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Oh, You're a Consultant?


Posted by on July 10, 2009

christopherwalken2

(Gotta love Christopher Walken)

This might sound like a bit of a rant (because at some level it is) but just stay with me on this.

Just because you know how to use social media tools does not make you a social media consultant.  So, just because you know how to find people on twitter or create a facebook fanpage doesn’t mean you have any business consulting in the area of social media.  If this were the case then everyone on the planet would be consulting for one thing or another.  I left a comment on  Olivier Blanchards blog talking about this and I’ll say it again here.  I may know how to use a laptop but I don’t call myself a “computer consultant”, I can use a shovel and lay down bricks but I don’t call myself a “construction worker”.  Just because you know how to use a tool (or tools) doesn’t mean you’re qualified for beans.

A social media consultant should not just know how to use the tools out there but should understand (among other things):

  • how a business works
  • how to integrate social media tools into an organization
  • how to do customer research
  • how to identify social media objectives, strategies, tactics, and metrics
  • the challenges and obstacles that organizations are faced with when it comes to social media
  • the difference between ROI and impact

Some sort of business degree should be a pre-requisite for social media consultants and as I mentioned to Olivier, I’m going to be very hesitant in taking any social media consultant seriously that doesn’t have a business background.

It’s getting frustrating to see so called “consultants” offer services when they have absolutely no business doing so, if you want to show businesses how to tweet or create a facebook account that’s fine, but don’t say that you’re a consultant unless you really understand all of the above…make sense?

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  • http://www.tanyamcginnity.com/ Tanya McGinnity

    BINGO! There are so many folks that I speak to who are able to sell themselves as consultants without having any of the marketing or sales chops to back up what they've done. I look at their websites and there's no mention to campaigns they'd run, only cute logos of all of the social media sites they belong to.

    Eventually the next big thing will hit and I'm hoping that those who are just selling the sizzle will move on to jump on that train.

    I share your pain!

  • http://www.scribnia.com David Spinks

    I used to think my Business Administration Degree had nothing to do with my career in social media…until I began my career.

  • http://adamjacksonlive.com adamjackson

    That's why I carry these titles.

    “community manager”
    “social media evangelist”
    “party planner”
    “blogger”
    “social media coach”

    I say consultant to show that I'm working freelance but I've never put “consultant” on my business card. You hit the nail on the head.

  • nicktjohnson

    Thank you for your rant. I am constantly surrounded by programmers (loosely used, as most only know how to plug data into templates), junior marketing staff, and people who once worked at a PR firm who are all “SocMed Consultants.”

    I have worked in several food manufacturing companies. Just because I frequently have been inside manufacturing plants does not make me an operations consultant or a food scientist. These businesses wonder why social media and other marketing does not work for them, just look at who is advising them.

    The problem is that very few people actually “get” marketing. So they do not know what to ask or look for. It's a circle of incompetence that makes me question every day whether I want to keep marketing.

  • http://www.brandsanatomy.com/ Nick

    Thank you for your rant. I am constantly surrounded by programmers (loosely used, as most only know how to plug data into templates), junior marketing staff, and people who once worked at a PR firm who are all “SocMed Consultants.”

    I have worked in several food manufacturing companies. Just because I frequently have been inside manufacturing plants does not make me an operations consultant or a food scientist. These businesses wonder why social media and other marketing does not work for them, just look at who is advising them.

    The problem is that very few people actually “get” marketing. So they do not know what to ask or look for. It's a circle of incompetence that makes me question every day whether I want to keep marketing.