A few years ago I took my Acura to a Honda dealer to have them change the oil and rotate the tires. About an hour later, the service manager comes out with a clipboard and I ask him “How’s everything look?”
“Ho boy!”, he exclaims. “You’re going to end up on the side of the road soon if we don’t repair all this as soon as possible!”
Now I’m not a mechanic, but I do know a (very) little about working on cars. With a skeptical eye, I took a look at his laundry list of items that all needed to be fixed immediately, or according to him I was “going to end up on the side of the road soon”.
I looked at his list, and immediately notice several items that either didn’t need to be fixed or were actually due to be replaced according to the mileage of the car and a ‘suggested maintenance schedule’. “Ok”, I explained, “I just replaced the distributor cap and the wires, and the plugs were changed 3,000 miles ago so they are fine as well. So out of what’s left, what needs to be fixed today?”
With a bit of a frown he looked at the list and sighed “Well…I guess the only thing that you need to worry about right now is the rear motor mount, it’s in pretty bad shape. But everything else can wait at least another 6 months.”
So in 2 mins I had gone from a dozen or so items that all needed to be fixed that day if I wanted to make it home, to there actually only being one item that needed immediate repair.
I was recalling this conversation when I recently sat down with Kerry Gorgone to record Marketing Profs’ year-end episode. One of the recurring themes that Kerry’s guests mentioned was that they wanted to see less criticism of brands, especially when it comes to digital marketing. And for brands, don’t take that criticism to heart, and consider the source.
When I say ‘consider the source’, keep in mind that a lot of the criticism that’s being leveled at brands using social is coming from consultants and agencies that have a vested interest in selling these brands social media consulting services. It can sometimes be a case of “You suck! But that’s ok, because for a low monthly retainer, I can teach you how NOT to suck!”
Not all consultants and agencies that provide digital marketing advisement to companies are like this, in fact most reputable ones are not. But it’s truth that many of the people that are criticizing your brand have a vested interest in doing so. Either they are hoping to sell you consulting services, or maybe they are piling on with the latest brand mishap in a race to get out a new post every day.
Use Social Media Experts and Thought Leaders For Advice, Not Instruction
One of the key pieces of advice you will hear as a blogging company is that you need to blog regularly. That a regular stream of good content that benefits your audience is imperative.
Recently, I was talking to a fellow consultant. He was telling me about how well his year was going, and I lamented the fact that I needed to find time to start blogging regularly again. He said “Mack I haven’t written a blog post in 6 months. I just don’t have time.” Here’s a consultant that’s having an excellent year, yet he is so busy with work that he goes months sometimes without blogging. But obviously it’s not hurting his business!
The point is that just because everyone says you should do something, doesn’t mean you should. The best way to leverage the advice of experts is to listen to multiple ones, and look for trends. And then approach their advice as being a suggestion for you, not an order. Your business is unique, I can tell you what will work for a business like yours in general, but until I sit down with you and we discuss the unique goals and challenges associated with your business, I cannot give you customized advice on how to improve your efforts.
Listen to the experts, but don’t discount your own intuition and knowledge.