No, you are NOT that important, social media guru

I just got out of a meeting… I’m amazed, but at the same time not surprised, how little many companies and individuals working with technical and social media based marketing solutions and vehicles actually know about the context they operate in. All these visits to agencies, presenting their wonderful solutions that are perfect fits for the highly “engaged consumers” who just want to share, talk, like and follow. Their gadgets, apps and dashboards are not only THE thing to have, generally speaking, it’s actually perfect for helping [enter brand you happen to work with here] reach better loyalty, create and share wonderful stories and drive incremental sales in the millions. 1; As if you know. And 2; who do you take me for?

My advice is to take a month or two to get to know the reality of the other side of the table (you really ought to be interested in it given you’re aiming for it). Get to know what they know, and what it is they are actually providing their clients. One simple way to do this would be to, early on, meet with a few of them and be quite frank. Say you’re working on a thing that is meant to help them. You don’t yet know exactly how much or even how. Interview them. Find out as much as you can about their work, their problems, their clients’ actual problems, their skills. Read some books they say are important in their field. Ask them to explain TO YOU where your idea or solution fits in their work.

Acting like you’re the solution to everything is a disease. It’s bad manners and downright idiotic. That’s why all social media gurus and entrepreneurs working away at solutions for brands and marketing should read Martin Weigel’s presentation. And don’t just read that. Read some of the sources. If not, can you honestly say that you are interested in providing real value instead of a lot of hot air? Can you handle this truth? Does it deter you or inspire you to work up something that’s really in tune with this? Or at least; can you stop talking about yourself as the solution to everything in marketing today, please?