Social Strategy or Stereotype?

social media guruIn case you hadn’t noticed, people really like to poke fun at social media-types. And why not? Social media is effective, but even the world’s smartest marketers struggle to measure ROI. There’s a dearth of trustworthy certification programs and college courses that actually produce people who can drive results. Anyone can brand themselves as a “Social Media Ninja” in their Twitter bio, and why shouldn’t you believe them? After all, Google gives me over 43 million results when I search “social media guru.” Does that mean that we’re all experts?

Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update recently debuted a new character, a social media expert named Kourtney Barnes who cheerfully argued that all opinions in social media were of equal valuable. The Onion jumped into the conversation yesterday with a humorous parody of Ted Talks; a social media expert stating there’s no need for originality in the era of Twitter and Facebook:

“Using your brains to think of an idea and your skills to implement it? That’s the old model.”

Here’s the issue: the parody is based on real people on the internet. There’s just no way that all of those 43 million search results for “social media guru” were written by a recognized expert. Is your company paying someone who’s not driving results or even worse – believes buying 870,00 followers is a win? Here are 7 reasons why many self-proclaimed “gurus” are almost as bad as the guy in the video:

1. No Value.

“Social media eliminates the need to provide value to anyone…people liked cheetos even though they had no reason to.”

Poppycock. Just having a page isn’t enough. If your social media guru thinks you don’t need to post or share content with more depth than a kitten meme (unless your business is kitten humor), they’re not aware of the fact that providing value increases your bottom line.

Social media moves really fast, and your content will be buried quickly. Optimal frequency can vary widely even within the same industry, so HubSpot recommends you start by posting every two hours and increase gradually until you find what works best for your brand.

2. No Incentive.

What do your prospects get out of being your fan on Facebook? If your answer is “vacation pictures of the boss,” it’s time to go fire your guru. It’s crucial to differentiate your brand from competitors by standing out on social media. There’s not a single right way to do that – you can post humorous content, the world’s best links or run awesome contests – but you should be concerned if you’re not providing something in return for your fan’s time.

3. No Skills.

“Any teenager could have done what we did. For no money. And much faster.”

I’m way over the internet’s ongoing argument about how old your social media manager should be. I honestly don’t care if they’re 103 or 18, as long as they’ve got the skills to manage your campaign. True social media experts have mad skills- they can seamlessly transition from customer service representative to data analyst in a matter of minutes. Not only do they get your business, they understand how to talk to your buyer personas. If your personal guru thinks that social media is nothing more than maintaining pretty pin boards, be very afraid.

4. No Effort.

“Like, anything that’s old and requires effort? It’s inefficient.”

One of the few human beings on this planet who could be called a social media guru is Gary Vaynerchuk. He had over 958,000 Twitter followers at the time of writing, and he built his wine company by providing effort. He spent hours and hours a day putting in the effort to engage Twitter users who were talking about wine. What’s his take on the situation? “99.5 percent of social media experts are clowns.” Because they’re not willing to provide effort.

5. Purchased Followers.

“We were able to increase their followers from 300 to 900,00 in less than a week. And the best part is, all of these accounts were robots – so we didn’t have to tweet anything, because nobody was reading it.”

There are inbound marketing metrics that matter, and there are vanity metrics – figures of very limited worth. Facebook likes and Twitter followers are a vanity measure, because they’re not a reliable measure of your reach. The best social media managers understand that genuinely engaging with real prospects will drive a whole lot more revenue than buying a few thousand fake followers to look legit.

6. No Client Love.

“Ideally, real human users will leave social networking altogether, and all that will be left will be thousands of robots, talking to each other, who we can then advertise to.”

Anyone who thinks social media management is all sunshine and peaches isn’t very experienced. The job entails some serious front-line customer service, and you’re going to be dealing with people who aren’t happy. The best managers aren’t scared of conflict or conversations. They’re experts at advertising crisis.

7. No ROI.

“You just have to keep looking like you’re doing work, and people will pay for it.”

When it comes to measuring social media ROI, you should be wary of anyone who’s either afraid of numbers or proclaims they’ve figured out how to track revenue. Because it’s really tough, which is partially why 53% of social media managers aren’t currently using analytics. Do your social media guru’s eyes start to glaze when you use terms like “referral traffic,” “click-through rate” or “share of voice?” We’re not saying they need to be the world’s most effective analyst, but they should have at least a little love for numbers.

Oh, by the way – we’re hiring a social media manager. Are you awesome? Send us a Tweet.

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