What Social Media Needs Is A Few Good Heretics

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.
– S. Foss
The Calf-Path


Heretic [n. her-i-tik ] – anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine or principle.


Social media marketing is in desperate need of heretics. Far too many industry professionals follow along familiar trails of sameness. The biggest problem? A majority acceptance of the notion that social media education is unnecessary, or even detrimental.

Oh, goody. Stringer is on a rant about SM education again. What else is on?

Perhaps so, but frankly, I’ve grown both weary and tired to the point of exhaustion of the pundits and their endless, mindless litany of, “there is no need.” There is in fact great need. Consider:
•The range of salaries for social media marketing managers is $25K to $75K, with a median of $45K.
•The majority of those working in this field, 66%, are women, the most classically underserved demographic in terms of earnings.
•There are currently 3 graduate programs in social media available today, and one undergraduate program. All are available online.

Since it’s inception and until recently, social media marketing management has been captained by individuals of divergent backgrounds, none having been academically trained specifically. This has been necessary since until just a couple of years ago, there were no training programs available. This is not to say they haven’t produced high-quality output, nor behaved in anything less than the highest professional standards.

But adspend has trended ever increasingly upward, with high expectations to reach the double-digit billions of dollars within the next few years. This fact generates two important considerations:
1. Business can hardly be expected to invest such astronomical sums without a desire for standardized training in the field.
2. The resultant relative increase that can logically be anticipated in pay grade can scarcely be justified for the same reason.

Many decry the rationale for SMM education with claims that the field is changing too quickly. This statement is oxymoronic – it is because of the rapid changes occurring that makes the need for specifically degreed personnel so critical. Individuals educated with scientific methodology and cutting edge didactics are the best equipped to deal with these changes.

Let’s take another look at the most crucial factor, that of women being the majority of workers. Most of these are working moms, whose families are dependent on their sole support. A median salary of only $45,000 per year does little to alleviate the pressures of personal economic demand, with even less room for niceties such as an occasional nice dinner out, and forget about a vacation. Most already have an undergraduate degree, and all currently available advanced degree programs can be completed in 18 months. Funding is readily available in the form of student loans, which can be paid back in only a few years given the commiserate increase in earnings. All of the programs are delivered via the Web, allowing for attendance whenever there is an hour or so of free time, even if that is at the end of the day, just before bed.

To persist in stating there is no need for a formal SMM education, that the job can be done without it, only stymies the possibility that earnings will ever rise above a minimum. It is snacking on their own young. Everyone works hard, and for long hours, and the idea of putting something else to do on the daily schedule plate will understandably be met with groans and a jaundiced eye. Yet to stubbornly insist on following the calf-paths of those who shout there is no need is ludicrous.

Social media education is an established fact of life. It isn’t going away, and it isn’t a fad. It is the future of the industry. The time is now to either get on board the bus, or get run over by it.

Posted in Education, Online Marketing, Opinion, Social Media | Leave a comment

Bullmoosing The Social Marketplace

In today’s business world, effective social media management has become a cornerstone of successful marketing strategies and campaigns. Much attention is given by enterprise to an established presence on Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking sites. Web 2.0 applications such as blogging and webinars are widely used to broadcast marketing content. eMail continues to prove itself an efficient operational method of individual targeting.

The benefits of social media to business are both myriad and well documented (Stewart, 2013). In her article, Stewart lists the number one advantage as being customer engagement; the ability to receive input directly from buyers. This sort of readily available marketing research is invaluable data, and is mined with minimal effort. Consumer participation and contributions may offer surgically precise insight into product and service desirability, with resulting increases in sales and customer satisfaction (Buyer Persona Institute, 2013).

Yet companies continue to ignore these leads in favor of outmoded customary methodologies, as has been indicated recently by the Occupy movement (Browne & Nutfall, 2013). This is a dynamic whose precedent can be traced back to the 1950’s, when corporate executives extensively believed they could dictate what the marketplace would buy. It was during that time cartoonist Al Capp, architect of the comic strip Li’l Abner, created a caricature named General Bashington T. Bullmoose, “the epitome of a mercenary, cold-blooded capitalist tyrant tycoon.” (Wikipedia, 2013)

Bullmoose’s admonition that, “What’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA,” a reflection of previous General Motors president Charles E. Wilson’s sentiments expressed in congressional testimony, only ever-so-slightly over exaggerates the nature of the problem of a refusal to listen to customer input over social media channels. It was as I was preparing to write this article that my wife, Annelle, astutely considered that the active verb tense describing this condition could be termed, “bullmoosing,” the social marketplace, which is to say ignoring the vital information that might very well spell out the difference between success and failure for many marketing ventures.

Bullmoosing is carried out at the peril of companies. The recent lessons illustrated by angry Middle East protestors demonstrate the danger of a refusal to deliberate the wishes of constituents (Greenfield & Braun, 2013). While it is doubtful consumers will take the streets in violent demonstration, they can and will refuse to support heavily funded marketing campaigns, which in the end can spell disaster for bottom line profits and investment returns.

Recent research suggests billions are being spent in social media advertising dollars, positioning marketing messages in channels such as Facebook and Twitter (Palermo, 2013). Over 88,000 open social media management positions are currently being listed on Websites (SimplyHired, 2013). In light of such heavy speculations, bullmoosing targeted audiences seems to make little, if any, sense.

In today’s business world, effective social media management has become a cornerstone of successful marketing strategies and campaigns. Yet the predilection to continue the bullmoosing of the social marketplace stands as an ongoing threat to the future of marketing efforts for many companies.

Works Cited

Browne, J., & Nutfall, R. (2013, December 4). Beyond corporate social responsibility: Integrated external engagement | McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from McKinsey & Company: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/beyond_corporate_social_responsibility_integrated_external_engagement
Buyer Persona Institute. (2013, December 4). What is a Buyer Persona? | Buyer Persona Institute. Retrieved from Buyer Persona Institute: http://www.buyerpersona.com/what-is-a-buyer-persona
Greenfield, D., & Braun, B. (2013, December 4). Jordan Ignores Domestic Discontent at its Own Peril. Retrieved from Atlantic Council: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/jordan-ignores-domestic-discontent-at-its-own-peril
Palermo, E. (2013, December 4). Social Media Advertising Budgets Rise in 2013. Retrieved from Business News Daily: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4012-social-media-advertising-budgets.html
SimplyHired. (2013, December 4). Social Media Manager Jobs | Job Search with SimplyHired. Retrieved from SimplyHired: http://www.simplyhired.com/k-social-media-manager-jobs.html
Stewart, K. (2013, December 4). Top 5 ways your company can benefit from social media – The Business Journals. Retrieved from The Business Journals: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/marketing/2013/07/five-reasons-your-company-can-benefit.html?page=all
Wikipedia. (2013, December 4). Li’l Abner – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li’l_Abner

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Coming soon!

Hello readers,

This is just a note to apologize for the lack of posts for a while. I’ve spent almost all of my time and energies for the past couple of years tightly focused on attempting to (finally) finish my undergrad degree. Sadly, this blog, as well as much of the bulk of the Grannelle social media campaign (e.g. Twitter), has suffered from neglect as a result.

However, I am happy to report that I’m finally close to doing having accomplished the Herculean task of matriculation. With a bit of luck, I’ll earn a BS in Marketing Management by the end of 2013. While my plans are to enter grad school (MBA in Internet Marketing) soon after, I also hope to once again start my blogging efforts at that time.

I wish to thank the occasional readers that have continued to stop by, and I look forward to publishing new content about the ever evolving fields of social media and other Web 2.0 technologies as they relate to professional marketing.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Social Media | Leave a comment