Monthly Archives: August 2012

Social Media Is Becoming A Pressure Cooker That’s About To Explode

The social media industry is nothing like anything we’ve ever seen online before. Outside of high school and Hollywood, nothing else can compare to the pressures associated with “being popular.” This unique element affects speakers, authors, social media agencies and even the person looking for work. Between Klout scores and the size of your community of likes and followers, the pressures have become daunting for some. For the many who make their living in or around the social media industry, the pressure to be or at least appear to be an expert, the best, or just a player is reaching a boiling point.

An industry friend of mine started pushing me to write about this after reading my recent posts about industry experts, etc. She said “I really would love to see you do a post about the nature of the industry and how it puts pressure on people embrace these misleading/unethical practices in order to be competitive.” I promised I would and here it is.

Likened to sports, social media is truly competitive. The speaking gigs at conventions, the choice brand contracts as well as consulting  opportunities are all up for grabs. Rightly so, the folks who hire for these opportunities want the best they can get or afford. Those with huge communities, the most influence and recognized names are obvious choices. The pressure to be perceived as one of them is so great that many feel they must resort to performance enhancing drugs, so to speak, à la  Lance Armstrong.

Purchasing followers on twitter, likes for fanpages and gaming Klout to appear more influential is equivalent to athletes using performance enhancing drugs. In social media, the pressure to perform and win can be so great that many are resorting to these tactics in a desperate move to succeed. This goes for beginners wanting to build a name, brands themselves and worse than all else, the social media professional.

Even students fresh out of college looking for their first real career position are feeling the pressure. With misinformed employers making Klout scores a prerequisite for interviews and requesting social media logins and passwords, pressure on the unemployed continues to scale.

So where does it end and where do we go from here? In my humble opinion, the focus must change…

I think the Klout score has damaged this industry immensely. It has added an undefined metric to the game that has captured the focus of most newcomers and simultaneously derailed veterans from what should be important. I talk to so many people everyday in the social graph who are so enamored by my Klout score that they fail to hear me explain its irrelevance. They are so focused on their Klout score that they are spending hours upon hours every week DOING social media, yet have no real results to show for it.

Please hear my next statement:  When I am getting my best results, sales, revenue, click-throughs, software demos, etc., in other words, the things that really matter, or at least should matter, my Klout score declines. When I am not focused, am not doing my best work and am unable to spend the proper time on relationships, my Klout score goes UP! Further proof that Klout is being run by people who do not get social media or how and when it is effective and influential.

Ask yourself this – Do you want a high score that means nothing, or do you want tangible results that you expect from any other marketing medium?

How do we change the focus?

1) Stop focusing on your scores, your community size and your ego. – Provide value, have conversations with your target audience and build relationships that lead to ROI.

2) Stop adding focus on scores and community size. – Stop propping up the fake authors, speakers and “experts” by giving them your Klout, and buying their books, Look deeper to see if they are actually getting real results beyond book sales and speaking. Many are simply celebrities who have robbed the industry and led many astray through their celebrity status.

3) Focus on what is important. – Have a goal and a strategy to achieve it. If you are going to spend 8+ hours per day doing something, you’d better have a plan to show some real results for all that time spent doing it. If you have no real results in terms of clients and revenue, then get a job at McDonald’s instead. Your ego will suffer, but your bank account will do MUCH better.

The pressure to appear influential is off of your shoulders because now you have the knowledge you need to change this. The only pressure you should be experiencing is that of getting real results. And, I might add, when done properly, results are easier to achieve than a fake expertise and there is no risk of getting caught taking performance enhancing drugs.


Filed under Facebook, Fakers, Fanpage, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 4

This series has really got a ton of traction. When I say that I am not meaning traffic and all that, I am referring to mind shift. The idea that these fake experts and social media celebrities have taken over this industry has really struck a chord with more people than I thought. I mean many of us agree on the idea I present in this series, but I did not expect the up-in-arms mentality and desire many are displaying.

The number of people sharing experiences, calling people out by name and banning together around this idea has been nothing short of inspiring. Many of us have expressed these feelings to each other individually or in small groups, but it appears that it is going beyond that now. I got permission to share a few examples of what I have been seeing.

I received this comment from my long time friend @jayvee4you on the Part 3 post:

To which I responded:

“I am determined that we take back our industry from these folks that have created speaking and book careers and don’t/haven’t really done it!!!! Or at least aren’t doing now. If we do not stand up and control the message with proper, results driven content, we will all be out of work and a laughing stock like when this whole thing started…”

Following that, my friend @ilovegarick messaged me on Facebook with a conversation in process with one of these types we are talking about here. This situation typifies the issue we are facing, doesn’t it?

He went on to write about it, calling it “What’s Your Biggest Challenge in Social Media.” He wraps up with “So what’s my biggest challenge in social media then? It’s apparently not my original answer of ROI.  It is simply this: working with people who proclaim themselves as “social media gurus” and then pitch how they can work wonders for other businesses. They give those who know what they’re doing a bad name.”

I think it’s clear we are all getting frustrated with the state of the industry and how these “name” people are controlling the message and what eventually happens to us and the industry as a whole. I for one am not going to stand for that any longer. Will you?

So in the final post of this series, there are two things I want to convey. One for the social media professional specifically and one for everyone:

1) To the social media professional – We must take back our industry. The media have latched on to these authors and speakers, giving them credibility that they should not have. A book is not an indication of a social media professional and the size of their following or number of likes isn’t either and we all know this. What they DO themselves and the actual results are the proper indication of whether someone is a social media professional or not.

