Today I want to talk (rant) about something that is a huge pet peeve of mine… The short of it is when someone is a self-proclaimed “expert” at something but they don’t have any evidence to back it up. This extends to all sorts of different types of people but in this post I specifically want to discuss social media consultants.
Now, before I get into it, let me say that I am not talking about all SMM specialists. I know there are plenty of you out there that truly are experts at social media marketing and rock at it. This rant is not aimed at you, it’s about a specific type of person that is trying to emulate you.
What I’m talking about here are the people who are out there marketing themselves as social media experts but they don’t even have a following to speak of, or any other credentials, or proof of what they can do, but they are still charging (usually astronomical amounts) for their services. That just doesn’t seem right to me. I’m not going to specifically call anyone out – although I probably should – but you know who you are if you are reading this!
I first started noticing this a few months ago when I was at a small business networking group (and have seen it over and over again since that time). Another person there owned a social media company, and since I’m an internet marketer, I figured we would get along well so I immediately wanted to connect with him.
Turns out he was a real jerk and not someone I wanted to associate with. It’s a long story that isn’t relevant here so I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say he was a bit of a crybaby — to put it mildly. So that meeting didn’t go far but it didn’t stop me from researching him anyway.
He owns a social media marketing company that caters to local offline small businesses. He charges $150 per hour and requires a minimum of 10 hours per week. So what he’s really saying is that it costs $6,000+ a month for his services! Holy crap, what small business owner can afford that?!
I actually talked to some of the business owners in there about him and they flat out told me that they had no idea what he really does. Even though he had been coming to that same group every week for several months the other people still didn’t have a clue what his business was all about. Something is very wrong with that picture!
On top of his insane prices and mystery services, he barely even has a social following online. I added up ALL of his friends, followers, fans, connections, and so on from Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Linkedin — He has a grand TOTAL of 1455. And most of those are from Twitter where he is following close to double the people who are following him back, so those shouldn’t even count. Yet he’s supposed to be an expert on the subject?!
I’m not saying you necessarily need a huge following to be a SMM consultant, but I would think any expert would have a hell of a lot more than that. I mean seriously any half-assed wannabe internet marketer could build that many up in one day if he really wanted to. I have more than he does and I rarely do anything with my social media profiles, and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert or charge outrageous rates for consulting on it.
Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that he really is a social media marketing guru and just doesn’t spend time doing it much for himself. Rather he saves it for his clients. Ok great, so what does he do for each of them to be worth that $6000 per month?
I bet most 3rd graders nowadays wouldn’t have any trouble opening a Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other type of social media account. Heck, a lot of them could probably even start a blog if they wanted to. None of it is hard to do. My grandma is quite active on Facebook and she doesn’t even know how to run her DVD player. I’ve showed her many times over the years but she just can’t seem to get it. But she still knows how to rock her FB account like a champ!
Yes, I know, there’s a lot more to SMM than just being able to register profiles on the various sites and update your statuses. But the so called experts and consultants seem to be appearing out of thin air. And because social media is such a huge buzz in business right now, they are able to charge outrageous fees for their services.
It may seem like the guy discussed above is an isolated case and I am just picking on him, but I assure you it is not. I’ve come across numerous “social media specialists” in one form or another that I could tell a very similar story about. And new ones seem to keep popping up every day.
Now, let me ask you this…
What exactly does a social media marketing consultant do?
If you can answer that question then more power to ya! Please leave a comment below so we can all learn. I’m not joking, I would love to know! And if you can do it honestly with a straight face, then I would like to talk with you. Seriously, I mean it, contact me.
I’ve been a full time internet marketer for just under a decade at the time of writing this. I started in the summer of 2003 and have built a nice online empire since that time. I own a lot of websites and blogs, contribute to several others that aren’t mine, have a pretty good social media presence, and even own an offline marketing company. So you would think I could tell you what a social media specialist does without skipping a beat, wouldn’t ya? But I honestly can’t!
Don’t get me wrong, as I stated above, I know there are plenty of true professionals out there who really are rockstars of social media marketing, and are worth their weight in gold as a consultant. However, from what I have seen, most people claiming this rockstar status and charging fees as such, basically just rolled out of bed one day and decided they were going to become a SMM consultant because they read an article about it the night before and it sounded like a good idea. In reality, they are just average Joe’s trying to fake it till they make it.
So, if you run a social media marketing consulting business or something similar, then please tell me what you actually do and why it is worth paying you so much money? Thank you very much. End of rant.