I saw an excellent short video today by social media marketing expert Tara Hunt of Truly Social that really hit home. I (and probably most people in my field) often get asked if folks can “pick my brain” about their social media accounts’ strategy and performance. What they’re looking for is a “quick fix” from me – how can they make their social marketing work beautifully RIGHT NOW, they want the answers RIGHT NOW, while we’re standing in line at the grocery store or bump into one another in a cafe. But as Tara explains, any marketer worth her salt will say that’s impossible, and it truly is. Tara says to tell you otherwise is frankly unprofessional and possibly harmful, and she’s absolutely right.
No. You Can’t Pick My Brain — And That’s a Good Thing.
One of the important lessons I learned early on as an entrepreneur is to never let folks “pick your brain.” The lesson, as it was taught to me, is that expertise has value, and people asking to pick your brain want your expertise for free. But the real problem in doing this as a social media marketer is that, as Tara says, it’s truly impossible to accurately evaluate, gauge, look at strategy, look at performance, crunch data, analyze an audience, and be creative while I am standing in line at the grocery store. You might as well ask a doctor what that weird pain in your back is while waiting for your order to come up at the deli. (This probably happens to doctors all the time.) There’s no accurate way to know without a thorough examination and assessment.
You Don’t Need a Guru
I have always loathed the title “social media guru,” and anyone who’s ever tried to place it on me has been told as much. There’s nothing mystical or arcane about what we do. I’m a marketer, plain and simple, and the tools I use are on the internet. But some in this field like to feel they’ve got all the answers. If they act as if they do, walk away. Fast. Tara excoriates those “social media gurus” who like to spout advice which is ultimately useless. At the end of the day passion, creativity, and being interesting win the social media game, and I’m very sorry to say this – creativity can’t be taught. It’s a trait we all have that you learn to use with repeated practice. I was a teacher and professor for 17 years, and I say this from long experience. But Tara nails it: nothing else, not how long your post is or whether you use video or what time of day you post, really matters. You can do everything “right,” follow all the “rules,” and if your content is boring, you’re not going to win a social audience. If it takes me a semester or a whole school year to help a student learn to trust his or her own creative instincts, I certainly can’t tell you how to do it while we wait for our lattes.
But I Will Help You
I’ve tried to use my blog here as a way to help the layperson decipher the ins and outs of social marketing, but I always come back to this crucial point. If I could put it on a neon sign, I would. You absolutely must be interesting. You must be engaging. You must evaluate your audience’s desires and deliver. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever…you must take your audience’s expectations into account. You can’t be dry. You can’t spout jargon. You can’t do what everyone else is doing.
If your social media marketing isn’t working, I CAN help you. I just can’t do it when you see me at the park. And no…I can’t do it for free or even for the price of a cup of coffee, but thanks for the offer. Call me, let’s make an appointment, and we’ll get you shined up with a full evaluation, analysis, strategy, and hopefully, some better traction on social media. Just give me a call or drop me a line.