Social Media is new. And it’s the new marketing method for many businesses. Primarily because it’s relatively inexpensive (no outlay of cash – just labor). Social Media is also a way to get exposure directly with your target audience. If you’re trying to reach (and gain the trust) of women, 18-34, African American, social media is the way to go. Or any demographic for that matter. Social Media is really all about CONTENT – and trust.
Which is why not everyone who knows the “tactics” of social media should be hired for campaigns. Campaigns involve strategy and a team.
Essentially a social media consultant is a marketing or public relations PROFESSIONAL who has learned to grasp the new tools. And that’s what social media is – TOOLS. Not magic. Not hocus-pocus. Tools that Public Relations professionals use to “tell a story,” and gain visibility for their clients – which turns into sales or achieve the marketing objectives. Messaging (creating GOOD content) is KEY!
But, if the “social media consultant” has no “followers on twitter” or any “social proof,” you might be dealing with a Social Media Hustler – and there are a lot of those out there. A REAL social media consultant should at least be known in their industry. Have they spoken at any social media/blogging events? Do they have recommendations on their Linkedin? Have they published any articles on the subject? Have they won any awards or acknowledged by the press for their work? Google them – and see what you find out.
Oh, and don’t believe everything on their website. THEY WROTE THE SALES COPY. Of course it’s going to make them sound wonderful.
Read this article by my colleague, Erik. He wrote a book too on branding. We recommend it for all our clients.
www.SocialMediaPRsolutions.com – PR Pros and key influencers in the African American market and bridging the gap for brands trying to speak authentically to this powerful, brand-loyal market via social media. #diversity #detroit
Watch Out For Bad Social Media Consultants
There are a lot of bad social media consultants out there.
Some of them are just downright awful. I’ve often said that once the economy recovers and the bartenders and waiters go back to work, there will be a lot fewer social media consultants.
I can’t wait for that to happen.
The problem is that these bad social media consultants are just putting out bad information, using poor or unethical practices, and casting social media marketing in a bad light.
What happens is the bad consultants try some half-cocked idea based on poor information, and the campaign ultimately fails. The customer is left believing that social media is a bad idea, rather than realizing that the consultant didn’t know squat about marketing, social media or otherwise.
I know of one social media marketing agency in the Midwest that is guilty of this kind of behavior. Not only do they refuse to use Twitter, they tell their clients not to use it because their part of the state is “years behind” the rest of the state, and that by the time the population catches up with the major cities, all us city folk will have moved on to something else.
All this tells me is that the agency owner is unwilling to use Twitter, doesn’t want to bother with it, and probably doesn’t know enough about it to actually be useful. But rather than admit it, or even, oh I don’t know, try to learn how to use Twitter (for example, by reading Twitter Marketing For Dummies (affiliate link)), he would rather tell people their customers are too backwoodsy and stuck in the 20th century to use Twitter.
Social media marketing is not about the social media tools, it’s about knowing enough about marketing and PR to know how to use the tools properly.
I don’t care if you spent hundreds of hours on Facebook, or that you gamed Twitter to get 30,000 followers in 30 days. That just means you played a lot of Farmville and you know how to sign up for Twitter spam sites. That doesn’t mean you know how to actually create persuasive messages that reach your target audience.
Social media marketing involves knowing how to create effective messages that reach your chosen target audience, not holding parties to drive up “likes” on a client’s Facebook page. It means you know how to use the major tools available to the rest of the industry, even if you don’t recommend clients use them. It means you actually have an inkling about marketing, and know how to harness social media to get your message across.
If you don’t know how to do something, admit it. Better yet, learn it so you can be a better resource to your clients. But don’t try to pass off willful ignorance and a lack of knowledge as actual expertise. I don’t pour a Scotch neat and call myself a bartender; don’t spend three months playing Mafia Wars and call yourself a social media professional.
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy, who I also helped write Twitter Marketing For Dummies (another affiliate link).