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?

20 thoughts on “It’s Nearly Impossible To Become A Social Media Professional Part 4

  1. Robert – great tips on how to avoid these. The problem is, if numbers aren’t the truth, if articles aren’t the truth, then what is the general, uneducated public supposed to know is the truth? What signals do they get that someone is a charlatan – or someone is an honest to goodness provider?

  2. Even as someone young to social media, I am bewildered that so many companies claim to “manage” social media yet they don’t retweet, comment, or respond. It worries me that their clients think spewing pre-scheduled posts is what this is all about. As stronger SM pros emerge, everyone must continually step up their game. There will come a day when clients begin to understand the difference between push and pull marketing. When that happens, a social media expert that only pushes will never be able to demonstrate ROI from the pull nor will they know how.

    1. I don’t agree Michael. The average client will never really understand the difference between push/pull or frankly want to. WE have to take this industry back from these fakers and demonstrate proper practices and results, and control the message about said. THAT is my next project I am considering…

  3. I enjoyed your 4 Part Series. But really, is it “Nearly Impossible to become a Social Media Professional”? What are the required credentials of a Social Media Professional? What post secondary education and Degree(s) are earned to practice as a Social Media Professional? What difficult qualifying exams are administered, written and passed by an industry governing body like the Law professions Bar Exam, or the UFE exam for Charted Accountancy or P.Eng for Professional Engineers. What license or association membership must be held and renewed on an annual basis? What industry association verifies a Social Media Professional’s credentials and sets a high level of standards to be adhered to by all members?

    Here lies the fundamental problem – anyone can get in and claim to be a Social Media Professional/Expert. How do you propose you take back your industry when there are no set standards or barriers to entry to begin with?

    Just playing the devil’s advocate…. I think your articles were well written and thought provoking.

    1. Great points Jennifer, however the reason for the title is not regarding credentials, etc. it’s that if the main name people in the industry are the ones that people follow, watch and replicate, it WILL be nearly impossible to every become a pro and/or get results.

      That is what I am formulating in my mind right now Jennifer. – How do we tribe together to take back the industry, it’s messaging and it’s path.

      I am not a fan of Get a degree, certificate, etc. in order to be considered a pro. Heck, I taught myself too. I have not read anyone’s books or articles, I just strategically did it and learned. I know several folks in the industry that could easily pass a test, but could never execute it.

      I am also not a fan of some predetermined set standards or guidelines. Every single project is different and requires different methods.

      So I am considering what the next step is in this process. I am an action oriented guy. It’s easy to point out problems, much more difficult to come up with solutions. I am searching for solutions. Join me?

    1. Well I figured somebody had to start saying this. I have had it and am formulating a plan and a tribe to take our industry back from these poser, author, media celebrities. Yes, I am Italian. :-)

  4. I like your style Robert! :) Very well said and awesome points! It is time to take a stand and say enough is enough. Just like I make it clear to all my clients and potential ones that I am not an SEO expert, because of all the scams out there, I am feeling the same way about Social Media. I have never claimed to be an SM guru and never will. I will let me clients determine that. I think you have motivated me to write a blog post about this as well!

    Keep up the great work Robert! :)

  5. Glad I finished the series, and I cant agree with you more. I have more behaviors to add to your list, The variety of fakers continuously grows. I imagine that Charles Dickens would have had a field day in providing caricatures of these dissemblers (viz. Sketches by Boz), I would be willing to contribute a blog post for each carpetblogger, mediabagger, sawmonger, para-citer and 140charlatan so they can be recognized for what they are, diluters and detractors of value and quality.

  6. Interesting article, indeed very helpful. I find myself trying to learn a tip or two about social media marketing and got myself a contract on writing a beginners steps to become a social media marketer guide. I guess I’ll have to be neutral in my work, I’ll also have to learn how to apply things myself and never let everyone else do it for me. If you have intelligence for writing, thinking, researching, sharing, etc come on! you can also learn that one skill by yourself!

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