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Old 06-21-10, 12:27 PM   #1
live311
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What the hell is a "Social Media Consultant?"

From what I can gather, it's an unemployed college graduate who's addicted to facebook and twitter. A social media consultant also frequently attends "tweetups," which are basically Happy Hours passed off as "networking events" attended by equally unemployed and desperate consultants. Can anybody give me a straight answer on what these people do and what kind of companies would be interested in their skillset? I'm asking because a friend of mine in DC is a self-proclaimed one of these and I just wonder what makes these people tick.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:44 PM   #2
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They utilize asynchronous social networks to maximize the hidden potential of your 2.0 business platforms. Synergy.

But really, you've got it pretty much right. A very small subset of them can do semi-useful things like help otherwise clueless companies not do utterly stupid things on the internet. An even smaller subset does actually useful things like data analysis. The vast majority are annoying self-promoters. "Consultants" have been with us for a long time - the "social media" tag is more or less meaningless and is simply used to indicate a familiarity with the big technology story of the day. Go back to the mid-90s and they might call themselves "multimedia consultants." Early 90s might have been "telecommunications consultant." And so on.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:52 PM   #3
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But that aside, gbcb has it right.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:52 PM   #4
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I have a friend who is a high advertising photog. basically she does as little on her own as possible and hires as many people to help her as she can, including a studio chef for the clients. he office manager/agent also maintains her facebook page which she never updates on her own - strictly a business tool. I find it kinda annoying myself. but I love her, she's a great lady.
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Old 06-23-10, 01:43 PM   #5
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From The Oatmeal's 8 Websites You Need To Stop Building:
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Old 06-23-10, 02:23 PM   #6
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Haha, had a co-worker who wanted to stay home but technically be employed, so she was the "Facebook Consultant" or something for the company. I have no idea what she did, other than update the company's Facebook page once every few weeks, and earned part-time wages for it, apparently.
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Old 06-23-10, 02:25 PM   #7
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They use social media to help drive marketing campaigns. We have one working on contract basis in our offices right now.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:07 PM   #8
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I have an acquaintance that now offers social media consultation services.

His Mom was a "lifecoach" and he left town owing folks money, now resides in Vegas. I equate it with "con artist".
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Old 06-23-10, 07:49 PM   #9
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As much as I dislike Facebook and cannot stand Twitter, the value of those two social media sites to businesses is extremely high. It is an inexpensive way to market things like deals, specials, etc... Businesses don't usually have people who are knowledgeable enough about social media to really take advantage of those sites. So, they hire social media consultants. It is very possible that some of those consultants are just unemployed high school dropouts who spend 24 hours a day on the computer. However, you cannot deny the value of the sites and there are people who are actually very good at dramatically increasing "followers" or "group members" or whatever. There are actually techniques that social media experts use.

This question is kind of like asking "What the hell is an SEO consultant?" There are going to be people who claim to be SEO experts, but are not and they sell themselves as consultants. However, I don't think anyone with even basic knowledge of internet business can dispute how important SEO is, and there are people who have spent a long time researching it, testing different methods, etc... It's just that social media is relatively new to businesses so it isn't yet as accepted by the general population as SEO is. Plus, there hasn't really been enough time to weed out the "fly-by-night" operations.

In any service industry there are going to be people that claim to be part of the industry that have no idea what they are doing especially when the industry is pretty much unregulated.
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