I have this theory that ‘social media gurus’ are like Gremlins. In the 1980’s film, Gremlins would reproduce if they got wet. Thus, thousands of Gremlins could be created from a simple splash of water.
This explanation would go some way to understanding the plethora of social media gurus who now seem to exist. I can walk into an event and meet a few, and by the time I leave there seem to be dozens more. I am starting to wonder whether someone gets careless with the orange juice at these meetings and they simply reproduce through contact with this light refreshment.
So what qualifies one to become a social media guru?
Market Intelligence would suggest that anyone with a decent number of followers on Twitter, a Facebook fan page, some YouTube videos and a blog are then seemingly qualified to advise other businesses on their social media presence. By this logic, of course, one would become a direct mail specialist simply by receiving a large number of responses to a birthday party to which invites were sent through the post.
The problem is this. While there must be many people out there who have mastered the finer details in obtaining a large number of followers on Twitter, or who have a large number of friends on Facebook, these platforms are simply tools.
The key to making social media work, for any organisation, is to understand how it fits into a wider marketing strategy. Key principles such as understanding where the value is in your business, how to strategically engage with your client base over a long period of time, and how context plays a key role in effective marketing today, are not addressed or understood by most of the self-appointed gurus who I meet, and of course, this only scratches the surface.
There are obviously consequences to all of this. Companies are failing to grasp the importance of embracing the new tools at their disposal as ventures online don’t work out due to bad advice.
I would, therefore, advise all companies, that before they appoint a social media adviser, they should subtly splash them with water. If they start to multiply, I would stay well clear of the particular individual and look for someone else.