Credibility means walking the walk

Two things triggered this post.  First, a couple of weeks ago I was talking with someone who expressed despair at who in the PR/Marketing sphere should she be following/reading and how would she know if she could trust they were talking sense or not.

I’ll address that first. There’s a fantastic, rich reservoir of opinions, insight and advice out there.  There’s also a lot of hot air and no shortage of people proffering opinions as fact.

To find blogs, the AdAge Power 150 list is a good place to start though it’s more marketing focused than it used to be. Also jump on Twitter and do some searching for PR – and make sure you download an RSS reader which will make tracking the blogs you choose simple and fast.

You’ll quickly find writers who are providing good insights – and there are many – and those who aren’t.  The key element for me is credibility.

This brings me to the second trigger for this post.  On the run up to the New Year, one of the more widely read social media commentators sent a mock-humble – bordering on patronizing – tweet thanking his followers from the bottom of his heart for allowing him to share his wisdom with them. (I’m paraphrasing Smile.)

After the heaving in my stomach had subsided following reading this tweet, I decided to see if this magnanimous global leader ‘walked the walk’. This is one of our cherished experts who preaches about how social media is changing the world and we can no longer broadcast messages but instead we must engage with me, have one-t0-one conversations.

I clicked on his profile – for it was a he.

He failed the test.

For someone who preaches about engagement I was pretty surprised to find that he was following 0.8% of his followers. Doesn’t sound like he’s living the whole engagement dream there. Sounds like he’s broadcasting.

Of course there are people from the entertainment and sports world who have millions of followers and broadcast to them.  I follow some of them and I’ve no problem with that.  But if you don’t practice what you preach, then sorry, you’ve failed the credibility test and been removed from my RSS feedreader.

Posted by Tom Murphy@tpemurphy