THE BLOG
10/28/2014 11:10 am ET Updated Dec 28, 2014

How Social Media Experts Are Killing You Softly

Marketing agencies and social media 'experts' have you tricked into thinking social media is rocket science. It isn't. Here is why you need to stop paying for social media experts:

1 - They have no clue about your business - Businesses hire marketing agencies, like us, to manage their social media accounts. We do because we're asked to, but it's not the best use of our or any agency's time and your money. Here's why. Agencies don't share the enthusiasm or care for your product or service that you do. How could they? Managing social media accounts requires passion for the product/service. It means rummaging the web's endless clutter for content to share for the greater good of your following and only true diehards will find the diamonds in the rough. Say you make water bottles. Use social media to promote why people should drink from any water bottle (not just yours), how plastic bottles harm the environment and other human interest stories that people who are crazy about water bottles may want to know about. Assuming your customers (current or future) are active on social media to begin with.

This isn't a knock on marketing agencies. They just didn't spend 10 years of their life trying to build a better water bottle the way you did. You sleep in PJs with water bottles on them and could talk about water bottles all day. They don't. Get them to make your Facebook page look great and give you some general ideas, but don't pay them or a 'social media manager' to post every day.

2 - Look at their own social media accounts - Marketing agencies and social media gurus often have lousy social media followings. Take a look at the amount of people that share, comment and like their posts or Tweets. Look at the frequency of their posts, creativeness and use of hashtags as well. Do you really want to pay someone that just gets one or two shares or retweets per post (usually an employee and Grandma Fran)? They can still be great marketing agencies and good at design, copywriting, building web pages and helping you generate business, but should you take guitar lessons from someone that can't play guitar?

3 - It's simple - Social media platforms are easy to use. Everyone from your kids to your parents can use Facebook or Twitter. How popular would Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn be if they weren't user-friendly? Do you really need to setup a contract with a third-party consultant to regularly Tweet for you? If you can send a text from your phone you can Tweet from it too.

4 - Do you need it? - Social media is a communication tool; just like a website, telephone, email account or foam hand at a sporting event. If social media is the method you use to service customers and get new business then great! Continue. If email is your thing for service and you get enough leads from cold-calling then why bother using social media at all if your customers aren't there?

Yes, I know cold-calling is blasphemy in the social media and digital marketing world. Everyone knows that nothing beats those warm and toasty Internet leads from people that read your LinkedIn and Facebook posts or signup for your webinar, but consider this. Every social media company has a sales team calling through a list. Check out the careers page at Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other ad-supported company. They are always looking for people to promote their offerings outside of social media. Inbound marketing tactics (people that come to you) are great, but someone still needs to call, send out coupon offers and get businesses started on using those social media platforms to advertise. Social media companies don't exclusively rely on social media to drive business. They use offline tactics too. Shouldn't you?

People managing your social media accounts really need to be industry diehards. Don't expect a marketer to share your love for ice cream. You're the one scooping the stuff all day long. Not them. To find out who should be managing your social media account look around, they are probably sitting next to you or staring right back at you in the mirror.

They're certainly not scientists at NASA.

About the Author:

Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.

He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.