A Word In Defense Of Social Media Gurus
Last week, I stumbled upon the latest blog post urging right-minded people to take up cudgels against the evil caste of "social media gurus" infecting the land. The ironic part is these posts are often written by people whose main expertise lies in social media. This is more of a sales pitch than argument: hire the author and you too can be saved.
But to paraphrase the old Garrett Morris skit, “Where are these social media gurus? I want some names! I want some phone numbers!” I’ve never actually met one. That is kind of odd, given that my job is to provide strategic advice to companies that are purchasing one of the social media or social video solutions my company sells. We’re primarily a software company. I generally get to meet everyone involved in the decision making process, either before, during or after the decision is actually made.
Most of the people I meet with are either in marketing or at the C-level. They generally have an idea that they should be doing more with social media than they currently are and some may even have a plan in mind. Sometimes the plan makes sense, other times it’s overly ambitious. But the problem, if there is one, has never involved a Rasputin-like “social media guru” bewitching the company into spending their entire marketing budget on tweeting recycled press releases. (It does make for some pretty funny material for an XtraNormal video.)
The problem, rather, is exactly what you’d think it’d be: Companies want a social media presence. They just don’t want to incur the costs and make the necessary infrastructure changes. Call it fear of commitment.
We also forget just how many companies are locked inside an IT version of North Korea. They don’t have Windows or Mac, they have a “packaged proprietary interface” that gives them a choice between icons marked “email” “word processing” and “calendar.” If they actually do get an “Internet” icon to click, it’s a strictly moderated version of IE6 that allows users to visit a handful of (mostly work-related) sites.