B.L. Ochman has kept me entertained with his various articles poking fun at the proliferation of people claiming to be social media gurus. His most recent article about how the number of self-proclaimed “social media guru” titles has gone down but other, but new titles are emerging got me thinking:
Hiring a [social media] strategist, guru, consultant, or any other title is a bad idea for 99% of the companies I come in contact with.
Now, before someone with that title gets all upset and leaves me a heated comment, let me explain why I feel this way.
Social media is a very small piece of what it takes for the majority of businesses to succeed online, pure and simple. Hiring someone who is a recently name social media _________ is a bad idea, because it’s very likely that person knows little about many of the other tools in the online marketing arsenal. It takes years of study, trial and error, discipline, and a little luck; to become an effective online marketer. Do you really want to hire someone who has mastered Twitter and Facebook to manage your online strategy?
If you think you need a social media strategist, then I’m going to make a very educated guess and say that is probably only a part (maybe a small part) of what you need. Most businesses I start working with are not doing many of the other fundamental things right – so why would you jump into social media?!
If you’re not effectively marketing to search engines and generating qualified traffic that converts, then you have work to do before diving into social media.
If you are not segmenting your customers with email lists, cross-promoting to them and building loyalty and referrals, then you have work to do before diving into social media.
These are some sweeping generalizations, but it boils down to this: you need an online strategist, not a social media __________. You need someone who can look at your business and craft a solution from all the many tools in the online marketing toolbox, not just push you into social media because it’s what everyone wants to talk about right now.