I’ve tried hard to not call myself a social media marketing expert or guru or master or rock star. What I haven’t done is correct others when they have. And I haven’t done a very good job of letting people know what I really am or what I’m really good at.
That’s all about to change.
I’ve spent at least a year in a complete blogging funk. And it’s not because I don’t have things I’d like to say. I most certainly do. The reason for the funk is that I’ve been having an internal battle between “what I should be doing” and “what I really love to do.” Luckily for me, what I really love to do is also what I’m really good at. And it’s not creating and defining marketing strategies.
First, some commentary. A troubling trend has emerged from the chaos of the social media boom. People who have no real marketing skills or training or any experience with business strategy are becoming “social media marketing” consultants, strategists and coaches based on a few factors that have nothing to do with successful marketing strategy. These new marketing “experts” fall into one of three categories.
- The Cheerleader
- The Successful Fool
- The Opportunist
You all know this social media marketing expert. He or she is the person who has no proven track record for building ANYTHING other than followers on a few popular social media sites. They equate this popularity with business success and can even teach others how to recreate their “success” in these online venues. They use anecdote and analogy to answer questions of ROI and they universally fail to be able to point to any quantifiable measures of business progress that contribute substantially to a company’s bottom line.
The Successful Fool
This social media marketing expert has a proven track record of past business success, but it has nothing to do with any marketing experience, least of which social media marketing. There is no proof that their journey is repeatable. They use an unintentional slight of hand to direct our attention to their past exploits as proof positive of future benefit. And they make the foolish mistake of thinking their personal ability to grow a business can be transferred to others on a large scale.
This is my least favorite form of new age social media marketing expert. They promise big results with almost no effort. They are the social media marketing snake oil salesmen. They’re the ones telling you that if you don’t do x and y you will be extinct in 2 years. Their success is measured in the number of people they dupe into buying their placebos. They’re not marketing strategists, they’re carnival barkers.
So what am I?
I have been very successful in my business life. Let me be clear, by “very successful” I mean that my companies have made solid profits for many years. But they have not been successful because I am a marketing strategy expert. Quite to the contrary.
What has helped make them successful is hiring great strategy consultants and partnering with great strategic thinkers, like Bill Leider. I’ve have also tried to align myself with others who are great marketing and brand strategists in specific market segments, like Marc Davison in real estate. But I am NOT a marketing strategist. What I do is work WITH and BESIDE marketing strategists to develop tools, tactics and technology paths that make executing those strategies simpler and easier. I look at a company’s objectives and devise ways to use technology to make executing those strategies more efficient and effective. I am a tactical strategist and a technology strategist. I am not a marketing strategist – social media or otherwise.
The mistake I’ve made over the past year is thinking that I needed to be something else. I don’t.
When Hal Lublin related the story of how, while playing poker, Chris Brogan helped him understand that he shouldn’t hold back, I wondered why I was holding back. I wondered what was keeping me from writing. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one good reason. There is just one bad reason – I’ve been resisting being seen as a social media MARKETING expert.
My Master’s degree is in School Psychology with a focus on behavior modification. I spent several years creating behavior modification plans for severely mentally handicapped and criminally insane patients. So, if sometimes I want to write about behavior, I should. I have a passion for science, so sometimes I want to write about technology, the Internet and social media as it relates to quantum mechanics and complex adaptive systems. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t. I’ve also spent a great deal of time dissecting, with the help of some great thinkers, the role of vision and values in building and managing a business and solidifying a brand. I should write about that too. I will.
But what I will not do is continue to allow my resistance to being lumped into the category of “social media marketing expert” keep me from writing about areas in which I excel. I’m going to write about emerging digital tools and how to make them work to the benefit of strategy – personal, brand, marketing or otherwise. I’m going to write about what I love – technology.
Taking the experts’ advice.
The social media marketing experts I admire tell me that if I want to increase engagement, I should ask a question at the end of each blog post. Let’s see if they’re right. What barriers are holding you back from being more effective in using social media?