Yes you heard it right, and yes, it's me who said it: Social Media Experts. The bad word in social media. Why do I say so?
Joe doe Social Media Consultant hates the word. Why? Because he is not an expert but rather a situation driven self made social media consultant.
Social Media Has Grown Up
The argument "Social media is growing so fast no person can keep up with the speed" is approximately 5 years old. My first interaction on LinkedIn was in 2003 that is 8 years ago. And if we didn't learn anything in 8 years – heck we should just not discuss the topic in the first place.
It's true there are new and better tools coming in every week. But seriously if all there is are how to use tools, you talk to the wrong people. And if we, at least many of us, didn't become an expert in what we are doing, there are no experts at all. Social media, social interactions, social dynamics, behavior whatever cool term you pick from the word cloud isn't just trivial. But neuroscience, physics, brain research… isn't either.
No more social media rock stars
Here is one of the biggest obstacles for executive teams: While there are thousands and thousands of social media rock stars, social media hippies or whatever you want to call it, it is very hard to find social media expertise – hence no experts. And those who are – are terribly busy.
Putting up a fan page, sending out scheduled tweets from a robot pretending to be a brand pretending to be social is not social media but old style push marketing brute forced onto a new media hoping it works because so many say so. And indeed you don't need an expert to do that. Any average Joe social media consultant whether here in the US or one of the people in the Philippines who do that for $5 an hour can take over those jobs. Impact? None, ROI 'hehhh"? Benefits for the company and even the customer: zero.
Executives need experts not hippies
Consider this: You are a CEO of a company with 5,000 employees and your "social media strategist" is rambling about a fan page, more tweets, listen to your customers and all that old blah blah blah. What will you do? Nothing – and that is actually a wise decision. The next step: You ask your team to come up with some ideas. They will want to get some external expertise. Again rambling about fan pages, tweeting and adding value to the conversation is the same blah blah blah – just on the next lower level.
Social Media Experts need to be able to re-assess a market from a holistic point of view considering the conversations of the customers – but think of some Millions of customers spread all over the planet. They needs to consider business partner integration, those people who actually "own" the customer relationships. And of course the company's own teams from executive to clerk and back. Those experts will need to develop a true strategy – not a list of cool tactical measures but a strategic model with a strategic objective, a well balanced benefits model for both company and market, resource planning, financial planning, ROI and so forth that will be the base for any consecutive action programs. The social media tools are at best a secondary side effect. Strategic models methods and frameworks are the heart and the core of a social engagement that can be introduced to 5,000 employees who in turn collaborate with maybe 50,000 partners and say 1 Million or more customers. You need to be an expert in that field to be able to construct, plan and execute such a social media strategy that will be carefully interwoven into a multi Billion $ business plan.
More executives than you may think are ready to take the challenge from a rapidly evolving society and its inherent changes in the way to do business – most consultants are not.
I wonder – if you are a social media consultant – are you able to help a CEO like mentioned above to get their strategy developed and embraced in their organization?
(my social presence)