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In social media strategy circles, we shun and shutter at the word guru when it follows the two words: social-media-guru1social media.

I’m one of the people who are paid to help businesses with forming their social media strategy. You can call me a social media strategy manager, an internet marketing specialist or an online communications director. But don’t call me a guru just because I may know how to do something that seems daunting or un-comprehensible to you. Anyone can do what I can do.  You just have to take one step at a time. Come on, I’ll walk with you…

Social Media Strategy (in addition to doing hair and writing books) came about not because I was formally trained. My “expert” status was earned because I set out to learn how to better market my eBooks online. Then I applied the same online tools and know-how to help my personal salon business as well as the salon where I worked.  I also had the good fortune to become friends with some very good in-the-know social media strategy people.  Some of my friends are Steve Green of Netup Now, Jeff Willinger of Social Media Club Chicago, Ramon DeLeon of Domino’s Pizza fame, and Liz Strauss of SOBCON.  By doing their hair, hanging out, and watching how they operated online, and reading their blogs was invaluable. But the casual personal conversations were where I ascertained that we are all still learning in a field that is constantly changing.  (Like many artist/hairdressers, I learn more from people than I can from books.) None of us really knows everything in the ever-changing social media world for that very reason. I think that is why this group, with our extended connections, is very good at what we do. We teach and use what we know. And we get excited when we have to reach out to others for help with what we don’t know. We like each other. We like learning. This puts the social in social-media! And this dynamic makes it great for our clients because we can deliver what say we can deliver as far as social media strategy and business assistance.

So there are no Gurus. But there are people who try and intimidate others to think they are so they get paid more, or paid for a job not well done.

social_media_strategy_guruUnfortunately, many businesses are getting taken advantage of by PR and marketing firms who claim to be social media gurus. Because their clients don’t know what social media is or how it works, the “Gurus” and “Social Media Strategy Firms” do all the work online and remotely. And the businesses that pay them wait for a rush of customers to knock on their business’ doors. The business may never see an increase in business. And many PR firms don’t give a clear and quantifiable dollar or client-increase amount for what they do. I ask you, how can a small business have a social media strategy when they don’t know what social media is?

I recommend that you take time to ask the following 6 questions of yourself and your business before you talk to a social media manager about outsourcing your social media. Know clearly the answers to the following questions before you begin any social media strategy for your business. If you don’t, you won’t be able to know if your social media strategy worked or didn’t work. And you might get taken advantage of.

1)      How much time are you and your staff willing to spend per week on social media?

2)      What business are you in and what is special about your business?

3)      What do you want people to know about your business and is this information on a company website?

4)      Where are your prospective clients hanging out? Starbucks? Facebook? Twitter? Do they read emails? Can you get their email addresses?

5)      Do you prospective clients read reviews about businesses like yours? Can you get your business reviewed?

6)      What do you expect from social media?

By answering these questions you can go to any social media manager and tell them who and what your business is and why your business is unique. The PR firm needs this information to constantly put on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram etc. But you and your staff will have to be the suppliers of this content. And it has to keep coming to make a good social media strategy successful: not per month, but per week. Even though you may be paying a PR firm to do your Social Media postings, you will have to tell them when you have a new product to Tweet about, a new staff member to talk about on Facebook, and you’ll have to take the pictures to upload to Pinterest.

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