There are so many gurus about because charlatan is hard to spell. We are amazed at how many self proclaimed social media guru or even agencies continue to do business on templated strategy that they simply update “client name here” and hand out. Or deliver tactics as strategy. These are two very different things that require dedicated time to ensure each is unique to the specific client goals. In a world of curated feeds and selfies we see most entrepreneurs and small businesses getting caught up in vanity metrics vs. actions that drive business. So many businesses look for social media noise over conversation. Shouting the loudly just makes people cover their ears.
No, social media isn’t rocket science or brain surgery, but if it’s done right, it IS well thought out and strategic. And thought out and strategic has a much higher chance of being effective and achieving your goals. So, when you get a so-called ‘social media guru’ delving out advice without taking the time to know the audience or the landscape, what you are getting is not only unhelpful, but potentially harmful.
Gurus, evangelists, czars, disrupters, rock stars, uber[insert whatever]. Hyperbole is the new black.When talking to a few professional peers, it seems we all hear the same thing. Proposals that outline meticulously planned integrated campaigns to drive real traffic, funnel sales, and cultivate real likes and follows, get sidelined by the inexpensive proposal from the “social media guru” who simply sets up a “bot” with poorly thought out parameters to get immediate likes and followers. Anyone who calls themselves a guru … isn’t.
People believe that because an individual understands how to successfully engage their own following, that makes their advice universally transferable to other organizations and industries. There are no shortcuts or secrets — there is only knowing your target audience and developing appropriate strategies that involve useful and engaging content. That’s not to say there aren’t technical aspects applicable to different platforms (i.e., image size, limiting text in images, URL shorteners, etc.), but these are things a skilled communicator/designer would know. It might be a bit early to people call themselves social media guru. Anyway, it should be done by the audience, isn’t it?
It’s the same with all disciplines of online marketing
How do you know if you’re any good for/cut out for strategy though. Most people are aware of the difference between strategy and tactics (long-term plan/short-term plan vs the things you are going to do to get there). Most organizations struggle because they aren’t creating original content or aren’t targeting properly. Don’t break your brand by listening to a hack. Marketing is not a discipline to spread the word about products, it is a discipline to drive product sales, and if you don’t know how to do that, better learn how before you give advice to anybody.
Social: I can get you likes, shares and interaction! – Yes, but does it drive sales?
SEO: I can get you free traffic from Google! – Yes, but does it drive sales?
Paid Search: I can get you instant traffic from Google! – Yes, but does it drive sales?
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We take lawyers, accountants, doctors and many other professionals seriously because they actually take the time to learn about our individual situations, then give recommendations. Even better, they stick around to implement and adjust if needed. That’s really what social media professionals (and marketing – digital and otherwise) need to do as well. And gurus won’t offer advice without asking you about your audience, your overall goals, your social media pages, etc. The absolute reason not to employ someone’s social media services .. they call themselves ‘guru’. At least, not any real guru. Also can we stop saying cliché expressions like “ninja” now? If you ever want to be taken seriously, stop it. Strategy isn’t tactics.