Recently in an interview, I was asked if I considered myself a social media guru, my response was a resounding NO. The question really took me back and made me reel, it make me feel irksome and almost a little bit sick to the stomach.
Now I’ve pondered since that meeting why I had such an overwhelming response to the word guru. It feels like everyone is claiming to be a guru at something or other and for me that just feels completely egotistical. I was slightly more comfortable being called a social media vetran at a recent conference I spoke at or an industry expert at something else, but still not entirely comfortable with the title. It made me feel old, although so did announcing on the start up radio show I host that I remember life before google, there was just one response to that – dead air!
Very funny in hindsight. I’ve run social media strategies for business since 2007, which is a REALLY long time, given so many businesses are just embracing social media now, I’m in my mid 30’s, which I get is old to the new start ups entering the entrepreneurial world, maybe vetran is the best title?
Now this might create a few waves and get a few people offside, but…
I don’t believe in social media gurus
Social media is changing so rapidly, it’s a reactive space for most marketers and any one who claims it isn’t, is frankly, full of BS.
You can be prepared, you can plan, you can strategise about what you are aiming to achieve through using social media, but does that make a guru, no.
As social media people, we are working with a range of free sign up social media platforms utilising some paid tools to get the best results. We do our best to ensure businesses look great and we are driving a strategy to their end goal, but does that make a guru, no.
Social Media changes so fast, that not anyone – outside the people working on the platform development (which are not the same people driving results for businesses through social media) know what’s going to change until it’s launched live in the market place. It’s why we wait with baited breath as facebook announces that they are going to make an announcement in the coming days, do we know what it is? no. Can we prepare? no. Will we be watching and waiting so we can react quickly if needed? yes.
How can anyone call themselves a guru when the industry is still sorting itself out?
At best we are guessing almost 50% of what’s coming up, strategies are set in jelly and clients informed that if a change happens that means plan A will not be the best way through the social media maze to their desired outcome, we will change it. Most of the time we tweak, adjust and make the changes before the clients are aware there has even been a situation that may affect their social media outcomes.
After years of understand what works, what changes to look for and how different strategies drive different results, I believe whole heartedly that we have more experience than most social media people. Can you pick it up in a training session – somewhat, you can absolutely increase your skills on how the platforms operate today. Will that same strategy, be relevant in 6 months (or even a week)?
If you are undertaking a program to become of engage a “social media guru” check in with them that it comes with the knowledge around speedy adaptation and being on the lookout for changes that will affect the algorithms and potentially your business objectives.
Best practice in social media is to be on the front foot of an ever changing field
I’m passionate about helping small businesses get results, we do that by taking a complex task off their hands, knowing what they are trying to achieve and we find a solution for them. I won’t deny it, being referred to as a guru, industry leader etc was pretty darn great for my ego, in the end, I would not be operating from a place of authenticity or integrity to claim the words that I do not feel can relate to any single person in an industry that changes so fast that most of the time the platforms are changing to meet the requirements of the users. Would you call Mark Zuckerberg a social media guru? Maybe a facebook guru, but how can one person be a guru across a range of platforms all on their own journey?
What came first – the chicken or the egg? We are now in a world of fast paced, crowd sourced business solutions. The developers create something, and we (users) work out how we can tweak it to make it work more effectively for us – think facebook before pages, the developers respond to try and help and so the cycle continues.