Friday, February 4, 2011

The Age of the Social Media Guru

There is a new breed of communications pro emerging in response to increasing interest and confusion over how to factor social media into a communications strategy. Enter the “social media guru.”

You may know the type. They can text in their sleep and tweet messages on their smart phones faster than you can blink. You can usually spot them in crowd, looking down, undistracted by what’s going on all around them, thumbs twittering away.

The problem is that most social media gurus that I know are so infatuated with the technology and its potential, that they don’t appreciate the need to be a little more deliberate in communicating on behalf of their organizations. Or tied to this, they think nothing of asking busy executives and managers to allocate significant chunks of their time to social media without giving serious thought as to whether certain activities are worth the effort, possibly at the expense of another PR activity that may be more worthwhile.

I’ve seen a few organizations run into trouble on the advice of the gurus because they never took into account the need for research, planning, and sometimes the simple development of complete and coherent sentences in their communications.

One former client of a guru said it to me this way, “They’d rather get the response out messy now rather than wait to do it right.”

That kind of sums it up. Too many social media gurus are more focused on exploiting social media technologies and the many possibilities that they don’t always think in the true best interests of their clients.

I had the opportunity to talk to a recent college graduate who is leaning toward developing her social media skills into a career path. She asked if I had any advice.

I told her our employers and clients don’t pay us to just to play with the latest techno toys. They want us to help them use these technologies to advance their business and organizational objectives. Sometimes that means taking the time to establish systems and review processes that ensure we are using social media effectively and responsibly for our organizations.

That may sound a bit cumbersome for those who like the instant gratification of pushing buttons and generating instant digital dialogue, but it helps to avoid a lot of problems in the long run.

No comments:

Post a Comment