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.