The problem with all these “Social Media Specialists”

Note: I don’t really like the term “Social media” however I will use it a lot in this post.

There is one major problem with all these so called “social media specialists” that bothers me to no end and is definitely not talked about prominently. The talk to action ratio is seriously out of whack. these experts write post after post, article after article, rulebook after rulebook without actually going out and doing anything other than self promotion. They are all a bunch of pessimistic, cynical, critical big mouths.

Now obviously there are major exceptions to this and I have spoken to lots of people who work within the social media corner of the digital industry that are lovely, thoughtful people. However the broad majority fall into this all talk category. The problem is that people write out these “rules for social media” and “steps for social media strategy” and “professional guide” style posts based on their personal interactions and opinions. However these people more often than not have done sweet F-A with an actual company or brand besides their own. More over these people scathe and criticise anyone who tries to actually utilise social media. Personally, I wouldn’t be actively trying to quash any positive activity in an industry I was trying to make money from. Yes, they are your competitors, but a successful campaign for them means a more open and trusting client for you.

Exhibit A :

Tim Burrows recently posted up this article on Amnesia’s recent campaign for Aussie Home Loans. The article simply stated that the campaign had gone live and the ways in which it was utilising social media in Australia.

Please note the comments it received. Within hours of going up the scathing criticism began. Whether the execution is the great or not is not the point, the point is at least Amnesia and Aussie have actually DONE something. They have committed and have actually created and implemented a campaign that is a social only execution.

For an industry that is predicted to see record growth in 2009, the “experts” certainly seem to be scared and nervous about actually tying anything. This is the problem. People need to suck up that fear and remember that as long as you are honest, open and reasonable when stepping into social media, the only people you will really cop criticism from are these “experts” and at the end of the day its the consumer who we need to please.

So why don’t we all take a breath, calm down and try a bit of positivity. Social Media, as an industry is young, these are early days and EVERYONE is still learning despite their “expert” title. Whether its ideal or not, doing campaigns is the only way we are going to learn and going outside of what we know is safe and the norm is the only way to do something interesting. Consumers are much less vicious than bitter jaded industry folk, so lets start focussing on them instead of our peers.

Once again, I really want to apologise for the words “social media” being beaten into the ground here.

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13 thoughts on “The problem with all these “Social Media Specialists”

  1. I am on the same page with you on that one. The hard thing with Social Media is that everything is out in the open for people to judge. You can go to the Youtube channel see how many hits they have had, see how many facebook friends they have, etc.. Unlike traditional advertising, everyone can track the success of a campaign.

    It is about putting your balls on the line, and being willing to fail. It is not only the other social media experts who want to see you fail but also the skeptics.

    I also have the same aversion to the word ‘social media’ hehe.

  2. Couldn’t agree more.
    For such a potentially innovative industry, most people’s strategies are pretty old school and still rely on broadcast media approaches.
    When I first heard of Amnesia’s new campaign I wasn’t that interested, but you’re right; at least they’re trying. Unlike all the others who just jump on the newest social networking site and rave to each other about how they’ve found a new social networking site.

  3. Hear hear! With you all the way. Results speak for themselves – all the thoery in the world never made a sale for a client, converted a consumer or built a brand. Only time and results separate opinions from expertise.

    If you’re an expert, show me results. Show me how you measure success. Show me the reason you did this and what it did in return. Don’t talk about how consumers loved it until you can show me that they bought what you were selling.

    And it’s easy to criticise those who are having a go. it’s easy to stand back and say “It’s wrong” when you’ve never done it “right”. Nothing is so perfect as an untested theory.

    The ‘social media’ people worth following are the ones who admit they don’t know the answers. But they’re willing to find out. Without using your money to pay for their education.

  4. it’s typical of local attitudes to anything that’s half interesting/exciting. Wake up australia or we’ll fall further behind anywhere that’s half competent in digital and the future it should bring.

  5. I absolutely agree Julian.

    Its all about having the courage to step forward and try. There is so much talk, surely some of these people have the convictions to stand by their chatter?

    That said there are people out there doing the right thing and giving it a go, I think the responses here shows that.

  6. Great post and I agree. And isn’t it like that with so many things? For instance, the folks who try to sell you the winning lotto numbers–why not just quit work and use their own strategy and don’t bother to work? Or the so-called millions that could be made from property sales via seminars to the hungry masses (why don’t they just make millions in property themselves?) It all comes down to ego; being an “expert” with thousands of followers seems to be so much more satisfying to them than actually achieving anything concrete. The wanting to be famous for just being famous is well and truly alive and with that “expertise” comes the inevitable need to criticise to show their strategies are superior. Such a blatant grab for the intangible to boost self-esteem is kind of sad really.

  7. i think it all comes down to what these people call themselves. it’s all well and good if other people refer to you as a social media, or social network, expert – i can handle that. you’ve probably helped someone out enough for them to belive you’re an expert. on facebook. and twitter. i’m not even going to start on that. it’s when these self-obsessed idiots start declaring themselves the end all.

    it would be nice if people realised that calling yourself a “Social Networks Strategist” or “Social Media Expert” is akin to calling yourself cool. people assume you know because your mum told you..

  8. Absolutely agree with you on this one. Cynical, negative, all mouth and no trousers. I’m keen to start a group of ‘glass half full’ digital thinkers, who applaud the efforts of their clients, peers and peers clients, and provide some constructive comment. Am sick to death of every innovative campaign being torn to shreds by the ‘Twitter elite’.

  9. Yes! yes! yes!

    lots of talk and lots of tweeting on how wonderful they are, followed by some retweeting by their blind fanbase about how wonderful that they just said was… then … *crickets*

    Anyone that gurantees you engagement or suchlike through twitter,facebook, whatever – run! Run very fast 🙂

    the “social media” (barf) thing might be relatively new and shiny, but the rules are the same as they always have (or should have) been with marketing – come up with a good plan, work on it, cook it – then throw it at “the wall” and see if it sticks!

    If it doesn’t stick -ask yourself what was wrong with the recipe and try again my friends. (Or just take the easy way out and declare yourself a “Twitter specialist” -like thats hard, type, post, add friends, repeat …)

    Good job – anyone not scared to talk it like it needs to be talked gets their feed into my RSS reader!

  10. “social media” as a web cliche will be dead in 12 months when we all find some other bandwagon to grab onto to distract us from solving the real problems.

    the upside is the word ‘crowdsourcing’ will fade away.

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