"Expert" is a powerful word . . .

It’s been a really interesting couple of months for us here at Apartment Finder with the rollout of NCI’s newest service offering, CommunitySherpa (a social media content management platform for the apartment industry, utilizing a property blog, Facebook and Twitter).

Not only have we generated quite a buzz in the industry — from avid proponents to a few skeptics to those who are choosing ambivalence as an “I haven’t made my mind up on this yet” stance – it’s made a lot of us within the organization especially attuned to the conversations that are going on out there surrounding social media platforms and their effectiveness as a retention or marketing tool in our industry. It’s been lively, to say the least!

illus One of the most intriguing articles I’ve read is found on a blog called “PR 2.0” written by Brian Solis. It’s called “Will The Real Social Media Expert Please Stand Up” and in it Brian makes some great points about the difference between traditional marketing and facilitating interactions between people on line. I found the below excerpt definitely hit home – and the click thru made me laugh out loud (really!).

Now, we’re entering an entirely new paradigm for cultivating relationships with customers as well as the people who may one day become customers. At the moment, it’s all anyone can talk about. There’s certainly no shortage of Social Media “experts,” yet there is a shortage of experts who can actually help us.

Click here to see what I’m talking about.

I’m actually relieved to say that, even while we’re in the midst of very successfully marketing CommunitySherpa, we really aren’t positioning ourselves as social media “experts.” Rather, we are bringing to the table our true expertise as content and process managers, as well as our expertise as marketers of apartment communities, in order to – as the name implies – do the “heavy lifting” for our customers as they set out to utilize social media as a tool to build relationship and community with residents.

Do we have some savvy in the social media field? Yes, we like to think so. But experts we’re not. What we are is an organization that is very interested in helping our customer reach their customer. We see an area where our customers need help, and we’ve crafted a solution that will undoubtedly continue to grow and evolve as fast as the social media environment itself.