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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

Are You Listening to the Right People?

Mary Schmidt

Mar 20, 2012

Social media marketing madness

From {Grow} Straight Talk on Social Media Gurus

How to Pick the Right Role Models:

I put my role models into two buckets: 1) Foxhole Cohorts and 2) Ivory Tower Generals.

The Foxhole Cohorts are wrestling with the exact same challenges that I face everyday.  They are building an audience, growing their lists, and hustling like hell to get new customers, leads, and readers.  Foxhole Cohorts are vigilant and are quick to warn me of danger.

Ivory Tower Generals won their stripes by successfully fighting yesterday’s wars. They are wise and offer amazing perspective.  However these folks haven’t been in a back-alley knife fight in quite some time…

(Read the whole post - great perspective re experts, groupies and good/bad advice.)  The columnist, Stanford Smith, begins with “I love experts.” 

I don’t. Here’s why.
social media google search results

Most real experts don’t spend much (if any) time telling you (over and over) they’re experts (or gurus.)  We’ve got so many self-anointed instant experts in social media, it can get awfully confusing if you’re just starting out.

Sad to say, lots of folks present like they’re in the Ivory Tower…when in reality about all they’ve got is some biz cards, a Google+ account and chutzpah.

Two points I’d add to Mr. Smith’s wisdom:

1. If the expert spends more time telling you how abfab they are…name dropping until there’s a virtual pile on the conference table (Guy! Michael! Seth!)...than they do listening to you…smile politely and go elsewhere. 

2. If the entire focus of the expert’s website (and tweeting and Facebook page) is to get you to BUY SOMETHING! But, WAIT THERE"S MORE! TODAY! ONLY!   - move right along. There’s a lot of truly free wisdom on the web. Really. Check out MarketingProfs for one. Read Seth! (Godin’s) blog and e-books. Join some groups in your industry on LinkedIn. (Yes, you’ve got to spend some time sorting through it all, but effective social media is neither quick or easy.)

Social media is very much something you learn by doing.  By all means, read, research, listen, question and participate. However, it’s you (and your biz) in the trenches every day. And things look very different from the fox hole than they do from the tower.  If a tank is rolling at you, you don’t have much time for thinking about high-flyin’ strategy. 

(With a HT to my colleague Al Hahn for his timeless battlefield analogy about trenches, tanks and strategy.)

Want to talk to some of the right people about your social media?  Join me and my colleague Al Hahn in Chicago June 12-13.  We’ll be cutting through the social media hype, talking reality and results. You can sign up right here

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.  - Niels Bohr

Related posts from the archives:
The Three “Rs” of Social Media
Why I Have Trouble With “Expert.”
The SEO Expert Ruined My Site!
Dead Sea Marketing
Pinterest: The Next Wave (Run!)

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes


What a great post!!

In my experience, the smartest people turn out to be the most humble. They have open minds and are very aware of how little they know. Their fascination with ideas seems to be insatiable and their desire to keep learning is endless.

My rule of thumb: Anyone who self promotes as an “expert” in anything probably isn’t.

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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