Over the past 9 months we have been seeing more and more so-called “Experts, Gurus, Ninjas, Mavens” and a host of other names pop up in the world of Social Media. Is that a bad thing?
Not if you don’t mind putting your BRAND in the hands of a recently laid off traditional marketing person, or a web developer that has lost most of his clients because no one wants to pay exhorbetant fees for websites any longer, or an ex-real estate agent that finally figured out the market was dead and they knew how to use facebook and twitter, or the ad agency guys that are trying to figure out how to salvage their “cash cows” of traditional media, or even long time traditional marketing person/firm that figured out marketing budgets at their clients have been cut in half, etc., etc.
BL Ochman, a true marketing expert, wrote a great piece called, “Self-proclaimed Social Media Gurus on Twitter multiplying like Rabbits“, where she gave some incredible numbers of how fast this space is growing with so-called “experts” in the field of social media. When you have a low “Barrier to Entry” you have to expect a lot of people jumping in the pool – it goes with the territory, regardless of whether it is social media or anything else. With Social Media, there is by default a low barrier to entry. The “tools” are all free so the investment to start up and “hang a shingle” is easy – thus the problem.
Eric Weaver of Tribal DDB had a great slide in one of his recent presentations that I thought as a great graphical representation of what BL Ochman was talking about. For example, the estimate is an increase of 4X in less than a year.
The bottom line – before you decide to trust your brand, your company or your reputation with thousands of customers and potential customers who are checking you out through the internet, do your homework. Don’t get lured into the trap of the “Tool Experts” (more on that in a later post) – work with someone who understands business first and you can avoid a lot of “re-work” and “brand erosion”. Find someone who understands STRATEGY and your BUSINESS and your GOALS and your CUSTOMERS. If they aren’t willing to ask you these tough questions, your RISK just went up…