As I write this title I realize someone out there will look at it and, without skipping a beat, answer with a resounding “Why, sure!”
The lure of expertise
There is something about titles in the online marketing world that got out of control in recent years. In a rush to show expertise beyond any expertise shown before on the infant subject of Social Media, we started seeing business cards with a title line for “Experts”, “Gurus”, “Rock-stars”, “Savant”, “Evangelists”, etc.
The issue escalated up until about May 2011, when the debate between these two: Peter Shankman, networking consultant, and Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz, took it to the
street, ahem, web, on what turned into a rather heated debate on the need for social media consultants.
Someone finally went and posted online:
calling yourself a Social Media Expert is like calling yourself a ‘Screwdriver Expert’.”
You see, the web, social media, seo, email marketing, are all just tools. What matters is what one does with it.
Crying like babies
I don’t pay much attention to the titles anymore; I think we’ve become desensitized to the gimmickry. But I think I understand why it happened. As with any new technology, the social web has brought about quick changes in paradigms.
The thing about paradigms is they are the result of permanent, dramatic, changes. And they typically form slowly over time. Paradigms have never shifted so quickly as they do now.
The result of these rapid-changing conditions in how we market our businesses – heck, how we live online – has left many feeling marginalized and lost. No wonder so many are kicking and screaming.
Growing up is hard to do
The modern Social Media is fast approaching its teens, and with the milestone comes a little maturity. There are many things about social media behavior we understand now, but we’re also starting to understand there are still many surprises coming our way.
Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.”
– Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
In my previous article I wrote it is “Time To Get Serious”. It is time to get over the hype, and look at this as what it is: a business problem. And how do we look at business issues? We consider the benefits received over the investment we put into it. And the benefit of Social Media is starting to become pretty obvious.
The web is an ecosystem
The challenge, then, is to recognize online marketing as part of a business’s overall marketing scheme. To think of any one part of the online marketing world (Web, Social, Local, Mobile, Email) in isolation is taking a huge risk.
John McElhenney touches on sensible business goals, and the vanity of some metrics (ie. [Likes]), in his article titled “Social Media is Only Part of the Online Marketing Mix”, but I particularly loved this:
If your site’s sales system is poor, you will just have a higher number of failures.”
– John McElhenney
Let’s get started:
Think in terms of a marketing system, not random stuff cobbled together. That means your website, social media, seo, email marketing, all work together. Get a good idea of what you want to achieve. Find where your audience is. Choose your channels and taylor the message to that audience.
And, whatever you do, don’t be shy to be the person behind the business, remain human. We no longer do business with the TV commercial, we do business with real people.
photo © Sebastian Fritzon, Flickr