Let me preface this blog post with saying that nor am I, nor have I ever claimed to be, however I do know enough to be able to implement workable, results driven social media plans and have had some success doing so. However there are thousands of individuals across the interweb claiming they are. From old school marketers simply updating their titles to stay with the times, to recent graduates who know how to use Twitter or Facebook. Just take a look at how many Twitter users “claim” their authority on the subject.
I’m not saying that there aren’t any very knowledgeable people on the subject, but this has gotten so out of hand, that it’s hurting the credibility of those that can actually provide real value with social media consulting and marketing services. I’ve talked with many small businesses that are so out of the loop, that I could easily see them being “wowed” by anyone armed with just basic knowledge of how to get around the major social network channels.
So how can we filter out all the pretenders? Social media marketing certainly could use some certification to start with. But really, it falls on those that really want to make a career out of social media marketing through learning the craft, and getting familiar with as many tools as possible. Dive deep into each channel and understand their differences so that you can make informed decisions about what makes the most sense for a particular business or cause.
I’ve found getting familiar with reporting tools such as Radian 6 and Social Radar a good start. However those can be expensive tools to get access to. An alternative to start with is simply using free tools like SocialMention.com or Google Analytics. Dig in and try to really understand social media metrics and how that data can be leveraged to help businesses understand the value of a strong social media plan.
Social Media is not a new concept. People have been connecting, sharing, and communicating since the beginning of time. What’s changed is HOW we do these things. The Facebooks and Twitters of the world are simply giving us new technologies to do these things more easily then ever and at enormous scale.
Quite frankly, I would steer clear of anyone that ever uses words like “guru” or “ninja” when describing themselves. Chances are they are quite the opposite.
What do you think? Too many unqualified cooks in the kitchen?