In Social Media, There are No "Experts"

Interesting story in BrandWeek today about the sudden, magical rise of agencies and consultants who call themselves Social Media "Gurus," or "Experts."

The rise of social media has been met with thousands claiming expertise in the area. The skepticism this engenders in longtime marketing pros is best captured in a popular animated video called "The Social Media Guru." The clip shows a know-it-all, lightly credentialed "expert" dispensing little more than buzzwords and common sense to a bemused client.

The video is here--note that the language in it is a bit coarse, to drive home the point, I suppose, that these new gurus have to use intimidation tactics to cover up their lack of knowledge.


Of course, Social Media doesn't work in the absence of "Traditional Media," as you still need ads, PR, promotions, events, and a sales team to build a brand and sell products. But that glaring need for integrated strategic planning and coordinated implementation apparently is a small matter for these new high priests and priestesses of Social Media.

"If you have a dedicated social media agency they need to be well integrated with the rest of your team because none of this stuff stands alone," said Scott Monty, digital and multimedia communications manager at Ford. Rather than have a single social media shop, Ford works with several for different needs. It leans on the social skills of OgilvyPR, while also working with Social Media Group and Undercurrent. "This is the year that will separate the pretenders from the practitioners," he said.

Indeed. My advice? Let your current agency oversee and integrate the work of the SM upstarts into an overall strategic plan that meets your objectives, instead of getting caught up in the promise of the latest, greatest thing since sliced bread.

Remember the stories in the early days of Google, when a single pay-per-click ad had the astonishing capacity to haul in countless customers worth untold thousands of dollars all for only a few pennies.

Right. Here we go again.

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