How to Use Social Media to Become a Subject Matter Expert in Your Industry

Clients are always asking me, “What else is social media good for?”

I guess the Big Three uses for social media aren’t enough:

  1. Generating revenue
  2. Branding
  3. Customer support

Working with my clients, I’ve come to realize that taking things down to the lowest common denominator helps here.

That’s why recently with some clients, I’ve begun to talk about becoming a subject matter expert (SME) in their industry because this covers the first two uses for social media given above, generating revenue and branding.

Not only does this approach enhance the first two uses but also leverages their content and community development efforts.

Let’s discuss this in more detail.

The first question I usually get from clients after introducing this concept is, “What’s an SME?”

While theoretically, a SME is the “go to” person with all the answers, I prefer to say that the SME is the “go to” person who knows many of the answers and also knows where to go to get answers to the questions that he or she doesn’t know.  (I also recommend that they be quick about it too!)

The SME is on top of industry trends, best practices, current issues, and trending topics as well as being familiar with all the major, and some not so major, players and and their products and service offerings.  In addition, the SME publishes regularly and is active on social media.  Public speaking engagements are transformed into videos and podcasts for use online.  Clients take great comfort from true SMEs.  (And, will also pay their fees.)

Simple, right?

The next question is, “How do I do this?’

A well crafted social media program is a good start.

In particular, the following activities will enhance an individual’s reputation as an SME:

  1. Have an active, growing community of followers, including groups and forums, that can be used either to listen to ask questions of
  2. Have Twitter lists which are focused on key topics in an industry
  3. Use an RSS reader (i.e., Feedly) to receive automatically updates in the industry
  4. Use Google Alerts to stay on top of breaking news in the industry

All of these will help an individual become an SME in their chosen industry.  I don’t care which one it is!

These activities will also serve as sources of content to be liked, shared, and commented on in addition to helping source ideas for the SME’s own original content.

Other forma of content such as white papers and case studies are other signs of a serious SME.

Becoming an SME requires work, scheduling, and discipline.

Look at other SMEs and try to understand why they’re successful and how can to be better.

Also, don’t be afraid to share ideas and work with other SMEs.  The really good ones aren’t afraid of their competitors!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I’m always willing to help you out with your social media program!

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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