B2B marketers, a majority of them, will openly admit that they are wary of taking on the social media journey on their own. And that is understandable. It is unfamiliar territory, and there are not enough beacons to show a clear path that leads towards the desired destination. So we go out and hire a social media guide; an expert who will help us traverse this journey. Or so we hope…

By definition, a “guide” is someone who assists another individual to travel through or reach a destination in an unfamiliar area by accompanying and / or giving directions to the person. As such, when you have a guide, you expect to have help and reach your destination safely and in a relatively stress-free manner.

What happens in reality can often be a SCAM.

I don’t want to generalize but because I see a lot of this happening, I feel compelled to write about it. You pay big bucks for a social media guide and yet, you wander aimlessly in darkness until your resources are spent, energy is depleted and bottom line has been badly hit. This is a situation you can avoid. And here’s how:

  1. Check your social media guide’s credentials. You want to engage a marketing specialist with a track record of success in communication strategies and brand building. A mere social platform specialist won’t cut it.
  2. Gauge the guide’s experience with marketing and lead generation programs. Ask for references to determine whether or not the companies this guide has worked with have seen real value and ROI.
  3. Judge whether the guide understands your target audience. That comes before the knowledge and skills of social tools and technologies.
  4. Don’t be fooled by new-fangled social media tricks. Traditional, time tested and proven marketing methodologies must not be ignored. Social media can and should be integrated in a cohesive manner to deliver all-round marketing success.
  5. Ask about measurability and accountability. Or you could end up pouring money down the social drain. Remember that numbers mean nothing unless there is engagement and conversion.

And one last tip: look for a Good Samaritan. They is usually one somewhere close—in your industry, with the necessary experience, having gone down that road before you, eager and willing to help you complete your journey and come out relatively unscathed. Learn to trust the voice of experience…even if it is not that of your paid social media consultant or guide.

Lost, Tired and Abandoned in Peru—But We Were Saved!

During my recent trip to Peru, I had an unfortunate experience with our tour guide on one of the most difficult treks I have undertaken. Let me share with you this story because I believe it is a good analogy of what many of us in the B2B world are going through with our so called “guides” and “experts”.

So this was the part of the trip where my daughter and I visited the Sacred Valley. We left early that morning for our trek from Cusco to Lamay. Our climb would take us to one point that is almost 12,000 feet. Our local guide accompanying us said it would take us eight hours to complete the trek. I was ready for this; I had prepared for it and was looking forward to all the intriguing destinations along the way. Needless to say, my mind was at ease owing to the fact that this guide, a local person, would be with us throughout.

We walked from Cusco to Lamay in the Sacred Valley. I cannot downplay it—the terrain was difficult, the ground was often wet and slippery, and it was a slow journey. For the first eight hours, my mind was fully in control and helping my body along. To my disappointment though, our destination was still far away. Anyone could see that Lamay, the little village where we were to stay the night, was not even close. And yet, our guide assured us it was “round the corner”. The last 2 hours of our hike were in pitch darkness and we were hiking along the edge of a mountain with the deep valley on one side. And…wait for this…our guide abandoned us! We hoped he was walking ahead to lead the way, but we soon realized that neither he, nor his flashlight were anywhere in sight.

Like an angel sent from heaven, a local Samaritan appeared out of nowhere. He cut wood to make us walking sticks. He walked ahead of us clearing a path and pushing rocks out of our way. For the last half hour, he even took me by the hand and walked with me. By the time we got to Lamay, I was so exhausted, I think I barely managed to thank the man but I have thanked him in my heart many times since. Because words were not enough and money would not mean much, I took the watch off my wrist and gave it to this stranger who guided us from darkness to light.

We finally met up with our so-called guide at the end of the journey where we had to cross a waterfall. He was waiting for us on the other side and not bothered to even point the flashlight so we could see where we were going. He left us with the driver to go for a “very important” soccer game and we were driven back to the hotel.

The travel agency heard from me about this in no uncertain terms, and to their credit, they were deeply apologetic. It appears that this excursion was the only part of our Peru trip that had been outsourced, so the disappearing guide was not part of the travel agency that we booked our trip with.

From a customer service standpoint, I have to say, the travel agency lived up to my expectation. They took ownership of the issue and made sure they communicated with me. In addition to a fabulous complimentary dinner at a Peruvian restaurant in Lamay I was also refunded the full amount I had paid for the trek through Sacred Valley. The rest of the trip was without hiccups and I would definitely recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Peru—check out www.perutourism.com.

How is your organization faring so far on the B2B social media journey? Have you been confused, frustrated and led astray by your social media guide? Do you need help and direction to get back on track? Click here to download the free ALEA Group Demand Generation Playbook and join my email list for information that can help you get back on track.

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