On the eve of the Rapture, Peter Shankman issued this decree from his blog:
“I Will Never Hire a ‘Social Media Expert,’ and Neither Should You
The statement echoed one from author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, who, in an interview with TechCrunchTV
last week, said, “99.5 percent of the people that walk around and say they are a social media expert or guru are clowns” and “have no business sense.”
For his part, Shankman, a PR pro and founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), said:
“No business in the world should want a ‘Social Media Expert’ on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rock-star, or savant, either. If you have a ‘Social Media Expert’ on your payroll, you’re wasting your money.
“Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.”
Social media, he added, is just another facet of marketing and customer service.
The majority of readers agreed with Shankman’s sentiment, many of them proclaiming, “Amen.”
Shankman’s declaration inspired several follow-up posts on other blogs, including one at SEOMoz, titled “Everyone Should Hire ‘Social Media Experts
.’” The author, SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin, describes Shankman’s piece as “passionate … but an entirely false one.”
“There's no evidence, only opinion; no examples, just speculation; no data, but loads of stereotyping. The author is certainly one of the premier benefactors of social traffic and of a new, more socially-connected web (Mr. Shankman founded and sold HARO, the service that connects journalists to subject-matter experts), yet he somehow manages to ignore the benefits social media has brought him (and his clients/company) to write a scathing dressing-down of anyone who dares claim expertise in this marketing discipline.”
He then launched into a reasoned defense of the social media discipline. At the end of his post, Fishkin addresses Shankman directly and offers to buy him a beer to discuss his points further.
In the comments section, Shankman showed he’s a good sport.
Happy to grab a drink with you. We can debate these points in public, yet we're pretty much saying the same thing. I'm saying that I'd never hire anyone who sits there and doesn't know the first thing about marketing, they got a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and said, ‘Hey, I can do this sh*t!’
You, sir, at least took the time to do research and post your findings. That's more than 99 percent of the so-called social media experts would ever bother to attempt.
You know how to find me.
PS: Also kudos to you for not cursing me out, calling me a moron, or doing any of the other hundreds of rude things most of the ‘social media experts who were offended by my article’ did. Class act.
Some advice to people who call themselves social media experts: Keep a low profile.