Archive for May, 2011

Who Invented the Social Media Guru?

Do you call yourself a social media ninja, guru or rockstar? Are you looking to hire a social media… well, fill in the blank with another grandiose title or ill-suited fictional character of choice. Are self-proclaimed titles such as these professional? No. You usually don’t hear about human resource mavericks or accountant kings.

What might seem harmless enough can be fertile grounds for losing credibility in the social media scene. Listen up, professionals are mocking you. Don’t believe me. Just search for “Social Media Guru” in YouTube and you will find videos such as I’m a Social Media Guru  and The Social Media Guru.

Where does that leave you? You could call yourself a social media expert; however, I caution you to use this title sparingly. Firstly, a negative association exists with this title. The second and third points to my argument are well articulated by Christopher Penn, professor of social media marketing, by stating that what entails a social media expert is not agreed upon and social media has not been around long enough to assert such a label. Read the editorial note to access a great article about who should be considered a social media expert. Thank you Stan!!

Terms such as social media marketer and community manager have entered the stage, perhaps to legitimize the position and tone down larger than life job titles; however, these titles mean different things to different people, i.e., day-to-day tasks versus overall strategic decisions.

Many social media gurus have thrown out big words such as engagement and transparency and without sufficient experience and knowledge have left companies bitter because they were once caught up in the fairytale about a social media utopia, where zero investments could result in a flood of revenue only to wake up sober and dehydrated, left licking their wounds as they realize effective social media activities are not free and wonder what they have accomplished through their social media efforts.

Here’s my stance. Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are certain basic activities such as a company blog that all employees can participate in with a day’s worth of training and a solid policy / procedures manual. The heavy lifting in social media should be left to marketers that use traditional marketing methods where appropriate in addition to online activities or at the very least have a social media person that works in tandem with the marketing department. Social media is only one part of a fully-integrated marketing communications strategy. When this is done incorrectly, social media efforts can actually hurt your brand / company. For example, offline media and online media can result in different brand associations and confuse consumers.

An angry Mark Shaeffer wrote How to save your butt when the social media bubble bursts. Sift through the emotionally charged language to uncover a gem of an argument, that social media needs to be measured to rationalize its existence, Marketing 101. This is becoming increasingly important as companies invest more of their time and other resources towards social media activities. There are a wide range of tools that measure the effectiveness of social media efforts. For example, perhaps you are using social media to improve brand awareness. A survey can be conducted before and after the campaign to measure its level of success. You might find Social Mention useful in tracking customer sentiment and the list goes on and on.

As a side note, the world of social media is in a constant state of flux, so regardless of what people in social media call themselves, at a bare minimum they should follow Mashable, TechCrunch and Social Media Examiner to maximize the potential of their efforts.

In summary, don’t embarass yourself and hurt your credibility by calling yourself a social media rock star. Recognize that companies are disenfranchised because of unrealistic expectations and employees that do not provide value to their company through their social media efforts. So now what? Social media efforts must be measured to rationalize their existence. Social media marketing is one piece of a fully-integrated marketing communications strategy. Let marketers that have experience in the social media sphere do the heavy lifting. Regardless of what you call yourself, you need to constantly be learning and experimenting.

Editor’s note: the questions remains, how do you spot someone is credible in social media and can help your company. Stan does a  good job of it here: Enjoy!

What is your option about how terms such as social media guru has come about? Who should be responsible for social media activities?

Photo credit: Agent-X-Comics

Guest Blogger: My Lonely Year In The Blogosphere

My guest blogger Suzanne Rico who used to be the morning news anchor for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, made a life-changing decision with her family and in the words of this talented writer of Walking Papers, she and her husband are “now 21st century nomads on a quest to discover what should come next – for our kids, our marriage, our finances and our sanity”.

I quit Botox cold turkey on a smoggy Friday morning last year after I suddenly lost my job as KCBS-TV’s morning news anchor in Los Angeles. Feeling both liberated and scared (and in the mood to make rash decisions), my husband and I rented out our house, sold our cars and traded a comfortable city life for a low budget, long-term trip around the world with our two little boys. I opened a WordPress account to blog about what I hoped would be a “Motorcycle Diaries For Middle-Aged People With Kids” kind of journey. If I write it, I figured–and write it well–readers would come.

Nine months later, practically the only one who reads my “Walking Papers” blog with any regularity is my mother. When I posted My Argentine Angels Drives A Compact Car about rushing my five-year old son to an emergency room on Christmas Day, she commented “superb!”  And when I wrote Natural Born, Stuffed Animal Like Killers about nearly getting flattened by an angry hippopotamus, she complimented my “wicked wit”, but if I’m so fabulous and funny, where is everybody?

