This week I attend the Networking Phoenix signature event that happens quarterly. Well executed, and full of bodies (certainly well over the 800 that had RSVP’d online) I have to say a kudos to Gelie for her hard work and making her concept come to life over the last year. Of course, like any other Valley networking event I ran into more realtors and MLM people than others (I think they are drawn to my perfume,) but did meet up with some potential partners which made it worth the hour I invested. During my troll through the sea of people I had a very interesting encounter with an MLM seller.
Amanda Vega: Hi, great to meet you. What do you do?
Her: I am helping people find their path to millions. Here’s a brochure (shove at me.) Hope to see you there. What do you do?
AV: I run a international social media and PR firm.
Her: Oh! Social Media! I’m actually starting a social media company next week!
AV: Of COURSE you are. Everyone is these days..
Her: Well, there’s enough business for everyone. My friends lost their jobs and started a social media company and they are doing really well, so I figured it can’t be that hard, so I’m setting up Twitter and stuff this weekend and launching next week.
AV: Ugh. (And yes, an open look of disdain – I have no filter) Well, best of luck to you. Yes, there are enough clients for everyone. Actually, given the lack of understanding of the different levels of social engagement, you will likely have 10 clients by Friday if you price it at like $500 a month.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about entrepreneurship. And I do agree that there is plenty of work at all levels in the field. What bothers me is seeing the same blurring of lines and lack of understanding of how much actual knowledge and thought goes into running a legitimate business, and truly managing social media properly for clients. The same thing happened in the early days of web design after the world finally caught on that the internet was indeed valuable, and it also happened to the SEO experts out there in the past 7 years. Everyday we see ads and hear radio commercials about how “we can manage your social media for $200/month…” that make us all cringe. While these companies likely provide some value at the very initial stages of social media, they certainly don’t have the concept of the complexity of real social interaction that leads to real business results.
What many miss is the fact that thoughtful communication and interaction tied to a brand takes a TON of hours and planning and messaging. Those of us in the space that take social to the next level have intricate methodologies and workflow systems that require a ton of investment both monetarily and in human capital. It’s not as easy as setting up profiles and putting them on auto-pilot. True social interaction on a daily basis is intense and eats a ton of hours – thus driving costs to an appropriate (though still too low in my opinion when compared to traditional media) mark. Not to mention, running a company in and of itself in the true fashion requires time, money, and those blasted taxes.
So to all of my brethren social media competitors, friends, colleagues, and partners who like us are hammering away for clients in deep messaging, REAL way – shout out about your frustration of the “anyone can set up a social media company” and share your stories. I know you have them….