It’s all the rage these days to say that “social media consulting” is nothing but over-priced advice dispensed by know-nothings to insecure companies about obvious things like communicating authentically online. Sometimes these critiques are funny (or very funny) and some people are trying to defend their practices. There’s been so much of this going on in the last week alone that I decided to respond in a post here. Update: I retweeted a link to this post two months after writing it because of this smart post by B.L. Ochman making the rounds today.
There is no question in my mind that my consulting, at least, is extremely valuable and non-obvious. Check out the page of feedback I’ve received. Below is one example of a valuable project I’ve done for a client.
I worked with Sun Microsystems last year to build a blog search dashboard tracking the most recent and most-discussed blog posts concerning a list of their products, during the Java One conference. People loved it and only an outside person with my experience and skills would have built it. It was social media consulting that wasn’t obvious or just about “join the conversation.” Here’s an in-depth explanation of exactly how I did it.
Then I did an audit of the company’s huge network of blogs, their wikis, their podcast portal and developer forums. I researched their competitors’ work in those areas and interviewed specialists in each of those fields who looked through the Sun sites with me. I gave a rapid-fire presentation to an executive team that blew the minds of some very serious and capable people.
They brought me back five times to work on different projects there, sent me 20% of my income for last year and invited me to meet and interview my childhood hero Neil Young when he spoke at an event.
So is social media consulting just a joke? Not in my world, it’s not. My contact info is in the right-hand sidebar, if you’re interested in getting in touch.