Perhaps my blog is lost in cyber space because I am a social media moron. I don’t promote “Walking Paper”. I don’t post everyday. I don’t Twitter it, Reddit, or Digg it. To me, the difference between a pingback and a trackback is as confusing as the old “chicken or the egg” conundrum. I’m even a Facebook virgin, fearing this potential time suck after watching my former co-anchor invest hours each day promoting his blog. I know this resistance to social media is like driving Fred Flintstone’s stone-age car on a modern day freeway; it might be unique, but it will never get you anywhere.

One night in Peru’s Valley Of The Incas, a thick mist creating ghosts at the windows of our small pension, I did try to educate myself. WordPress suggested “tags” so I read up and then chose words like “travel, adventure, mommy blog, parenting, and unemployment”. My readership spiked–by a few and recently, I stumbled upon StumbleUpon, and took the time to upload my posts, but so far, I’m the only one who has stumbled upon them. I clicked the little “like” icon on each one, feeling both embarrassed and hopeful, as if I were trying to win a high school popularity contest.

Being currently unemployed, I have no real excuse for being a social media moron, but between planes, trains, buses and rental cars–between dodging a terrorist scare in Turkey and nearly having a fist-fight with my husband at The End Of The World–I barely have time to upload one post a week, much less learn the tools to promote them. I am mystified at what qualifies as a good blog; one day, while reading Freshly Pressed, I clicked on a blog about writing only to find the post was a link to a famous author’s writing tips—something that probably took five seconds to upload. This feels like cheating to me. I’m no Sylvia Plath or Heather B. Armstrong, but I work hard on writing stories that only family and friends read.

So here are my questions for the experts—bloggers who have been sharing their message longer and more successfully than I: is there space in the blogosphere for someone who is not passionate about social media? If you write it well, but don’t promote it, will people ever come? Is content still king or do clicks rule?  Or do both? I freely admit that I don’t really understand what defines a good blogger (but I do understand why The Honey Badger gets five million views), and only blame myself that Walking Papers is about as popular a destination as Siberia in February.

On a sweaty afternoon in Brazil, both kids finally sleeping after coming down with a mysterious illness we prayed was not Dengue Fever, I expressed my frustrations to my husband Ethan; my blog, I complained, is like the tree that makes no sound when it falls in the forest because no one is around to hear it.

“Maybe you should just scrap blogging altogether and get really proficient at playing “Plants Vs. Zombies,” he suggested. “Then your oldest son will think you are even more of a goddess than he already does.”  Ethan is trying to help me temper my life-long need for achievement and external approval—not an easy task when your ego was formed in front of a television camera and though I knew this was a gentle reminder that my blog should be a pleasure and not a pain in the ass, quitting didn’t sound like such a bad idea. It would be a relief to stop checking my dismal stats—and worrying that the reason people don’t read “Walking Papers” is not because I’m a social media moron, but because I just don’t write it that well. I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Image: cbenjasuwan /

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10 Awesome Tweets From My Followers in April

Twitter Follower Mosaic

Wish you could have someone sift through brilliant tweets related to social media on Twitter without having to lift your finger? Look no further my friend. My fingers just got a good work out.

Congrats to my followers and thank you for your great tweets. Keep them coming!

1. How to gain influence on Twitter? Focus – #cnn #fb @mogulette

2. Flight of the Conchords – Business Time @socialmedialogo: killer tweets for learning about social media. This post is not directly related to social media, but is way too fun to pass up = lets get you laughing!

3. Birthday Wish: Use Your Influence To Make Meaningful Change. @Georgina_Lester

4. Bufferapp seems to be the latest talked about twitter tool @sfihomebizz

5. Small Biz Twitter Tips: @DezFutak

6. Top 100 Social Media, Internet Marketing & SEO Blogs – 2011 … @TinaSymone

7. Understanding the Power of ReTweets (RT’s) | – @ploked

8. A place to see/share all those creative Facebook campaigns. @theadliber

9. Amazing restoration photos from 76-year-old Photoshop Master in China @RodHarlan. In a word: wow!

10. Finding the balance between personal and professional on Twitter @markschaefer

Thank you for introducing me to hundreds of different valuable links / articles.

Visit 10 Awesome Tweets From My Followers in March to read more Twitter jems.

What are some brilliant tweets have your followers tweeted this month? I absolutely love hearing from my readers. Please leave a message and I promise I will get back to you.

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