It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 1

Social Media marketing has many challenges. Add to those challenges a new medium that changes very quickly and is rapidly growing new users and we have something that has a huge learning curve. This blog series is going to address some of those observations and obstacles most have to making the jump from marketer to social media professional.

I have been in social media for a while now and have constantly observed the influx of newer marketers to the space, how they adapt and patterns that develop. Many fall into the trap of following many of the industry “name” people, reading blogs and books by them, as well as watching and replicating. The problem there is that many name social media people are not professionals, rather they are celebrities. There is a very big difference between the two.

This past week I finally had enough and posted on Facebook regarding a latest frustration.

Many share my concern with the activities and self-generated misperceptions of social media experts, often misleading  people on effective uses of social media marketing. 56 likes and a ton of comments on the post told me that it was time to actually write a series that will highlight some of these problems and some recommendations people and brands can use to not fall prey -or- get trapped into emulating ineffective activity they see others doing.

Watching or reading to learn can sometimes be very effective, although it can also lead people down alleys that suck time and does not produce real results, but rather an illusion of proper results, like Klout scores, number of followers, fans, likes.

The biggest challenge a new person or brand has in being effective in social media is knowing who to listen to. Which books are correct. Which blogs to read and what activity you see others doing will get you the results you are hoping for. This problem is rapidly growing and has become a huge frustration to me on a personal level. Not because I am trying to be a know it all and think I am an expert, but because the success of my industry and the continued expansion of social media is dependent on this changing for the better.

One of the many comments that arose from this original Facebook post was:

Felipe ‘Flip’ Rodriguez So many in the #SoMe niche base their advice on what made THEM almost celebrity status, not on what will work for everyday people, or strategies for real businesses. Their advice also seems impersonal, and more geared for PR’s and advertisers than for relationship building. Which to me, means that they missed the point of SoMe completely.

This and many other comments led to me beginning this series that is designed to help individual brands and marketers, as well as social media agencies identify people and information that is appropriate to follow. More importantly it is going to also cover how to identify those people and activities that are not.

Join me on this journey to help you emulate effective activity that delivers desired results…

Part 2 of this series: Click Here


43 thoughts on “It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 1

  1. I definitely agree that in the online marketing world people need to be conscious of who they are listening too. I have only been working with online marketing and social media on a professional level for about a year and I already understand that nobody is actually an expert. Online marketing changes too much for anyone to be 100 PERCENT on top of everything. However, if you stay up on industry trends you can absolutely be successful. Different things work for different people and we need to anticipate the future of online marketing to have success.

  2. Great points Robert. Social Media is still blossoming and unfortunately it’s difficult for most people to see the “correct” approach to it. I look forward to the rest of the series.

  3. How did I miss that Facebook post?! Brilliant stuff! I too share your dismay at some of the new wave of “strategic” moves from brands and business people on social platforms. All of these moves smack of desperation and never seem to consider the consumer (interests/needs/curiosities etc) at all. Great first series post, I look forward to reading the second!

  4. Robert, it’s like you’ve read my mind. I have been feeling the same way in my SoMe efforts to let people know about my art – too many blind alleys that keep me away from the really important work in my studio! Thank you for starting this series and I’m looking forward to learning more.

  5. I think there is way too much hype in this space. Social media done right is tedious hard work. Some of my friends think this is a glam job. So far from it! Can’t wait for part 2!

    1. I agree, however when it is done properly and a proper foundation of strategy and appropriate focus on what yields results is employed, it really isn’t hard. Knowing the what’s and when’s and what to emulate tends to be the biggest issue I have seen people struggle with. I hope to make this series helpful for many!

  6. Hey Robert, we are on the same page! It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry is trying to claim their spot in the Social Media game, but the thing is, this is not a game. For those of us who have been in marketing for decades, we’ve seen this before… folks trying to position themselves in a market with little to no experience or credentials. They eventually fade away and are on to the next best thing, but the problem is those they leave in their tracks. At NetLinked Solutions, we pride ourselves in customer satisfaction and work every day to keep up with the ever-changing trends in social media and strive to keep our clients on the cutting edge for their maximum success. Please, check out our website and Facebook Page.

  7. Looking forward to the series Robert, I agree how can there be so many experts or guru’s in SM when the field is changing every minute? It sure is fun to try to keep up but very time consuming.

  8. I think your point is a valid one. The most important point is that for the viability of the industry things need to improve, you are right that people cannot have the perception you are in Social Media Marketing or Consulting and people say here comes Richard the Snake oil salesman.

    I do think that there is not just one definition though, that some just want to be a celeb and that is the goal, or just getting buzz is enough, Some companies surprisingly want the buzz and nothing more because they are impatient.

    I think business people need to define what they want out of a social media campaign and understand the time it takes to reach the goal.

  9. Really excited for this series, Robert! I think you’re spot-on saying people are trying to enhance their understanding of social media through prestigious blogs and “experts.” It’s increasingly difficult to keep up with the trend these days as social media is always changing… Definitely going to keep up with your subsequent posts, cause I need some advice!

  10. Fantastic idea for a series of posts Robert. Really looking forward to digging into it all. I look to “experts” for technical advice and case studies, and then go about my merry way. I find the best people at social media are the best people at being social, period. A spirit of generosity goes a lot farther than cheesy gimmicks. imho.

    1. Hey thank you Barrett. I really appreciate the feedback.

      I agree that being “social” is a huge part of it. You have to be able to convert that to verifiable results also though. = Revenue

      Thanx for jumping in man!

  11. Taking the journey! Your fb post is a classic, I am so tired of the puppy, baby picture parade to game influence! I see many claiming a SM Guru status and getting some irrelevant high score As a result to their actions. I say get real and deliver!

    1. SHOW ME THE MONEY! Right Randy? And not from your books or speaking gigs. Show me a social strategy you designed and executed yourself for something other than a big brand that my 14 yr old daughter could do.


  12. I don’t mind being tagged in pics by friends, but it does become burdensome when people I have no relationship with tag me because then I feel obligated to comment. Sometimes its hard to come up with an appropriate sounding response, let alone something authentic.

  13. There is no substitute for hard work and genuine participation in any walk of life, and the same holds true for Social Media. Those that have put in the effort and dedication can quickly determine the frauds and flatterers, and so the first target for any successful engagement is to find these genuine contributors and practitioners. Find a nexus or network weaver for they can determine reputation and topic mastery better than algorithms which can only count instances of action or word.

    I applaud your attempt to confront the abuse, and will look to do likewise. In most cases it is ignorance rather than deceit that leads to unprofessional actions and conduct, though sadly the army of fakery is ever increasing. We are all still finding our way in the social marketplace but posts like your series are needed to guide us past temptations and missteps and explain the preferred behavior.

    1. Thank you so much man. I agree that we all must put in the effort, however I have found that those that are involved in the “fakery” in this space are extremely knowledgeable about what they are doing and are purposefully lying and being deceitful for self gain.

  14. I’m not sure how I missed this post, but this is right on! I think the worst part about the influx of “new” social professionals is that clients fall for the “social media expert” trap. They see these “experts” as having serious clout, just because of a mention by the social celebrities.

    In many ways, it’s easier to become that “expert” instead of the “professional.” Thanks for being an authentic social media professional! It’s refreshing.

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