Why Social Media Gurus Should Be Trampled by Elephants

Several weeks ago I wrote that social media is not new. I only partially called out the pony, rainbow and unicorn practitioners though. I’ve been ‘doing the Twitter’ for years now and social media gurus there is what teenage girls once were to Myspace. Worse, these gurus claim to be offering professional services.

If I had my say they would all be trampled by elephants. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons your social media guy needs to be trampled by an elephant. Note: I’m not saying all social guys are bad, stretching it you can call me one. I’ve stated before that social works. What I’m railing against are the people who fit my description below.

Ponies, Rainbows and Unicorns

Ask them what they do. The answer: I engage people, I create relationships, I add a layer of transparency. They may as well talk about ponies, rainbows and unicorns. Now, my friends, is when we run screaming. I can put glass dividers in an office and add transparency. Engaging people is useless without anchoring it to a brand and a business goal. Ask them specifically what they do and who they target (i.e. I create digital campaigns to demographic x to inform them of product y). Gold star if they can hit ½. Sometimes the sun, stars, moon and seas are perfectly aligned and somebody can answer this.

Perhaps one of my favourite past-times at conferences is to talk to these guys, telling them ‘engaging people’ does not count and ask for something more specific. Watch their heads explode, just like here. I see it as public service.

What’s a bottom line?

When talking to the next social media ‘guru’ you meet, ask them what bottom line impact their campaigns had. Note: bottom line is not engaged people, viral buzz or new followers; bottom line is the amount of sales their campaign generated, customer support queries it solved etc.

Don’t let them talk about ponies, rainbows and unicorns here. Maybe they just never did “math” in school so be really basic: You were paid this much by the big nice executive. In turn, you generated him this many dollars so he had this many left over.

Social Media is ‘it’

As I’ve pointed out before, social media is not the everything. It is a component of something bigger. Perhaps it is aligned with your recruitment strategy (run screaming if they had never thought of this). Maybe it is timed with other marketing activities. But when you meet one who honestly believes everything can be solved socially take pity, it is not their fault. Some people are not born as smart as others. You know, the ones who don’t move for the elephant.

I can’t afford a graphics guy

Yep, I thought the Myspacer’s were terrible but I think the gurus have taken the crown. We all put photos on our site but seriously guys, get a professional photo and photoshop it properly. There is no excuse to have white edges on your photos from a poor cut out nor should I feel like you just scanned last night’s DUI photos.

Don’t worry though, social media gurus, I get that these professional services are expensive and you can’t afford them. That’s because you don’t understand business and can’t charge for what you do. I’ve taken the liberty of doing some research, most Universities offer great marketing programs.

Wait, my Apple runs on Unix? or What’s a Unix?

Betting on a social guru with no technology training is like betting on the Mayans. No, they don’t have to be coders, engineers or designers but you need to fundamentally understand your field. Would you hire a plumber who didn’t know water went downhill?

If your guru lacks any technical knowledge it’s time to call the elephants over.