Stephen Covey made a gazillion dollars, and launched a business empire with the publication of his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I harbor absolutely no delusions that I will make a penny with this, the publication of my blog post, The Seven Annoying Habits of Social Media Gurus.
I certainly hope I don’t offend anybody with this blog post, but I’m really not too worried, because I know that there’s not a single one of you who would raise your hand and admit to — or claim to — be a social media guru. (Of course, if I were to tweet that you were a social media guru, you’d be DMing me in a heartbeat thanking me for the alleged compliment).
And since none of you want to be a social media guru, please pass this post on to your friends who do. It’s a guide to the seven habits they need to acquire and perfect in their quest to be a social media guru.
1. Preach. If you can’t use the word “must” (or its substitute “have to”) in every other sentence you speak or write, you’ll never make it as a social media guru. You have to be comfortable telling the rest of the business world that they “must” start using social media immediately, and that they “have to” have a Facebook page, Twitter presence, and a blog in order to “be where their customers are” and to “join in the conversation.”
2. Bloviate. This is not the same as preaching. Bloviating is getting up on one’s soapbox, lecturing, haranguing. You’ll need examples of firms’ bad customer service so you can bloviate about how social media made the situation 10 times worse for the good-for-nothing firm that dared to screw up. If you can’t come up with any good examples, feel free to use United Breaks Guitars. The fact that every other social media guru bloviates about this example shouldn’t deter you from using it.
3. Cheerlead. Being a social media guru is hard work. You have to stay on top of all the new social media efforts that firms are launching so you can tweet about them, and cheer them on for “getting it.”
4. Misattribute results. This requires some work, and really separates the amateur gurus from the really good ones. If a firm with a social media effort produces good results — anywhere in their business — you have to find a way to attribute that success to their social media effort. Conveniently ignore things like trends in the general economy, competitors going out of business, or the 100 new sales people the firm hired that quarter.
5. Ignore scale. A 1000% ROI is better than a 23% ROI, right? Of course it is! As a social media guru, you don’t have to worry about the fact that most CEOs would rather invest $100 million and get a 23% ROI, than invest $10k and get a 1000% ROI. If I have to explain the rationale behind that to you, you’ll never make it as a social media guru.
6. Overstate. Declare everything about social media to be a “new breakthrough.” To be a really good social media guru, you have to know exactly when to drop the “fundamental shift” clause or use the “new paradigm” label. This will take some practice.
7. Create lists. Really now, is there anything more annoying than the endless lists of what to do to succeed in social media?
p.s. There is another annoying habit in the social media world, not limited to the gurus: Suggesting new entries to someone’s list.