Nowadays it seems like there are plenty of "social marketing experts" for hire. The explicit (or implied) promise is that if you get enough posts, likes and tweets, these modern-day wizards will magically solve your business problems.
This reminds me of the late 90s dot.com boom, and the promises I heard back then. Phrases like:
"It's a new era in business.... just get enough 'clicks' and 'eyeballs' to your website, and the profits will take care of themselves."
That advice didn't work real well for a lot of companies. Such as Pets.com... Contentville... Flooz... Kozmo.com, and other victims in the dot.com boneyard.
Clicks and eyeballs weren't enough to keep them in business. They still needed old-fashioned things like sales and cash flow.
A book was written about this dot.com graveyard by Phillip Kaplan titled F'd Companies. It chronicles the Alpha and Omega (beginning and end) of multiple companies with no product... experience... or realistic business model. Just hot air, blue sky and empty promises.
Todays 'tweets' and likes' seem to be the equivalent of the late 90s 'clicks' and 'eyeballs.' I'm not sold on the idea that if your Fan page is popular enough, you'll convert enough folks to purchase your product or service. Or that you can effectively communicate your marketing message in 140 characters or less.
I realize that you can write a short tweet or post that can get someone to a website or landing page. Social Media can be part of a sound marketing strategy, but it's not the be-all / end-all to your business challenges.
The biggest whopper I've heard from the Social Media Kool-Aid drinkers comes from the Head Twits themselves, Ev Williams and Biz Stone. Speaking last month to the "Tech Crunch Disrupt" conference, they had the chutzpah to tell capitalists in attendance to 'Stop stressing about how your business will make money. The money will come."
Ah yes, the Field of Dreams approach to business. Brilliant!
This quote is the leader in the clubhouse for the biggest load of BS I've heard in 2012. It's terrible advice, defies business fundamentals and common sense.
Why do I bring up the F'd Companies book and the Twitter quote? Because technology and good intentions aren't enough aren't enough to be successful in business. You have to put in enough consistent effort, and make sure that effort is guided by a sound business plan and fundamentals.
It's not enough to be a Facebook / Twitter / Other Social Media Outlet marketing expert... you have to know the fundamentals of good marketing to be considered an expert - or at the very least competent.
Preferably if you've learned those fundamentals from folks like Claude Hopkins and his book Scientific Advertising... John Caples and David Ogilvy, to name a few. Or more modern-day marketing wizards, such as Jay Abraham, Ted Nicholas, Gary Bencivenga, or John Carlton.
You really need to know the market you're selling to... what product or service(s) said market really wants... and what will motivate them to buy said product or service. If you hire a marketing consultant or copywriter to increase sales and cash flow, they darn well better know these three things - or else you're probably throwing your money away.
The moral of this story? I'll say it again: It's not enough to be a __________ marketing expert, and it's not the medium (or media) that make the difference... it's the rock-solid, time-tested marketing fundamentals put into action.
They've worked for all kinds of companies for over 100 years, and they can work for yours too. Give 'em a try. If done correctly, I think you'll like the results you see.