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Why You Shouldn’t Necessarily Believe Everything You Are Told by Your Trusted Adviser

By Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia

I don’t mean to start the new year with a rant. Really, I don’t but looking over social media and seeing what people claim just makes my blood boil.

As you know, we operate in the social media management consultancy space. Without wishing to sound arrogant, we are very good at what we do. You can see that we are good at it because we, as a company, publish loads of great content.

In fact, we publish a piece of content at least once nearly every single day (and we tweet and share loads). We interact loads and we have loads of followers too. As individuals I am recognised as the world’s #5 social selling influencer and in the top 50 for other things too (such as content marketing, writing, digital transformation).

Tim, my Co-Founder is the world’s #1 social selling influencer and in the top 10 for a dozen other things. So I feel that when we give advice we are in a good place to be able to do so, we take our own medicine (or drink our own champagne…whatever your preferred metaphor might be).

What works. What doesn’t

We absolutely know from practical experience (on ourselves, our company and our clients) what works, what is feasible and what is not.

Over the last 12 months we have seen the rise of the global management consultancy social selling (or digital selling) programme and the general message from these large players that “social media is crucial” to their clients. Well guys…welcome to the party (if a little bit late) but should you really be giving advice when you have only just discovered this? More importantly should you really be giving advice when you’re not doing ANY OF IT yourselves as individuals or as organisations?

For example, one large consultancy now handing out advice about social media with revenues of over $30bn per year actually has fewer Twitter followers than it has employees. Another, one of the “premium” consultancies, has a head of social media who doesn’t tweet every day. Another has a “digital selling” programme led by someone who hasn’t even completed their LinkedIn profile…the list goes on.

So, why am I saying this? Well, deploying social media at an organisational, a departmental or an individual level requires significant changes. Not changes in structure, measurement and processes (although those things will need to change) but significant changes in behaviour.

Advice? Ask the experts

I would ask, how can you possibly advise people about what they should be doing if you don’t (or perhaps can’t) do it yourself. The best football coaches are ex-players, the best doctors have hands-on experience, the best addiction councillors are ex-addicts.

The best people to give advice, to coach, to help are people who do it or have done it. And, to be frank I am angered and worried that advice which is pivotal to the future of their client’s businesses is handed-out by “consultants” whose only experience of social media is what they have read in a book (possibly Tim’s or my book) or have “hypothesised” based on “what should happen”. But as we all know, what should happen and what happens are rarely the same thing.

So, I am not saying that Digital Leadership Associates is THE ONLY consultancy capable of delivering social media transformation for a client, but what I am saying is that you MUST do your due diligence before engaging an organisation that’s only experience of using social media is either what they’ve read or what their children have told them!

Oh…and a happy new year!


Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things:
Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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