Sounds quite snarky, doesn’t it? It kind of makes you want to punch the “guru” right in the face, right? After all, how can anyone be so naive as to assume that they know every situation in which it would be “wrong” to do it this way or that? Only a complete simpleton would be so naive, right? In truth, perhaps the phrase “You’re doing it wrong” applies mainly to the social media “gurus” who like to make this into a general catch-phrase, even while countless people are making fun of how vapid and lazy it makes the consultant actually sound. Where is there room for one-on-one analysis in such posted statements?
“That’s not the way I would do it.”
This is what I prefer to say to people directly (either people who asked, or speaking to cases in particular) who are flubbing up on something that’s good to do in social media in their own unique circumstances, but that this person is doing, perhaps, unskillfully. That way, for one thing, no one can make a mindless all-purpose slogan to plaster all over the place that quickly becomes an obvious cliche.
An example of someone doing it unskillfully? Oh, maybe like the people who like to create little content scraping sites that use my book (or any other) and the existing reviews posted on Amazon to just rip off someone else’s content and “make affiliate cash”–in order to sell my books (again, or any other) as an affiliate. Problem is, they’re not going to sell ANY book like that because the page won’t get any page rank or rankings or social traffic. Simple scraping of big sites like Amazon.com is about as useful as throwing pennies into a wishing well and hoping for a cool grand to jump out at you. There’s no original text / content there for search engines to rank, or for people to pass on. Now, there might be cases in which this is what someone meant to do. But in most cases, it’s just a product of ignorance about how to achieve a particular goal (i.e., affiliate revenue).
Why am I tinkering with a staple of know-it-all social media gurus everywhere? Well, besides the fact that it’s already a trend to make fun of it–which I’ve been doing for about a year now)–because nobody can actually do it wrong in the sense that there are lots of ways to successfully do all kinds of interesting or profitable or worthy things with the tools of social media. Social media is just too young to dictate the rules on. It just is. There’s too much left to explore, test, try.
So, then: Dear social media “experts”, stop saying that people “are doing it wrong” if they do it like X or Y or Z. People cannot possibly be as stupid as you paint them, and even if they were, why would someone pay the jerk to teach them? They’re not doing it wrong just because they’re emphasizing strengths that you don’t have and thus wouldn’t dare to? And they’re not doing it wrong because they do it with a different style to a different purpose? And another thing, using your profile to primarily run your new posts up the flagpole is perfectly fine for any article-posting site’s profile. We all know that the site profile is going to have less personality than, say, that of its founder or of an author who posts on the site. Duh! But guess what? Even on a Twitter profile where the site mainly just posts article posts, conversation does occur.
Okay, I’m having a bit of fun here imitating the snarky guru, but only to prove a point. Not everyone has to be a jerk to use social media, or even to teach others about it. There is nothing much helpful about inhibiting the very people you’re supposed to be “helping” by telling them they’re “doing it wrong”. I’ve got news for you social media gurus out there. Everyone who does something new is “doing it wrong”. So, in order to emphasize this, I’m going to start saying that people are “doing it unusually” or maybe even “that’s a new way to do X/Y/Z”. It may not be as catchy, but at least then I know that the reason I’m saying it is only because I think I know HOW they’re trying to do it in the first place, and not assuming and condemning in one stroke–something which the social media jerks generally do not bother to consider before shooting in the wind at possible “wrong people” out there, somewhere, you know…”doing it wrong”.
Mark Brimm is Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Marcana.com and is author of AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords and other previous related books on search marketing. He is currently working on a forthcoming book on social media strategy.
Mark consults on SEO & SEM, general web marketing and social media strategy at Interface Communications Group where he is Partner and Director of Digital Marketing. Some of his specialties include SEO (search engine optimization), social media optimization (SMO), as well as PR campaign concepts, marketing plans and general web marketing related project management. Mark is married and currently resides in Houston, TX.