How Does a Small Business Know What to Believe About Social Media

Would you ask a Maple Donut for Social Media Advice?

Would you ask a Maple Doughnut for Social Media Advice?

If you look through my blog I certainly am not afraid to call people or agencies in the social media realm out for lying, fibbing, etc to make money. It is buyer beware. There is a HUGE Gaping Void (hey Hugh can I say that?) in thought leadership for Social media. The problem is none of the Thought Leaders has ever built and managed a social community for a Brand. Personal branding? Yes. Non-Human Business brand? No. Yet they tell you how you should do it. They rarely have proof of success. They write books. They give key notes. They have huge followings on Twitter and Facebook. They always know the hot knew thing coming out because people suck up to them wanting them to hopefully influence their followings.

And of course if you are a small business and do some online research you will find their names pop up. Or you can see them in the high ranks of Ad Age’s Power 150 marketing blogs. The fact is most of these blogs and people behind them are great at content marketing for personal brand bloggers. Some select agencies all in on Social Media have to hype what they pigeonholed themselves into. That is it. Some like Brian Solis write crazy complicated blog pieces and white papers with nice charts but really never prove any premise works. Or the Edelmen crew who are less technical but usually pushing an Agency agenda vs a Client agenda. And some that start getting called for proof they slide into a less technical ‘Thought leader role’ like Chris Brogan who seems now to be a motivational blogger.

Ad Age Power 150 Preview

Ad Age Power 150 Preview

And none of them are actually building and managing brand communities today. These are so different than personal communities. Even if they have clients that do it. So why would you go to these people for any type of real help when it comes to Social Media for Brands?

There are two words for these people. Personal/Brand Content Marketing Experts. And Pundits. Because they are giving opinions more than facts. Think of all the people giving opinions on the news about the John Kerry deal with Iran. College Professors. Opinion News Talking Heads (Hannity, Maddow, etc), Think Tankers and ex-Advisers to past Presidents. That is who these people are. When was the last time they were face to face with a country trying to build a bomb and representing the United States in a negotiating room?

Find the people doing the work. Seek out those who know the truth.

The ones who when they read about something in the marketing and social media world they look for proof in real life, or from current work experience. If any of these folks has actually done the work on the Brand side themselves please speak up, I will publicly issue a correction to you  and apologize.

My friend Gini Dietrich is not a Pundit. She never makes grandiose proclamations. She talks about what she sees. Her expertise is public relations, entrepreneurship, web marketing/blogging, public speaking, community management and social communications…did I miss anything? (geez she knows a lot of stuff!). Her bog Spin Sucks has plenty of step by step technical how to’s. But you will never hear her tell you what to do on Social Media outside of her communications expertise. and trust me Brands have enough troubles in her areas of expertise to give her plenty of teaching moments. She might tell you how to optimize content for Google Search, but she will never say ‘Now sit back and wait for millions to roll in’. She will never say ‘People can’t wait to talk to brands all day long’ and then publish a complicated post that doesn’t prove this but claims it is true.  All of her PR case studies on her blog discuss possible options and best practices. And that is what a true thought leader should be doing.

My recommended reading list to your lower right? These are Thought Leaders and Doers. Not pundits.

Pour through this blog. I too observe and use math to see what is working and what isn’t. But I also have built and managed by myself social communities for small and medium sized businesses. I know the differences between Facebook and Twitter which are two completely different platforms in some very key areas for marketers. As you can tell with my blog and website I know tech and can use it more often than not, but digital technology is not my expertise. Which is fine because I know people who are experts. My expertise is strategy, execution, and valuation. I am just like you, the business owner who knows what PageRank and HTML is, but not how to use them. You will never find advice on those here.

But I am doing what you are doing. For myself and for clients. I have experience with Tumblr, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for good and bad. I have studied other users and brands to know what works, what doesn’t work and why. In Marketing in general and Social Media in particular what works is often unrepeatable. It is reality.

I do have solutions. But not the ones my peers want to hear or have me say.  You can’t force marketing, clicks, or conversations on people. You can pay to play. Or you can just play. You need real expectations vs grandiose promises. You need to know how much you are investing and getting in return. There are plenty of subjective values that many people have strong opinions on that are unique to each person and Brand. I can help you determine these values so that you can increase the accuracy of your return on investment measuring.

What did you try that didn’t work as you expected or were told it would? I bet the real answer is not that you did anything wrong…but that the source of your advice was wrong and thus your expectations were not what they should of been.  But that is OK. I am here to help fix that.

So tell me your experience.

About Howie Goldfarb

Howie Goldfarb

Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic Marketing, Howie Goldfarb relishes his role as an industry outsider. With 20 years of Sales, Marketing, and Business Operations experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive.

His Degree in Finance givess him a CFO’s view to marketing, bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. After a 14-year career in direct B2B industrial sales Howie decided to lighten up his dreary work life and move into consumer advertising and marketing. Now he champions up and coming Consumer Brands.

Formerly an Angelino and New Yorker, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are his family, community, art, music, and the outdoors, He tries to cook, has been known to hunt Fiddleheads and loves the Vermont Fresh Network and other sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.