Sep 16, 2010

There’s no such thing as a “Social Media Guru”

There’s a lot of self-proclaimed Social Media Gurus pushing their services these days. Their mission is to “demystify social media.” This is just a fad.

Do you remember the Email Gurus in the 1990’s? I do. I distinctly remember sitting through a sales presentation on custom email signatures. The firm was pitching how they could create branded email templates for our company. It was a sign of the times. Email was new, and people were trying to figure it out. But you don’t see much of that service anymore.

You also don’t see many Telephone Gurus, Fax Gurus or Mail Gurus anymore. Why? We get the tools. A telephone is a telephone. A fax is a fax. A letter is a letter. We don’t need a guru to explain it.

Gurus exploit tools

Social media is a new topic, and lots of people are wrestling with it and trying to figure it out. But when you boil it all down, social media is a set of tools. It’s a platform that enables conversation, information sharing and community.

Gurus on the other hand are subject matter experts. They have deep domain expertise in a targeted category, and work with their clients to implement strategies and solutions. Guru is a special title, and should only be assigned to people with remarkable levels of expertise.

Gurus use all the tools at their disposal to solve targeted problems. Some categories lend themselves more to some tools over others. For example call centers are more telephone centric, while direct marketing is more mail and email oriented.

Social media is being used in a number of business categories, and many are related to customer relationship management. There are over 500 million people on Facebook, so it makes sense for marketing and customer service gurus to be working hard to master social media for their categories.

What problems are you trying to solve?

Getting into social media is important. The tools are revolutionary. But at the end of the day, they’re just tools. Before you hire a “Social Media Guru” ask yourself, “What problems am I trying to solve?” Follow that question up with, “How could social media work to solve these problems?”

When you figure out the problems you are trying to solve, you can find the right resources to implement the solutions.

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