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While in Rome, do like the Romans…

By 12/08/2010No Comments

It’s almost funny. I met a distinguished communication specialist, -expensive suit, nicely groomed grey hair- rambling at a cocktail party a week ago. He gave his attentive audience some remarkable quotes… one of them being that “digital communication is a nice to have these days”. Nice to have. That is what he is counseling his clients. Nice to have. When I wanted to know if he actually ever used social media, he confessed that he did “not have the time for any of that modern nonsense”.

I can find a plethora of well paid, highly intelligent consultants counseling their clients on digital: without any experience, knowledge, frame of reference or even remote understanding. People with less than a handful followers on Twitter, who never tweet, who are not experimenting, who have no access to any metric tools are helping brands decide on how to communicate. Do not get me wrong. I do not think for a moment that all wisdom and results come through or from social media. I am an honest believer in integrated communications. Keep the best of the past, add the best of today, and you’ll be armed for the future…

But, seriously, how can you give valuable advice on something you do not practice, that you do not know, and that you do not master? How do you take the responsibility? It beats me. These people do not have a clue how social media can be a great add-on to the communication mix. . The reason is mindblowing simple: they do not know, because they do not use it themselves. Management by example. Counseling by example. Only people who actively participate in social media are able to determine if their clients could benefit in any way. Not being involved in social media gives you absolutely no insights on what it is about. So you should be silent about it.

On every corner of the street, there is a self-proclaimed social media guru now, shooting some buzzwords in a presentation, and trying to tap into the marketing honey-pot.

Never take advice from a guru with an online social capital that is lower than your own. Call it street wisdom.

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