5 reasons not to hire a social media consultant

stop-it-signI have been consulting for 5 years and frankly I’m sick and tired of cleaning up the mess left by social media consultants.  The last company I worked for hired a big name consultant who wrote a book and charged them a small fortune.  What he left in his wake was an organization that was more confused and wasted a lot of money.  This is the 3rd time I have experienced this and it’s time to stop the insanity.Rob Tarkoff said “barriers to entry are very low in public social networks. Time and again, we see brands put up a Facebook Page, a LinkedIn page, start Tweeting, and then wonder where the value is. With little control over the way our customers experience our brand on sites like Facebook, differentiating ourselves becomes problematic. That’s the problem with social media that we don’t own – its value is constantly at risk.”  I could not agree more.


Here are 5 reasons not to hire a social media consultant:


1ne: Unless they are willing to put in the time with you and your business, there is no way they can truly understand your customer, product and the value you are selling.

2wo: The value of social media, as compared to other marketing programs, is being challenged by a wide variety of marketers.  For example a report from Forrester said

““Twitter’s success as a Marketing channel is not yet guaranteed,“Twitter’s devoted user base and broad mainstream awareness have given it the opportunity to court marketers. But the company’s viability as a marketing channel has yet to be proven.”


Forrester also said “Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. While the hype around social networks as a driver of influence in eCommerce continues to capture the attention of online executives, the truth is that social continues to struggle and registers as a barely negligible source of sales for either new or repeat buyers. In fact, fewer than 1% of transactions for both new and repeat shoppers could be traced back to trackable social links.”

In addition “Facebook marketing has improved, according to Jeff Selig, CMO of social media marketing firm BostonMediaDomain, but the like button in particular is almost useless. Marketing on Facebook is now about curating a following as opposed to just building numbers.”

3hree: Social media is dictated entirely by consumers, not brands. Trends, discussions, and points of interest are going to be generated by news, current events and pop culture, not brand business goals.

Brands will always have a hard time starting a conversation, especially about their products, because people would rather talk about who Kim Kardashian is marrying or which athletes are taking steroids.

4our:  Fast Company reported that. “1 out of 50 post views gets a negative response and Facebook fans are most likely to block ALL your page stories when they take a negative feedback action, 60 times more likely than unfanning your page.


5ive : Social media is not delivering the desired result for the majority of enterprises worldwide.

Very few (10 percent) enterprises have actually benefited from investments in social media.  Consumers do use social media to interact with companies but findings  indicate that only 27 percent of research and development/product development and 37 percent of product management departments read social media comments from consumers on a regular basis.

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According to Milo Yiannopoulos Social media gurus are a rag-tag crew of blood-sucking hucksters who are infesting companies of all sizes, on both sides of the Atlantic, blagging their way into consultancy roles and siphoning off valuable recession-era marketing spend to feed their comic book addictions. They claim to be able to improve your relationships with your customers by “executing 360 degree reignition programs”. But who are these people? Where did they come from? And how on earth have they managed to hoodwink so many big companies so quickly and so comprehensively?


He goes on to say “Why am I banging on about this? Because the poisonous cult of the social media guru – or, get this, “swami” – is disastrous for pretty much every kind of business: it’s wasteful for large companies and potentially fatal for start-ups. Social media consulting amounts to little more than mastering the art of the bleeding obvious and no company, no matter what its size, should even consider hiring external social media consultants. Internally, the most you need is a couple of interns with laptops.”

If you need a social media help hire a marketing consultant not someone whose biggest accomplishment is grabbing the spotlight by writing a book and being quoted in the trade press.  To be honest, I am too busy listening and helping clients increase business to write books that are irrelevant.

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About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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4 Comments on “5 reasons not to hire a social media consultant”

  1. Just wanted to say totally agree with you. We have inherited small companies as customers who have paid good money for common sense and to actually go backwards in terms of marketing as their social media marketing has not taken into account brand position or customer perception.

  2. “Who are these people and where do they come from?”

    I’m an early pioneer in subscription-based, non-commercial online community. You know…where people communicate and build relationships outside of any marketplace.

    I come from the times when there was no advertising or sales angle interrupting open conversation in a preserved online space.

    Great quotes, Rich. Strong words and opinions, but even though I’ve supported myself as a social media manager/adviser for 28 years, I agree that the whole idea is way oversold as a marketing tool and, yes, as a customer relations practice.

    The social media-using public calls the shots now and companies using social media must adapt because leading such conversations invites accusations of commercial exploitation. I wish it were true that companies received useful feedback and product ideas from customers, but I’ve seen very little evidence of that happening in the real world.

    As to numbers, what do they really mean? If I could choose between having 10 people carrying on intelligent conversation that was relevant to the health of my business and 1000 people lurking, or not even visiting my site and demonstrating little interest about what my company is doing, I’d choose the 10. And I’d probably get fired.

  3. I really like your site. I am planning on writing a social media article in the next week. Please check out my blog. I have been in school for web design and have a marketing degree from Colorado University. Please follow me and I have done the same! Cheers~!

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