The Broken Record of Social Media Advice - Social Media Explorer
The Broken Record of Social Media Advice
The Broken Record of Social Media Advice

Later this week I have the pleasure of speaking at an event in Minnesota called the Social Media Rockstar Event. The one-day conference brings a dynamite lineup of speakers and experts to Southern Minnesota and will put me in front of a number of people who have not heard me speak before.

There is both a good and a bad to this type of event. It’s may seem bad because I’ve been asked to talk about social media strategy to start the day, then end the day with a big takeaway. I’ve given these two talks over and over for the past couple of years. Sure, I change up a little here and there and revise case studies and the like. But if you saw me talk on these topics last summer, the talks on Thursday won’t be holistically different.

Get your ticket!But for me it is also good. Not in the sense that I don’t have to prepare much – I still stress over little details, update pieces of the talks and, where appropriate, write new jokes. But it’s good in the sense that this audience hasn’t been given the advice yet.

Many in the social marketing space sound like broken records these days. Would we all like to move on to other topics? Certainly. But we don’t because we see, day-in and day-out, that the advice we’ve been giving either hasn’t been heard or isn’t being used. When you still have major brands doing dumb things with crisis communications, when you still have small businesses paying scam services for Facebook followers, when you still have companies applying a set-it and forget-it policy to blogs and Twitter accounts and the like, you have to keep teaching and preaching.

Jay Baer is probably one of the most informative and dynamic speakers in the social marketing space today. I saw his first-ever presentation of Youtiliy … before it became a book … in the spring of 2012. I saw one of his first presentations of Youtility just days after the new book debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best-seller list for self-help and advice books. There were a few new hooks and polishes to it, but for the most part, it was the same talk.

Yet, I still learned from it. And so did the audiences – both of them.

Broken record syndrome is incredibly annoying if you’re a proactive learner, tearing through talk after talk, conference after conference and book after book looking to get smarter and better at what you do. But it’s critical for overall good of the market since not everyone is listening the first time around.

Every time I speak, the majority of the room hasn’t heard my talk, doesn’t know the case studies and probably hasn’t looked at social marketing from the perspective I’m advocating. So they get to hear the tried, tested and true. Which, in a way, is even better than the audiences from a year ago. The talks have been vetted. The information confirmed. Feedback has been had.

All that said, as a speaker and an audience member, I’d like to impart a bit of friendly advice for you all: Always hold your speaker, blogger or author accountable. Ask the questions you expected to have answered. Comment and push them to provide more and better. Write them and ask why they left a certain part of the topic out of the book or didn’t answer something you were looking for.

Your ability to push us to provide more will make your experience better and improve all of us as well.

If you’re within a respectable drive of the Jackpot Junction Casino and Hotel in Morton, Minn., I’ll see you Thursday. If you’re not – Jump in the comments. What are people not telling you these days that you need to know?

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
  • I’d do even one better. Hold speakers accountable to prove their own efforts. Start asking speakers and supposed experts “Give me an example of where you have personally helped a company other than your own company”. A lot of speakers use their success as a social media speaker as an example of social media success. The tail is wagging the dog.

    I see the majority of social media speakers talk about what you should do. They back it up with stats from other people (gardner said this, or some other reporting company said this) . They also back it up with stats from just plain marketing luck (i.e. The Oreo thing at the Superbowl. Or a viral video). But I see very few that can say “I walked into a company. They had nothing. I helped them work on something. When I was done they had a lot and are thriving”. When you can show me that, then you’ve got street cred as an expert.

  • Pingback: El Síndrome del Disco Rayado al Hablar de Medios Sociales | Ornitorrinco Digital()

  • Really interesting article. I also one of the speaker
    before, I talk and talk a lot, cause I know in my way I could help them with my
    long detailed information but I was wrong. Sooner with my research, I realized
    being direct to the point is one way to make their attention stay because the
    listening span of the audience last only for 10 minutes unless topics are much interesting.

