One of the reoccurring themes that always surface in this blog centers around the goodness that social media has brought society. As someone who gets paid for working with the fastest growing medium of communication in the world, I rightfully should be glorifying the innovative ways that social media has furthered dialogue and connectedness in this growing world. But if you have enough free time on your hands to click on my blog post links often, you also know that I am skeptical of social media as well. Not every byproduct of this modern day communication revolution has helped make us better.
When something so revolutionary and so hip emerges seemingly out of the blue, companies and organizations are going to do whatever they can to latch onto the bandwagon and make sure they don’t fall behind. This is definitely admirable as entities want to make sure they stay competitive and relevant. However, there is always that tendency to lose complete focus and engage in unhelpful, wasteful, and sometimes counterproductive practices.
I look around myself and I see intelligent people and smart companies shutting off their own brains and selling out to self-proclaimed social media “experts” and social media “consultant agencies” for help on their social media strategies and initiatives. First off, falling into a trap like this can be easy to do. When you have something as popular, as broad, and as boundless as SM, this definitely gives way to these types of “experts” to come in and offer a seemingly profitable and clear path to success. Many of these social media geniuses put up a good front. They like to make themselves sound like they are on the cutting edge of every single social development out there. They promise dramatically higher follower/like counts. They talk about how much time they are going to save you with their SM account software. They tell you how you will always know when someone mentions your company’s name. They will brag about how no one will ever be able to post anything negative to your wall…..and then they will drop a price for their service/strategy/convention that I would never dream of paying for.
The beauty about social media is that you shouldn’t need someone from outside your organization to come in and tell you how to connect with your followers or how to get your main marketing messages out. Rather, if you have young people working for you who are smart, passionate, and creative about BOTH your company AND social media in general, you should be well on your way.
On a daily basis I hear from groups who want to manage my workplace’s social media accounts. Um, isn’t that my job? Call me out if I am wrong but don’t you think a guy like me in my mid-twenties who has studied social media for the past four years and who eats, breathes, and sleeps maroon and silver could do a more effective job than some company in California who can’t even get the website of our department correct? But believe it or not, around the country companies are caving in and going with groups who “specialize” in social media.
What really gets me are the people (many of the same who want to run social media campaigns) who hold workshops/conventions/seminars on social media. If I accepted half of the invitations I get to these meetings, I would never see the light of day. While some of these workshops can be informative, many of them are a flat out waste of time. You will get people running them who are ego-driven, walking façades, and masters of the obvious. Sorry, but if you are going to take my time to tell me when the peak period for Facebook is or caution me against sending out the same message across various social media outlets, I might as well just better utilize my hours by counting sheep. What I have seen happen way too often with these workshops are the presenters just regurgitating the most general and basic facts of social media that even my dad knows but presenting it in a way that makes the people in the audience feel like they are actually learning something cool and new. But no matter how differently you try to tell me to “be engaging with my posts” I am still hearing the same thing everyone has known since the birth of social media.
That’s my advice to anyone dabbling in social media. Be wary of people who try to make something harder than what it is. Don’t let them waste your own/your employer’s time and money.
You have a brain, you have ideas, you have a vision…you also have the company or business that you work for. By doing some critical thinking and experimenting, you can come up with a strategy that will work specifically for your employer. And believe me, whatever you come up with will be 1,000x better than what some “social media agency” will tell you or what some clueless guy at some afternoon luncheon will post up during a lame powerpoint presentation. The power of social media is limitless, don’t let frauds constrain you. Don’t Blink.