some companies will have a poor experience with their social media consultants!


There has been a constant barrage of posts bemoaning the proliferation of self-proclaimed social media experts on sites like Twitter and Facebook. According to AdAge, over 181,000 people on Twitter claimed to be a social media consultant, expert, marketer, professional, etc., in their profile. This has led to much hand-wringing and complaining among social media consultants, but that shouldn’t be the case. After all, none of this really matters.

Just because these consultants take a tactical approach to social media, or they don’t measure ROI the same as everyone else, doesn’t mean they are snake oil salesmen or charlatans. There’s no reason to call someone out on it; it’s just not necessary. Social media is about educating and helping others. In social media, we’re all students and we’re all teachers.

Less Talent Doesn’t Equate to Highway Robbery

Even if a purported social media consultant isn’t particularly great at leveraging an online presence doesn’t mean that they should be called out as an opportunist. A lack of talent doesn’t make someone unethical or a thief. In the real world, we’ve all hired those professionals who aren’t talented or skilled. They’re not scammers or con artists; they just suck.

You need to keep in mind that the web isn’t that old. There hasn’t been enough time to develop best practices, because the technology is still new and rapidly evolving.

Yes, companies should develop multi-faceted social media strategies, but not every company is ready for that. Social media consultants can help these companies focus on the social media marketing they are ready for, such as setting up Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. This isn’t being a snake oil salesman; it’s functioning in a saturated marketplace.

Also, if you believe that you can’t be good at social media without working with the medium for years, you’re swallowing a load of bull. There is no born on or expiration date for ability and talent.

Being Different isn’t a Bad Thing

There’s no doubt that companies will have poor experiences with inexperienced social media consultants who are purely tactical in strategy and thinking. This happens all the time. People have poor experiences with web designers, store clerks and fast food cashiers. It happens. It doesn’t mean that anyone has been robbed. It is a learning experience. These companies will learn who offers the best services and who does not.

When someone has a bad experience with another consultant, this doesn’t lead to social media abandonment. Many consultants get clients from companies who’ve had bad experiences with a previous vendor. These companies did better research the next time they needed a service performed and made a better choice.

People who aren’t talented social media consultants won’t be successful and these people will help generate more business for those who are. It’s always best to stop worrying about what the other guy is doing and focus on your own business. If you’re talented, you will get noticed and you won’t have to worry about other consultants. You’ll be too busy laughing all the way to the bank.

randy bowden – t | f | g+




13 thoughts on “some companies will have a poor experience with their social media consultants!

  1. It’s so simple for a company to check credentials, Randy. This shouldn’t be an issue at all. Any purported expert only has to walk the talk; no one can hide on the channels. Either you’re engaged and tallying up conversation and shares, or you’re hidden in plain sight.

    Any hiring executive only has to do a wee bit of due diligence to ensure someone is who they say they are.

    • Totally agree Jayme, it is on the hiring party. However there are those self appointed policing agents who need to slander (I admit maybe warranted) others in the space. Question is it necessary or does it look as if a playground fight that is simply saying to the mass public, I am better than you?

  2. My favorite line: “They’re not scammers or con artists; they just suck.”

    I have to admit I’ve been on the side of the fence where we call fraud on those to claim expertise but can’t even seem to spell correctly or so on and so forth. This has made me sit back (which means it’s an excellent piece, FYI).

    You’re right, these peeps aren’t necessarily out to scam people (although I will beg that SOME are), they’re out to make a quick buck by praying on people who need help … oooooh wait. ;-)

    I do think you’re correct in saying that they suck. Many suck. Many don’t know up from down and still happily take people’s hard earned money to the bank. I don’t like that. I’m going to keep dogging on that, only maybe now I’ll just say “you suck” instead of you’re a fraud. I do think survival of the fittest will catch up at some point – and the “real”, “experienced” “data-driven” marketers will (hopefully) rise to the top.

    Great post, Randy, thank you!

    • I certainly think it is up to you, call or not, I understand it. This is simply a OpEd post (rare for me) on a subject that I have paid close attention to for some time. You are right also the scammers are just that, scammers and they will hopefully self implode. But for the others (the ones that suck) are often singled out; 1) Who has the right or who gave them the right to pass judgement? Education, experience, ego, “I just know more than they do!” That gets a big BS from me…I make mistakes all the time, made a spelling error in this post, happens. 2) Who has given the official and recognized “Social Media Certification?” Someone who claims they know it, they do it everyday and have been doing it for a very long time? That gets a big BS also. I do know that there are many who I view as top-shelf in the game (some of them play the “call out” attack, their choice) and I learn form them everyday, true thought provokers who openly debate strategies, hits and misses. But then there are others who simply state that their way is the right way and anyone venturing down a non-approved road does not belong in “their” space, shame on them! Again, I have been in the marketing/branding trade a very long time, seen good work and even poor work that I thought was crap and the public loved it, so I am open and learning everyday. When you think about it, there are always two sides to the economist debate and often one side is right and often the other gets it, right?

      You Brooke are top-shelf, open and doing it right by what I see and read, please keep doing that and thank you for always adding your insight to the discussion…rcb

      • All valid points! What does give us the right to judge?? Nothing. We still do it … whether it’s social media, what you’re wearing, how you talk (I still get slammed for “y’all”), where you live, what you eat … I think it’s our human nature to judge. I judge not because I am “better” but because I see people claim things that simply aren’t true. I judge people who lie. I know I should turn the other cheek.

        However, I also can’t help but speak the truth (even if it’s “my” truth), so when it boils down to it, I’m going to say: “You suck.” “You’re a fraud.” Or, “You suck AND your a fraud.” I don’t name names … so maybe that’s my saving grace.

        Love debating with you, Mr. Bowden. It’s always nice to have a discussion without flames and fire. :-)

        Thanks for the kind words – you’re top-notch youself.

        • Speaking of slammed for the way you talk, I got it last week in Tampa from a fellow Floridian. Someone from Germany commented that they really liked my Southern drawl (never really thought I had one :\) and the gentleman (not really) sitting across from us spoke-up and said, yes he has one of those “autistic” Southerner accents…I sure hope he meant authentic!

          Please keep speaking the truth and watch out for those that suck, some of them have people baying every word they speak!

  3. I certainly HOPE he meant authentic – and guess that’s what he meant to say. I wish more people up here thought my “southern drawl” was authentic. They just think I’m S L O W. :-P

  4. This is just a GREAT post, Randy! So many nuggets, where to begin…

    For example, I love this: “…This isn’t being a snake oil salesman; it’s functioning in a saturated marketplace.” And, I would add, meeting the demands of said marketplace.

    There is so much truth in what you wrote. Thank you.

  5. Totally agree with you, Randy. I think the only challenge is that some consultants are really good at selling, but poor at delivering. It makes companies really cynical about hiring marketing and social media help. I think it’s easy for folks like us to see the difference in skills, but businesses that are looking for help, might have trouble spotting it.

    All that said, I think you’re right – folks in our industry spend too much time dwelling on it. The cream will rise to the top!

    • Great point Laura, many marketers are poor salesmen (was that one of the words that they ID as not PC yesterday?). And many bushiness are just too green to know!

      It was great meeting you Knoxville and gaining you to my community, you are definitely “cream!”…rcb

  6. this is a really interesting debate. every city in the world seems to have a glut of social media experts – and I’m not saying I am one but it is definitely the channel of marketing choice at present.

    i’d love to see examples of best practice from you guys.

    • Thank you Gail for adding to the conversation. I may challenge and say it is the “channel of communication” that is evolving and is the top-of-mind of many in the trade. One channel of several that anyone forging a brand needs to pay very close attention to.

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