What can we do to take back the industry? For starters, let’s stop sharing content these folks produce, even if it is relevant to our audience. Let’s stop giving them credibility by engaging with them, if that opportunity in fact ever occurs. Let’s lead by example and produce results that are real and well beyond followers, Klout and perceptions. Finally, we must call these people out wherever possible and appropriate and reclaim the message and control.

2) Suggestions for everyone

Be very weary of anyone that claims being a social media expert or that do not do social media as they tell you and others to do for your social media strategy. Be very careful of those who consult on social media, but their social media is greatly lacking. Beware of those with huge followings that do not respond and engage.

RUN from those who are celebrities that consult big brands on social media marketing. Nothing they have to say is relevant to the average business. My fourteen year old daughter could design and execute a successful strategy for a major brand. Social media marketing for the small and mid-sized business is a completely different game!

Finally, stop following and giving credibility to these celebrity social media experts. You are far better off finding a handful of small to medium social media agencies whose feeds reflect the things you know are right, than to waste time learning things that will suck your time and lead you to poverty for your business.

Now let’s take this industry back and together mold it into the most effective marketing platform ever seen.

Part 1 – 3 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

**Footnote – Remember the social media expert that automates questions and ignores when people answer, yet professes to be a social media rock star for brands? Here’s how Monday night ended up on Garick’s post. Utterly amazing… Time? I make the time to respond to every single comment and question. It’s social media! Can you get any more arrogant?


Filed under Agency, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 3

The next important thing to outline in this series is how to know whether the person you are watching, learning from and replicating their activity is doing it right. How do you know that what that “expert” is writing on their blog actually works or will work for you? How do you know if the person writing the book or article is really an “expert”? How do you know that the things they are doing in their social media activity that you are replicating actually does produce revenue and ROI?

The direct answer to these questions is, there is no real way to know for sure. I know that is not very helpful to hear and I realize that some of you reading this are now more frustrated than when you started with social media because of this answer. But the fact is, these people aren’t going to give you their profit and loss statements, their analytics or their sales numbers. Now days, anyone can write and publish a book, write a blog or be seen as an expert by an ignorant media. So the bottom line is that it is incumbent upon us to make the determination of who in fact is an expert, or at least a professional.

*Side note – In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a social media expert, guru or ninja. This industry changes so quickly and is far too new to have established any of those yet. There are a lot ofcelebrities, and many professionals, but no experts.

Here are some things I do to determine whether I should listen to or replicate activity of someone who is considered to be a  social media expert or professional:

1) Walk the talk – After reading an article they’ve written, check their newsfeed to see if they actual do what they are telling you to do.

2) Blazing Blog Posts – One or more blog posts per day? Really? That makes you a blogger and someone looking to drive traffic to your blog, more than a social media professional. If you are actually doing social media effectively, you don’t have time to write quite that much. What’s worse is you are probably not writing everything you post and therefore it will be evident in your newsfeed activity that it’s not you writing.

3) Be my guest – One thing I have found is the people who have a ton of “guest” bloggers should be carefully scrutinized. Not ALL but many are taking advantage of other unsuspecting writers to further their web traffic. Want my articles? Then pay me!

4) Me first – Look for limited Retweeting, sharing or posting of other people’s content. As an example, I am in tribes on Triberr with many of these kinds of “name” industry experts. I don’t think they ever login and share other people’s posts that are in their tribe. I have stop sharing many of their content.

5) You work? – Look into exactly what it is that the so-called expert really does for a living. This always amazes me. You’re a social media expert, yet you are always speaking somewhere and never responding to people. Or the infamous, “monetized blog” people. They are web marketers whose entire focus is blog traffic for advertising or affiliate revenue. Is what they are telling you, really being driven by income from selling that product or does it really work? Pay attention…

6) The Train Jumper – I have pretty much got this one down now and can identify these people very quickly. Once something in the news happens, they are the first to write about it. The new network, the big social scandal, the latest application. If you were a social media professional, you wouldn’t be chasing every new shiny object in order to be the first to write about it. You would wait, observe and investigate. Train Jumpers are traffic hounds for a living.

7) Too good for you – Engage with the “expert”. Ask them a question. Retweet or share something they posted and wait. Do they respond? Do they answer your question? Do they do it in a timely fashion? Do they even thank you? *Remember their article you read about social media being about relationships??* (RED FLAG)

8) Check – Is the software, tool, activity they are deploying or talking about fit with how one might do something in the real world? If the equivalent activity in the real world would not go over well with people at a networking event, be very hesitant.

9) The Reviewer – Watch for the experts whose content is always about tools. If you’re an expert and have not already figured out the couple of tools it takes to get results, or worse you are constantly leading others down a tools chase, there is definitely a problem.

10) Gamers – Watch for people whose activity wreaks of gaming followers, friends and Klout scores. Lot’s of activity can achieve gains in these areas. Oddly, they also tend to diminish real revenue, relationship and results that actually matter. There are a lot of folks out there that do this in order to “appear” as somebody.

The really sad part is that I have coached a few people who have fallen into this celebrity trap. I won’t name any names, but people I have watched go from near zero to now being a blog and Klout machine, rarely engaging and chasing after and replicating the poor strategies of the celebrity, becoming one themselves. The problem is, I know them and know where they are really at in life and business. I can assure you that this no more make them rich than it does make them an expert.

This series and specifically this post might seem a but harsh to some, but perceptions can be very deceiving and I am tired of seeing good people who want to learn being taken down dark alleys that can potentially be ruining to them in business!

Part 1 & 2 of this series:  Part 1     Part 2    Part 4


Filed under Agency, Followers, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy