What’s The Value Of A Social Media Guru?

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A recent article on FutureLab reported on some “math” computed by cloud data backup service Backupify.

To compute the value of participants to various social networks, the firm divided the estimated valuation of the company by the number of users of each social network, and called the result the “value each user contributes to the company’s value.”

It found, for example, that the value of a Facebook user is $118, roughly $46 more than the value of a Twitter user, and about $100 more than the value of a Yelp reviewer.

But Backupify didn’t stop there, no siree.

It took each company’s estimated annual revenue and divided it by the interaction volume. This calculation revealed that a Yelp review is worth $9 to Yelp, while a tweet is worth $0.001 to Twitter.

If I have to explain the idiocy of these calculations, please leave this site immediately. You are not worthy to read this blog, nor to interact with the intelligent people who regularly read and comment on this site.
Oh, and when you leave this site, please follow me on Twitter, and start tweeting a few thousand times to help Twitter increase its valuation.

This approach to the valuation of social network followers did make me wonder, however: What’s the value of a social media guru?

The Value Of A Social Media Guru

I have developed a formula that I believe could become the industry standard. Maybe it will come to be called the Snarketing Index. (Oh stop dreaming, Ron)

Here’s how to calculate the value of a social media guru:

1. Take the guru’s number of Twitter followers.

2. Add his/her number of Facebook fans.

3. Add the number of his/her blog subscribers.

4. Multiply by average number of mindless, patronizing comments per blog post (“Great post!”).

5. Multiply by the number of times “Book me to speak!” appears on guru’s blog.

6. Multiply by the number of times a blog post titled “What Pinterest Means To Brands” appears on the blog.

Still with me? I know this formula is getting complicated, but I have an MBA in Finance and Statistics so I know what I’m doing. There’s one more step to calculating the worth of a social media guru. After you arrive at the total produced by Step 6:

7. Multiply by ZERO.

Two Types of Social Media Gurus

It seems to me that there are two predominant types of SM guru:

1. The guru who applies old-world marketing concepts to social media channels (“increase your reach with Facebook!”)

2. The guru who applies absolutely no prior marketing experience or concepts to social media (“social media will revolutionize marketing!”)

It’s amazing to see what these folks say and not only get away with, but get quoted as if it’s something brilliant.

In one recent interview, a well known SM guru said “most companies’ think Big Data is most easily deciphered by tag clouds.” Oh really? Mr. Guru really needs to start talking to a wider variety of firms.

He’s also quoted in that interview as saying:

“We’re 5-6 years into the evolution of social media marketing, and most brands still suck at it.”

That’s an interesting comment. We’ve been doing mass media marketing for how long now? Sixty years? Have we perfected it, got it right, or stopped “sucking” at it?

Exactly how long should it have taken to get social media marketing right?

Maybe most brands still suck at it because the advice they get from social media gurus suck. Did the gurus ever consider that? Of course not.

The Real Value of Social Media Gurus

Despite my skepticism of the value that SM gurus provide, I will concede that there is one potentially important role they play: Catalyst.

I learned this lesson from a USAA exec. We were chatting over drinks (well, at least, I was drinking), discussing some research published by a former colleague of mine, research that I really didn’t find to be of particularly high quality.

My USAA friend said: “You don’t get it. I don’t care if the research is any good or not. It helps me prove the importance of what I’m doing to my bosses.”

He was right. I didn’t get it. But now I do.

So use these SM gurus to help you prove the importance of SM if that’s what you’re trying to do. But take what they say with a grain of salt, and a heavy dose of skepticism.

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