There Are 181,000 Social Media ‘Gurus,’ ‘Ninjas,’ ‘Masters,’ and ‘Mavens’ on Twitter – Ad Age Digital
This was a very popular article recently that seemed to be a hot topic in many of my circles. Seems that there are over 181,000 Social media “Experts” in the field including 171 “Social Media Whores“. I know there are quite a few people out there that consider themselves experts… but most of them work for PR companies, have never authored a blog and use twitter marketing programs to build up large followings on twitter.
I myself have warned clients time and time again that there are no such things as social media experts. Although I got my start as a blogger I had to learn to use social media through trial and error. Running and building a community around tech was no easy task but you learn a few things along the way by just doing. Having a blog up and running before the days of Facebook was a huge plus but in the face of a constantly changing social media world you can never be an “Expert”.
Find a Social Media User Who Can Admit They Are Not an Expert
My biggest issue with these 181,000+ social media experts is that they go out and make their money off of fees, mostly from seminars. These “Experts” prey on small business’s that are not tech savvy and when they do sign a small business to drive their marketing on social media they do more harm than good.
These “Experts” will use a companies vanity against them by focusing on how many Fans, Followers or Subscribers they can accumulate, never focusing on building a community around a brand. This leads to link bait, people who will never interact with your brand and low engagement rates.
On Facebook, the more fans you have the more money it costs to advertise. So collecting “Likes” can get very expensive when you start to advertise, especially if those “Likes” never intend on engaging with your brand (which should lead to a sale). An “expert” will not tell you this because they don’t know better or have never developed an advanced social media campaign where they would have run into this issue.
Find a Social Media User Who’s Constantly Testing New Platforms
I also know that I was not able to initially break into the field as a “Social Media Marketer“. I had to actually incorporate social media into a current business’s marketing plan. If there was no marketing plan I had to learn to develop one. Small business’s are more likely to stick with a social media marketer if you provide value in other areas such as event planning, Marketing coordination and email marketing.
When looking for an “Expert” you may get lucky enough to find an old school marketer who knows how to apply new technologies. I actually love applying new marketing techniques to Social Media since I learned Social Media first and then started applying Social Media to my marketing efforts.
When you find that person, a person who’s always testing out new applications, that will be the person you want driving your Social Media and maybe even your entire Marketing campaign. Early adopters are usually only 1 step behind the actual Social Media Companies themselves. (yes, I said behind).
Constantly Testing Out New Applications
Yes, the ongoing early adoption and testing of Social Media applications is a given. Social Media is constantly changing and can be very difficult to manage. Most “Experts” will use a marketing program like Hootsuite to manage multiple accounts. Hootsuite is OK but I pay big bucks for premium tools that help me manage my accounts better than Hootsuite. I’m not bragging but you get what you pay for.
You’ll need to spend about $1200 a year on some basic tools but you also have to have extensive knowledge of how these tools work with the various social media platforms. That includes knowing how to use email marketing and all the tools that go with that like market analysis through surveys and polls. Most of your expensive tools provide a ton of support and that only increases a marketers learning curve.
Can you see how social media marketing can get time-consuming?
Find a Social Media Marketer Who Specializes in Small Business’s
I know this one is really tough but most people in my field will actually take on a project or two as long as they have the freedom to make their own schedule. Stay away form the “Experts” that will charge you by “Piece Work”, i.e. charges by how many postings they will do. You want to find a person that will give your business, “What it needs”, not what is good for the marketers pocket.
Many Social Media Marketers gravitate towards Corporate owned business’s because these business’s have large budgets. As a small business owner you will not be able to compete with that but the freedom to develop an entire social media campaign may be just enticing enough for a true marketer to take up your project. Just be prepared for it to be long-term assignment.