Social Media Enthusiast or Expert/Guru/Genius?

I’ve been reading GaryVaynerchuk’s book titled “The Thank You Economy.”  I’m also reading his other book “Why Now Is The Time To Crush It.” Both books are very well written by someone who has mastered social media. If you don’t know of his social media pedigree, go to You Tube and listen to some of his talks at conferences or take the plunge and purchase his books through

Essentially social media has been around for about 14-15 years with the advent of the first recognizable social network site launched in 1997. allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998, surf the Friends lists.

Since that small inauspicious beginning there have been literally hundreds of (SNS) or Social Networking Sites with members, friends, connections counting in the millions.

So where am I going with this? Okay, since you asked I’ll tell you. There are thousands of people in the United States that refer to themselves as Social Media Experts, Social Media Gurus etc. Some of the more humble call themselves Strategists and bill out to other companies to tell said companies how to build a social media strategy that will guarantee an almost immediate ROI.

Granted most companies have a FaceBook, Twitter & LinkedIn profile but have no clue as to what to do with that profile to make it work for them. I know this to be true because I’ve been given the privilege to talk to Sage partners and I would estimate that 80% of those that have a profile don’t know how to utilize it. How did I come up with that percentage? I always ask at the beginning of each session and the number has remained pretty consistent.

So what do they do? They find someone who will work inexpensively and promises to increase their Social Media profile if they will just do the following…blah…blah…blah…etc…etc…etc…

But the partners trust them because their business cards says they’re a Social Media expert and they wouldn’t stretch the truth on their business card, would they?

I just corresponded with a business partner whom sat in on my session at Sage Summit 2011 and afterwards he wanted to talk about increasing his profile and tailoring it for his needs. Guess who is helping him? His girl friend because she’s his girlfriend. Good luck with that.

In a business arena that is as young as Social Media is there are very few experts. There are, however, people who have learned how to monetize Social Media and I guess that makes them experts in making money. There are also those who have studied it enough to be able share their knowledge with others.

I don’t have anything bad to say about someone who is lucky enough to work for a corporation that believes that Social Media is our future, because that’s what I would like to do. No, my problem is the Experts and Gurus out there who are giving the rest of us that really care about our customers a black eye by taking the money and running.

To borrow from Gary’s book “The Thank You Economy” Blockbuster didn’t think that the Internet was going to be around very long and basically they handed the business to NetFlix. Can anyone tell me who is no longer in business as the direct result of not recognizing the power of the internet? The same goes for Borders, they handed a goldmine to Amazon, as the Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos says, “If I had a nickel for every investor that said that this (Amazon) wasn’t going to work”……. 

I recently changed my e-mail signature to read LinkedIn Enthusiast because I am very enthusiastic about all things LinkedIn & Social Media as a whole.

Be leery of those that call themselves experts, ask to see their certification, ask them for business referrals, ask them if they wouldn’t mind you calling some of their customers (that you get to pick)

Embrace the Internet and Social Media, they’re here to stay and if you’re not spending time there you’re missing out because I’ll bet your customers are spending time there.

Transition Versus Change

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about change lately and the reasons for each individual event have one basic conclusion, but we’ll get to that later.

What’s your initial response when the company you’ve worked for a period of time experiences significant change in the overall ownership structure? My first reaction is one of fear and that fear is usually based around one re-occuring. “What Am I Going To Lose?” With that one simple question my mind can run off in all sorts of directions that aren’t healthy for me or anyone around me because that’s when the negativity & fear of the unknown start to cultivate & grow in my mind. 95% of the time when I have speculated about what change is going to bring is so off the mark that I feel like a moron.

This is also the time that I start to speculate about those changes. The best definition of speculation is “a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence.” The key phrase is incomplete evidence. Apparently it was pretty evident to others that I wasn’t dealing well with the changes that were going on around me so they gave me a book to read titled Managing Transitions by William Bridges. In it he says the following;

 “Change,” which he describes as external and public, and “transition,” which is internal, private, and psychological.  He claims that change is relatively easy but transitions are more difficult and emotionally demanding.  He states “Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation….and, it is these interior processes of learning and adaptation—not the external facts of change—that are underestimated and can be treacherous to one’s health and happiness.”

“ In our highly mobile society, where change and ambition are considered coin of the realm, people fail to recognize that any transition process—in life, in love, in work—not only requires adapting to a new situation, but it means letting go of old habits.”

Prior to reading this book I didn’t realize that there were two parts to change. I just thought that I thick headed and stubborn. Well, maybe there’s still some of that, but……

You might ask why I’m writing about this at this juncture. Since you asked I’ll tell you. Sage is going through some major changes in terms of re-branding its entire product line. There’s been a lot of discussion amongst the Sage partners about how it’s going to affect their bottom line.

What’s interesting to me is that I haven’t lost a minute of sleep because I understand the need for a change so I’ve passed through the Transition phase with flying colors and am anxious to see how this all works out.

I’m in the Change phase which allows me to move forward and I hope that all the partners who are still in the Transition phase get to enjoy the Change phase.