Update – 13/10/2010 21:20 Nigel Botterill, the owner of MYSMB has kindly entered the debate, read his response and join the debate here
Back in July I blogged about my disdain for so called social media ‘gurus’. It caused quite a stir and spread rapidly across the social web. People agreed with me whilst others doubted that there were actually people out there masquerading as social media experts (there are!). It is a subject that I think about a lot and also one that continues to really really rile me. I thought that the bullshit may start to dwindle as the general understanding and adoption of social media increases. It has not. Here we go again…
The following things do not make you an expert, consultant or indeed a ‘guru’
- Tweeting 300 times a day, mainly about your feelings and your sandwich choice (that’s a tweet every 1.6 minutes in a working day of 8 hours)
- Attending as many social media and tech events or meet-ups as physically possible (these can be beneficial, but don’t think just being there is enough)
- Having a blog that does very little other that regurgitate the content from the leading blogs but in your own words
- Having a high klout score or basing your knowledge on your twitter follower numbers
- Owning ‘Social Media for Dummies’
What have you actually done Mr Consultant?
I don’t understand how people can put themselves out there as consultants without having a track record of either working in social media or actually having any clients, both in the past and presently. There are a massive amount of blogs and websites owned by so called consultants or experts that are strangely lacking evidence of any actual social media strategy work being carried out for anyone other than the work they do themselves to drive people to their site in an attempt to hoodwink some poor bugger in to paying them an inflated fee for their ‘knowledge and guidance’. I can pretty much guarantee that said knowledge and guidance is about as in-depth and useful as a sandwich related tweet. To me, you quite simply cannot truly offer worthwhile social media services unless you have been at the coal face, creating strategies, implementing, managing, measuring and reporting. Anyone can talk a good game after reading the latest post from Mashable, but having the nouse to actually deliver is a whole different ball game.
That leads me nicely on to this complete aberration…
The above is a service that trains stay at home Mum types to be ‘social media managers’. Basically, the poor people who fall for it, pay £497 to receive a number of modules that claim to ‘train you to be a social media manager, a role that could earn you thousands of pounds a month’. Oh dear lord. So these people complete a set of modules (I would imagine that all of the included info is readily available online and for free) and all of a sudden they are super freakin awesome experts. Bollocks. But the madness does not stop there, what MYSMB then do is approach businesses to offer them the services of these new ‘social media managers’. So the local Purple Widget company pays what I would imagine to be a high fee to MYSMB who then get Mrs Smith to tweet on their behalf, in between Jeremy Kyle and changing nappies. No no no!!! Jesus wept. Do you think that these businesses are told the true nature of the people that will be acting as their social media ‘manager’? Doubtful.
MYSMB is run by a man who calls himself a ‘serial entrepreneur’ (is that a business murderer?) and a quick Google search on his name returns a number of frankly awful sites on which he sells his various pyramid scheme type offerings. Other results include a number of articles that alert us to the fact that many of them are scams. This cannot offer any real value to the businesses that use it, having somebody that is so far removed from your brand acting as your social voice is just plain wrong. This ‘serial entrepreneur’ is the only person who is truly gaining anything from it and that is just pure hard cash. As for the people who become the ‘managers’ well I can’t really fault them as such, after-all they are merely trying to make some money. I just hope the businesses that use the service and then have to deal with the inevitable fall-out can’t beat a path to their door.
As a passionate digital marketer this type of nonsense really makes my blood boil and to me will only serve to potentially damage the image of the many hard working, genuinely clued up social media people and agencies out there.
Stop the bullshit people, get out there and bust a gut until you have earned the right to be classed as an expert. Do some actual social media work then maybe you can call yourself a ‘social media consultant’. Just don’t do it the other way round.
Update 13/10/2010 – Nigel Morgan has echoed my sentiments and delved a little deeper in to the way MYSMB works in his blog post here
Update – 13/10/2010 16:53 – One of the MYSMB ‘social media managers’ has responded to this and a number of other negative blog posts, read it here
And if you meet a ‘guru’, give them a Chinese burn from me.