Famed journalist turned Internet entrepreneur Peter Shankman wrote a scathing criticism of social media experts and recommended that no one hire one of these dastardly little creatures. Then, SEO icon Rand Fishkin lambasted him for it.
Now, I love a good fight as well as anyone. I have respect for both of these men. I disagree with Peter Shankman. I completely agree with Rand Fishkin. But the journalist did make a few good points (but you have to get past the attitude, dude).
Here are some of the good points that I think Peter Shankman makes regarding so-called “social media experts”:
- Social media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. True, but many companies hire dedicated marketing experts and customer service experts. They couldn’t run their businesses without them. Perhaps a social media expert on staff isn’t such a bad idea after all.
- You shouldn’t hire a social media expert just because it’s cool. No, it should be because it delivers a benefit to your company and to your customers.
- Just having a social media expert on your team doesn’t make your company any better at customer service or at delivering its core business benefit.
- Social media is about transparency, not gimmicks. True. Be yourself.
- Social media marketing is about relevance. Also true. Don’t just do it because it feels cool. You still have to reach your target market where they are and deliver the message that will persuade them to do business with your company.
- Proofread your content before you publish it. That tirade on brevity aside, Peter Shankman makes a good case for proofreading. Unfortunately, that’s something that many professional content writer or social media marketers can do more effectively than CEOs.
- Know your customer. No kind of marketing is going to be effective unless you know your customer – even social media marketing.
I understand where Peter Shankman is coming from. There are many so-called social media experts whom you shouldn’t hire. But there are many others who could give your business a boost. You’re busy running your business. You might not have time to plan, execute, and manage your own social media campaigns. That’s why you’d hire someone who does, and who can manage them.
There is a lot about Peter Shankman’s outburst that was uncalled for. Rand Fishkin was right about that. But the great Peter does make some good points. Unfortunately, they prove that a social media expert might be your best asset, which is just the opposite of the point he was trying to make.