I am sure that all of us have encountered our fair share of Social Media experts. Often many of them are fairly one dimensional. Among a target group of their peers they may generate an adulation feast but in other marketing sectors they meet skepticism because they only have one credential.
I think social media experts abound because social media is such a fire hose nobody can really grasp it all. Everybody has their drink and knows their one sector and there is so much activity fragmentation that people can claim expertise that some find difficult to challenge.
A CEO told me the other day that his social media agency had arranged a Tweetup with 1.5 million participants. That’s what his social media experts told him. A Monday Night Football game may only capture 15 million viewers Nationally.
In social media there are few career benchmarks or protocols. If you described yourself as a Brand Manager or an Account Executive you would come with a pedigree of experience and a predicable certain skill set. Not so in social media. If I ask somebody, “What did you do before you became a Twitter expert?” They respond, “I was a Realtor and then I got into social media because the market wasn’t that hot.” Not exactly P&G.
I read a great analogy the other day from a writer I wish I could credit here who described social media as pearls on a dress. One piece of the outfit. Now if you walked into a room wearing only pearls you would certainly grab everyone’s attention and be certain to get a ride home but you would probably only be remembered for one dimension.
If you ask many social media experts to define a GRP or Gross Rating Point they can’t. Or an electronically optimized press release, or a VAR channel, or a listing allowance or segmentation studies. You get the drift.
Social media is one vertical, one channel of the brand’s dimension. When I worked at agencies such as JWT you had to immerse yourself in all the facets of the brand experience. You knew how to read Nielsen reports, you did store checks, you rode with sales people, and you knew research methodologies up and down because flawed research could upset the apple cart. During an internal brand review at JWT, the General Manager asked the AE how they liked the Oscar Meyer slices. The AE said they were vegetarian. Very quickly they weren’t working on Oscar Meyer.
Only ten years ago we had the .com bubble. At one time .coms that hadn’t made a penny profit were valued more than GM. Wall Street believed it and the papers printed it and people talked about it. Then the .com bust came. The .com bust certainly didn’t kill the internet but it certainly diminished the hype. The same will happen with many social media experts.
Just Ask Jeeves about how things can change.
Hank Blank frequently speaks on Networking and the New Business Process. His presentations are called “How to Rise Above the Crowd” and “Why Agencies Don’t Want New Business.” To contact him to speak to your organization or company send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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