Monday, 28 June 2010

Social Media Bullshit, And How To Smell It!

 So I’m reading a load of Social Media blogs, and the usual touchy-feely stuff is coming through again and again and again. The usual Marketing Talk, and the endless self-promotion of so-called experts. I work in Social Media, yet I feel very little affinity to the self-appointed sages that seem to litter the online sphere at the moment.

I don’t like being negative, as I feel that too much negativity is like filling a rucksack with stones – a heavy, pointless burden that nobody wants to share with you (unless you are a masochist – if so here, have mine).

What a lot of people, and a lot of businesses don’t seem to understand is that the best tools on the market for Facebook page optimisation are free. Just look at Mashable for starters - most of the stuff your bog-standard S/M expert will tell you is on there first, and for free. You are being ripped off, and being kept in the dark about by the snake oil salesmen I see so often coming into work, hawking their two-bit social media plug-ins for upwards of £15k. It’s poor, it’s rubbish, and there is no excuse for it. It’s offensive that people will look to rip people off in that way. And that’s coming from somebody who works in the music industry (sorry, cheap joke – that’ll be 79p please).

All of the best inventions and shifts in the way we operate have been cheap to implement at the base level. You can draw an amazing picture with a nice pencil, if you have the focus and the ability. You can maybe make the lines a little more defined by buying a better pencil, but then you’d have to have the ability to draw in the first place.

A so-called social media expert would have you believe that if you buy a better pencil, you will be better at drawing. A good Social Media teacher will show you how to draw better with the tools you already have, and teach you with equipment that is cheap or free. And probably wouldn’t drown in pencil analogies like I just have. Tut tut, Stroud.

So the next time you get somebody pitching a Social Media product to you, just ask them the following questions.

1. Can you explain your product in one sentence without using jargon?

2. What other products are there like this on the market?

3. Who was your touchstone and who were your influences when developing your product.

4. How is this better that the free products on the market? In English please...

5. How much?

6. Why?

7. How can you break this price down into work undertaken? (i.e. Does this cost justify the man-hours they are putting in?)

And if you’re still none the wiser, here’s a simpler method:

Avoid this:

And watch this:

SMC Seattle May Event: How to Call BS on a Social Media Guru from SMC Seattle on Vimeo.

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