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R.I.P. Social Media ConsultantPosted by Jami Brucher
I wrote a post earlier this year about why companies shouldn’t outsource their social media and why I didn’t want to “do” social media on their behalf. If you remember that post, you’re probably already taken aback by the title of this blog post, but over the last several months, the landscape for how businesses use social media has drastically changed.
Companies Need Help – NOW!
The business world has always had PR agencies, ad agencies, SEO firms, and various digital and marketing agencies. Companies entrust their business with these entities because they are experts at what they do, and even if companies maintain full control of the brand and strategy, there are economic circumstances (budget, time-to-market advantages, et. al.) that make it more attractive to outsource implementation and consult on strategy with outside experts rather than hiring and/or developing programs internally.
As a social media consultant there is also another fact to face about the market: Big businesses want to work with big agencies. If you’re a single person, you can’t scale, and your potential clients know it. You don’t have the credibility that agencies do when you go to their website and you see the profiles of multiple individuals. You will be marginalized into dealing with businesses who might not pay you the top dollar you are worth. You can see how joining a social media agency is a natural evolution for someone like myself who has literally priced himself out of the small business social media marketing market. I dream big – now I want to work with bigger and bigger clients to have a bigger impact and provide a bigger result.
Businesses are spending a lot of money with other firms on social implementation, but the market is telling me that they are not always satisfied with the results. In a perfect world every company would be in full control of their brand by only internally implementing social media. The reality, though, is if companies are going to outsource part of all of this function, I want to do my best to make sure that companies truly maximize their social presence as part of my own pursuit for excellence in social media. I’m not in this game for the money (well, keeping afloat would be nice ;-) : I want to help companies implement social media in a strategic way that helps them please all of their stakeholders: Investors, Executives, Employees, Customers, Potential Clients, and the Public at Large. I see myself as the drummer in this big rock band called “social media,” and it is in performing live in concert and seeing the happy faces in the audience where I get my thrills that keep me motivated and passionate about the art. I’m qualified to say this because I used to drum for a rock band in Japan ;-)
If a social media agency could be all of the following, I believe that the business model is a win-win for all:
- Staffed with experienced social media professionals who also have sufficient business acumen
- Working in partnerships with companies in full transparency
- Have the flexible capability and earnestness to learn as much about their client’s brand and culture as possible
- Idealists who are driven for the pursuit of excellence in social media
If you were a social media consultant like myself, wouldn’t it be attractive to join a social media agency that embodies all of the above?
With the above taken into account, it’s time for me to move with the market.
I have been consulting with businesses concentrating on social media strategy as Windmills Marketing since January of 2010. Those customers and that experience has made me who I am today. Starting immediately, though, I am rolling up my social media consulting business and joining forces with other social media experts in launching a new social media agency called 5150, where I will be the Senior Vice President and in charge of Social Media Strategy. It probably sounds crazy to you (pun intended), but working as part of a team with a plethora of creative resources (= my colleagues) and an infrastructure that can scale is exactly who businesses need to partner with for a long-term relationship as social media becomes part of their marketing DNA over time.
To my blog readers and past customers, do not worry: I will still be here blogging, writing books, and available for speaking engagements under my Windmill Networking brand. For small businesses and executives, I will still be around as a social media coach. Heck, I want to help as many small businesses, business owners, as well as sales and marketing professionals as possible, which is why I plan to soon release new content to help you generate business from LinkedIn under the LinkedProfits brand (coming soon!). But for social media strategy and other consulting opportunities, I will be working together with my friends at 5150 to provide strategic social solutions that we can help completely implement or be of partial help at any and every stage of a marketing cycle.
Let me know if you’d like to hear more about Social 5150. Like our Facebook Page to get our creative updates. But let’s continue the conversation, beginning with your comments, on how the social industry, and your role in it, continues to evolve.
What’s your take?
Neal Schaffer is an internationally recognized social networking guru helping companies and individuals embrace social media or personal and business applications. His experience in creating the Windmill Networking blog - a social networking world that has become so vast in one year that it constitutes one of the widest read LinkedIn blogs world wide - resulted in his book "Understanding, Leveraging, & Maximizing LinkedIn".
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