Those who quietly go about the industry of consistently delivering value to customers and clients will win the day. It’s simple, and it applies to all business. And when that maxim is applied to social media consultants, so be it. If they are achieving the aforementioned results, then they will rightly reap rewards. Those with that moniker who deal in fraud and fabrication – whose only consistency is “outkicking their coverage” – will lose business because, over time, their reputation will deteriorate. That’s natural selection in the business world.
The fact that the charlatans are laid bare, shouldn’t affect the overall health of any subset of the communications industry, including social media. If there is a demand, there will be those to meet it. Some of them will provide professional advice that leads to measurable results, others will take clients’ money, move on, and sell their snake oil in the next town. That’s the nature of a lot of business. There will always be phonies happy to separate the gullible from their cash. Caveat emptor.
To Build Yourself Up or Tear Others Down
It’s surprising to see that the shop worn theme of “social media guru” bashing is en vogue once again and that notable detractors have come out in vocal internet outcry. Recently two web luminaries added their voices to the chorus in an offensive against the social media expert with bold, link-baity proclamations.
Gary Vaynerchuk and Peter Shankman, both of whom operate social media/customer service consultancies, made provocative statements about those who ply their trade – statements that produced predictably polarizing results. Many aligned themselves with the two – some perhpaps attempting to get out from underneath the umbrella of their criticism. Others took offense and pushed back against their pointed missives.
The Posts That Caused the Kerfuffle:
Gary Vaynerchuk: “99.5 Percent Of Social Media Experts Are Clowns”
I Will Never Hire a “Social Media Expert,” and Neither Should You (Peter Shankman)
I bumped into social media professional Jason Falls at IgniteDC and asked him what he thought of the very public critiques of the industry.
The people who care whether or not someone calls themselves an “expert” are only afraid one of them will steal clients from them. You know who doesn’t care about this topic? Businesses who hire consultants. They hire people who can help their business, not paranoid and defensive ego-mongers who think they’re playing thought leader by minimalizing someone they never heard of and know nothing about. – Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer
By Way of Explanation
Vaynerchuk and Shankman are both accomplihed, successful bloggers, authors, and businessmen so their messages carry a lot of weight. Heavy hitters like these guys can take the heat and both of them stood by their words. In fact, Gary responded to a lot of people personally and clarified his remarks made on TechCrunch with his own video.
Both of these guys are proponents of social media as a means to deliver genuine customer service. I’ve written here about the disconnect between social media and customer service. Ultimately, corporate leaders have to decide whether they want to create business cultures that are moral, ethical, customer-centric, and human. Social media can help them achieve those ends, but only if that is the path they choose to take.
I don’t take a side in what I consider to be a faux controversy, and to steal from Shankman’s post, “neither should you”. So whether you took umbrage with the critiques or cheered them on, I say the best path to success IS to work hard, be excellent, kick ass and let THAT be your differentiator. And if all else fails, you can hire this guy.
I’d hire a social media expert, and maybe you should, too – Shel Holtz
There Are No Experts, Only More Experiences – Geoff Livingston
Never Plan on Hiring a Social Media Expert? Good Luck With That – Esteban Contreras