These days, everyone and her dog is a social media marketer, or so they tell us. But who's really an expert? And who's full of hot air? How do you tell the experts from the snake oil salesmen?

Let's define terms:
Social Media Marketing is helping companies to add tools including blogs, wikis, widgets, audio and video broadcasting, social networks, user-generated content, and peer to peer ratings to their communication mix.
The purpose of social media marketing is to engage enthusiasts and existing customers in an interactive community in order to drive more traffic and sales. This creates a highly involved audience who recognize and interact with the brand clearly.
Who's qualified to create social media strategy:
People with clients who actually pay them to create social media campaigns.
People whose ROI-driven campaigns actually produce traffic and sales.
People who create campaigns that are more than a clueless ad agency's flash in the pan, gimmick, soon forgotten stunt or just plain dim.
While there is no shortage of consultants who blog, talk, present at conferences, and preach about social media marketing, only a handful in the world have actually created successful campaigns for actual clients.
Who's the real deal in corporate social media marekting?

NOTE - certainly there are others, but these are quite extraordinary examples. Other successful case studies are welcome.
Hugh Macleod at gapingvoid has done a spectacular job of marketing Stormhoek wine entirely through blogs and social networking.
Crispin Porter, who created phenomenal, viral Subservient Chicken for Burger King, but who never did anything as successful, clever or interesting since.
The site has garnered about 14 million unique visitors and 396 million hits to date. It went viral in a matter of hours, simply being emailed to a few friends, who sent it to a few friends, etc. etc. Adweek has a case study here
ITToolbox, who've grown their social network for IT professionals into multi-million business with more than $8 million in ad sales.
Brains on Fire, who created the Fiskateers for Fiskars, who make crafting tools. Branded mentions of Fiskars products are up more than 400% on a per-week basis since the program began. The program, which now has more than 1,200 members has successfully de-commoditized Fiskars tools and made crafters value them beyond price.
o B.L. Ochman (hey, this is no place for modesty.) I've created the first Up Your Budget Treasure Hunt for Budget Car Rental in 2005, the first ever blog-based viral marketing campaign, promoted entirely through bloggers and blog advertising - with no traditional marketing whatsoever.
The results: one million unique visits to the site, 2,000 registered treasure hunters, and over 10 million page views in only four weeks. The clue videos were downloaded a total 43,000 times. There were 19.9 million blog advertising impressions at an average cost of 33 cents (Compared to $1.62 per click on AOL Instant Messenger).
Since then, campaigns BL Ochman & Company have created for clients include
o Ethics Crisis, where visitors can anonymously confess the most unethical thing they ever did in business and be rated by other readers;
o Clutter Control Freak Blog for, which achieved 1,500 daily uniques within a month of launch;
o Wife in the Fast Lane, a contest for Simon & Schuster author Karen Quinn;
o a blog advertising campaign for American Greetings that achieved clickthru rates as high as 5.7%
o and a soon-to-be-launched how-to blog for a Fortune 1000 fiber maker.
Oddcast, who've produced the wonderful Monk-e-mail for, and who recycles their technology into a variety of effective interactive campaigns for a variety of clients.
Are there more? Sure, there are a handful of others. But the list of social media marketers with actual tracks records is short.
So be sure to beware of social media snake oil salespersons.
Before you hire a social media guru, be sure they show you successful campaigns they've completed.
I absolutely guarantee you that most self-proclaimed social media experts can't do that.
Bonus links:
- Chris Brogan .... Snake Oil in Social Media
- Social Media and communities: how not to approach it.
- Social Gestures Beget Social Objects

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B.L. Ochman is a social media marketing strategist for S&P 500 companies, including McGraw Hill, IBM, Cendant, and American Greetings. She publishes What's Next Blog and Ethics Crisis, where readers can confess their worst ethics transgressions and others can rate them on a scale of one to ten. She also blogs for MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.