  • Pradosh Mitra

    As a learner, I find a lot of scope in countries like India and China for such talks. Which unfortunately does not seem to be have been happening much. This is particularly important now, as these geographies are globally considered as “developing and with lots of potential.”
    I understand Jason that you are a speaker and not an organizer of events. However, I still cannot hold my self from asking you, as well as other thought leaders in this forum, to share some ideas on the following:
    1. How can we gain in-depth knowledge on these “done-to-death” topics?
    2. Who do we contact to get such events organized in India?
    3. Is there any step by step process penned down by anybody?
    4. If yes, which one do you consider to be authentic?
    5. Will just reading help gain that in-depth knowledge?

    • Great questions, Pradosh. The good news is that the books and blogs that are reliable on the subject matter are out there for the taking. Vetting to determine which you trust most is certainly part of the battle, but I would offer (aside from my own), the works of Avinash Kaushik, Jay Baer, Tom Webster, Nichole Kelly, Chuck Hemann, Mark Schaefer, Mack Collier, Michael Brito and many others as good places to start looking. There are also good content and advice resources with many of the software companies that feed the industry, too. Radian6/Salesforce/ExactTarget are awesome resources for information. Marketo, Raven Tools and even HubSpot have some good how-tos and advice. Just keep in mind with software companies, they are blogging/posting for lead generation, so they’re always going to have a slant to their work. (Not that some consultants don’t as well, but there will be arguments to buy their software in the content. Just be aware of it.)

      Getting events in India? That’s a good question. Not being there, i would have no idea. I have spoken there once — at an industry conference in Bangalore — but have little knowledge of the event space or organizers there. That could be a business opportunity for you! Certainly the cost of getting speakers from the U.S. or other parts of the world would be the biggest piece of the investment to make that happen. There may very well be some good thinkers in the space in India, too. (I’m just under-educated about the market there.)

      I do think that just reading and finding resources online (white papers, webinars, e-books and blogs) can help you gain a fair amount of knowledge. But practicing social marketing, community management, crisis communications and the like is what really sets people apart from the analysts and “experts.” When you’re doing it for a company or a brand, you’re learning in reality, not in theory. There’s always some weight to that type of learning.

      Hopefully this helps. An always know if we can work out expenses, a modest fee and scheduling, I’m happy to speak in India again.

      • Pradosh Mitra

        Thanks a ton, and literally a ton, for investing time to respond, even more for sharing your knowledgeable thoughts.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    I couldn’t agree with you more Jason. I’ve been talking about Social Media ROI since 2009. I’ve seen social media ROI move from theory to all out implementation in that time. However, the companies that are really getting into and spending money on being able to measure ROI are still large companies with budgets. There is still a wide audience of marketers that totally can measure ROI and they don’t need huge budgets, but are still overwhelmed by the concept. So while, I would love to move onto a new topic, my reality is that this information is still critically important and we are in a time where marketers can really implement. To me, this is the most important time to be talking about ROI because the audience has been primed and they are hungry for the answers. The even better news is that after speaking and building measurement framework for so long I have some really solid case studies to talk about so I can show marketers that it’s not only possible but companies are actually doing it. Those companies are in a place where the questions about the validity of social media has disappeared. It’s awesome to know that I’ve watched the adoption of ROI and now we are in a time of moving to mass adoption. It will still be a few years before we get there, but man, we are on the right track. As a speaker that is what really excites me. I hope it’s equally exciting for the audience who can really connect to the information in new ways they may have never thought was possible back in 2009. Rock on!

  • Good stuff, Jason! And something I need to remember, too. I do a lot of speaking in the library tech world, and we get the same thing there – the whole “so-and-so is talking about the same stuff again, blah blah blah” from other proactive learners. But what they (and I) need to remember is that most of the people in the room haven’t heard those ideas … or they did, but maybe it will stick the second time around.

    Yes, 5 people have heard me give that same presentation. But the others? Probably not.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Glad to be of service, David. Keep helping those that need it. The others will find something else to do. Heh.

  • Hi Jason, interesting read and I agree. I often speak at events around social media best practices etc and every time, I get a raft of questions (which is always nice as a speaker), this tells me that there is still a lot of education required, and while us that are ‘in the know’ would like to be able to move on, it isn’t something I see coming around soon, and as long as people need the help, then I’m more than happy to supply it.

    • Good on ya, Mike. Keep fighting the good fight. ;-)


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