sad to see that brands on social media want to become the expert of their extended domain when they are not. Health drink companies want to tweet like a health expert, garment companies want to tweet like a fashion expert and baby product companies want to tweet like parenting experts. The problem is not just that they are not experts but many of them can’t even do a good job of faking expertise.

Take a look at tweets by one of the leading Soya Milk company,

Social Content Mistakes

Apart from the poor grammatical mistakes in some of the tweets, some of them are even highly dubious.  🙂

I am a soya milk drinker, so I was very happy to see this brand on Twitter. I was following it until one such dubious tweet came to my notice. I even raised the matter with them but they did not reply.

Social Content Strategy Mistakes

I unfollowed them as their was no response to my tweet.

I unfollowed them after that. Not a lot of people know but running down the stairs has to be done carefully because the impact on the knees is a lot higher as compared to when you are climbing the stairs.

What baffles me is that they don’t need to be an expert in healthy lifestyle. They are making soya milk which can be considered as a healthy choice but that does not mean that I as the consumer expect them to be health experts! It is completely ok if they are not health experts as long as their soya milk is good quality. Instead they have gone ahead to be misleading health experts and hence make a mockery of their Twitter presence. The bad grammar, numerous typos and lack of a response to queries make the matter even worse. In fact every time I read their tweet, my time is getting wasted due to the lack of quality and purpose in the tweet.

I know so many companies who are doing this, it is really sad because they are making us fans look like stupids and adding to the clutter on social networks.

There are ways to provide expert knowledge in your domain, a way that provides some value to the end reader.

Establishing Authentic Expertise

1. Invite real experts to give their views

  • Host Twitter/Facebook chats
  • Compile guest blog articles
  • Interview/Quote them

This will actually make your brand popular amongst these experts as well – they would promote it in their circle.

2. Harness internal expertise

This soya milk brand will have in-house experts. They may not be experts in a healthy lifestyle but definitely they know how to make great soya milk. The brand needs to go back to its roots and interview the people at the factory who work with the actual product. They can then establish authentic expertise of soya milk – its qualities, nutritional value, production process etc… The question to ask here is “what are we experts about?”

Some brands which succeed in building genuine thought leadership and expertise via content creation,

Equinox: They have a lot of material on their blog, it is well explained and they often bring in a celebrity to talk about their workouts. They also reply to some of the comments especially if there is opposition from fans, which I think would happen either ways.

The Startup Centre: They throw out a lot of intriguing ideas, questions, comments, thus generating interesting discussions which I feel is a part of establishing expertise. They share Vijayanand’s relevant thoughts which is the most authentic way of going about establishing thought leadership – to get the expert in your company to share their expertise.

Expert views on social media

Expert views given by a real expert easily trumps fake stuff

I think it is quite evident in the various examples how genuine expertise adds so much to the social content strategy while fake stuff takes away just that much. The above example of soya milk drink, I feel it would be better if they were not on social media considering the damage they are doing to the brand. I was just a happy customer until I saw the mess they are doing on Twitter, now I am mildly irritated with them.

Do you know of any brands which turn you off because of their silly social media tactics?