Important Disclaimer! I’m NOT a Social Media marketing expert. I just operate in the space and have an opinion.
Recently there has been a lot of debate on the web around a somewhat controversial statement by an immigrant entrepreneur (this I can relate to), wine expert, best-selling author and the social enthusiast, Gary Vaynerchuk in a TechCrunch interview.
On the big stage Gary called 99.5% percent of Social Media experts, or people who market themselves as such - Clowns.
For those who haven’ heard about it, the story goes like this.
According to Gary, the vast majority of Social Media marketers these people don’t have a thorough understanding of the underlying drivers and process behind the business, which they are consulting o Social Media marketing. Therefore, they can you help you grow Twitter, Facebook, Quora, etc follower bases. They can come up with vague and general social media strategies, but those followers are rarely converted into regular retained customers generating sustainable ROI and the strategies are not really working.
As a result, many companies these days are disappointed by so-called SMM experts and start to doubt the whole efficiency of social media marketing. All this you would have understood having seen Gary’s video on TC or the after-interview blog post.
I’ve decided to write about this because Gary raised an interesting point on his response video-blog afterwards. With this straightforward in-your-face statement Gary, or at least he claims so, didn’t want to bullshit on his competition (although he has done a bit of that to be honest).
Instead, he wanted to start a debate around what it actually means to be a Social Media Expert and how should businesses deal with the problem of incompetent candidates. I think this is important, therefore lets continue the discussion.
I agree with Gary. Too many people these days claim to be Social Media experts, even make decent living out of it. I think there are two main reasons for that.
Firstly, social media is a novelty for a lot of business and organizations, especially for those who don’t operate in a tech or digital space. Businesses across different industries are starting to understand that we “need” to get on board the social ship. For many of them it’s a completely uncharted place, therefore, rather reluctantly they tend to seek help from “outside” people who claim to know it. Where there is demand there is supply, right?
Secondly, many of us have faulty pre-conceptions about what Social Media marketing is all about. Well, it’s NOT about getting 10000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Quora or other social network. It’s NOT about broadcasting pre-designed marketing messages made by some over-priced marketing agency. It’s NOT about doing immediate “push” sale to people who have expressed initial interests.
I think, it’s about developing targeted communities around your product or problem solved by your product. It’s about conversations not broadcasting. It’s about creating value relationships with your customers and retaining them over time. It’s about in-depth understanding of the underlying business marketed via the Social. And it’s a million other things as well.
These misleading pre-conceptions result in businesses apply faulty hiring criteria for SMM experts, which eventually lead to an unacceptable expectation gap and disappointed clients.
A huge number of businesses want outside help with SMM but limited understanding of the space makes them struggle to find a proper expert.
The main point I would like to emphasize in this post is this.
Social Media marketing is difficult. It’s time consuming. It takes a lot of expertise and skill to get it right. Actual Social Media expert has to have an in-depth understanding of your industry, holistic expertise in relevant business process and feel the social media marketing pulse, a cherry on top of the cake. It’s difficult to find these people, they are far from cheap and they rarely market themselves as experts because other people do it for them.
So when you think about it, the best Social Media marketer is a person in charge of the business: co-founder/director/manager/Business owner, etc. Any good business owner should already be an expert when it comes to understanding underlying business processes, customer needs, the industry and all other crucial factors, so all is left is to understand the Social.
I know this might sound somewhat against the market, but if you are not willing to invest significant capital to find real SMM experts, educate yourself. Even though it’s difficult, the Social media is not a rocket science. It’s just new and has to do with people, which always make a tricky
Nevertheless„ my suggestion would be to use all of free resources available on the web to get grips with the principles of social marketing. Then build the strategy, grow communities yourself and only start looking for outside support when you need to take your SMM efforts to another level, and most importantly when you can afford a quality service from real experts.
This way, there will be less disappointing opportunists who diminish the credibility of the entire industry. Business will achieve better ROI because they will invest capital when it’s actually necessary to grow. And most importantly, the quality of social media marketing communications will increase substantially making the whole space a better place to be in.
Post by @daumis2475
Co-founder @ Pinevio