I Hope You’re Looking for a New Job

i hope you're looking for a new job

You, too, can learn to make mad foam art like this!

In May of 2005, I packed up a Budget Rent-a-Truck and made the four hour move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In retrospect, I have no fucking idea what I was thinking, but at the time the rationale simply boiled down to:I can afford to buy a house in Vegas and will never be able to in LA.

So I moved.

The housing market was booming. The thought of a 2000 square foot home for $300,000 was enough to make me want to lock myself in a closet and diddle myself to the Real Estate section of the Review-Journal. I started to meet new people, make friends…and a theme emerged.

They were all in real estate, in some form or fashion.

Realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers…you could lob a frozen pea into the crowd at a crowded casino and you’d be sure shit to hit someone who was in the real estate profession. They all drove BMWs and Lexuses.

By the time early 2008 rolled around, the bottom had fallen out of one of the most overinflated real estate markets in the nation. This meant that all of those “real estate professionals” were despondent. Some (most) had to go out and get real jobs. Many left town. Quite a few went back to being blackjack dealers. And it served every damn one of them right.

They were opportunists who latched on to an booming opportunity that evaporated overnight.

So, if you’re a “social media consultant,” I hope you’re looking for a new job. Because the bottom is about to fall out of your market.

Just like real estate, social media isn’t going anywhere. But if you’re deluding yourself and your clients into thinking that you’ve got what they need, you’re no different than the hairdressers-turned-Realtor-turned-hairdressers of the Las Vegas real estate boom.

You’re hawking overpriced real estate to anyone who can make the down payment.

Social media is a component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, not a stand-alone panacea. There are no unicorns that fart glitter or fluffy pillows. Social media campaigns aren’t islands unto themselves and boats don’t race to moor on their docks. If you’re one of those laptop-and-a-lunch hucksters, I certainly hope you’re gearing up to acquire some expanded job skills, as it’s becoming damn clear that what you’re selling isn’t going to have a market for long.

Businesses are getting smarter. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are everywhere. It’s no longer novel to do what you do and sell what you sell. Your services are becoming the Chia Pet of the marketing world. And people like me thank you. Truly, we do.

  • Because your short-term clients make long-term retainers for me.
  • I get paid a decent living to undo the damage you’ve done.
  • I get to be the asshole and tell someone that you were an asshole, which means I look like less of an asshole. (This is Asshole Math – I don’t expect you to understand it.)
  • And no matter what coffee shop I’m working from, I could always use another barista behind the counter to get me a rice milk dirty chai and a lemon bar.

As it’s the new year, it’s a fine time to look for another job. Just imagine all of the people who resolved to quit that piece of shit job they hate – YOU could fill their shoes! Starbucks is always hiring and there’s no shortage of gigs on Monster.com. But if perchance looking for another job doesn’t sound like a fine idea this new year, perhaps it’s time to pull your head out of your ass and realize you need to up your game.

Webinars – they’re abundant, inexpensive (occasionally free, helloooo HubSpot) and an hour of your time. If you can’t spend an hour on making yourself look like less of an asshole, check the classifieds.

Coffee – Yeah, coffee. Don’t abuse the privilege, but find someone who’s doing it right and tell them straight-up, that you’d like to buy them coffee and pick their brain. Come in with an agenda, because failing to do so wastes that person’s time. And it’s coffee, not a private Masters Degree session. Otherwise, you can learn to make some kickass foam art during your stint as a barista.

Low-Hanging Fruit – It’s not profitable. If you actually broke-down the hours you spend doling out your low-dollar (and relatively useless) wisdom, you’d find most likely that you’re not doing much better than the barista. It’s time to revamp your business model so that you can be both useful AND profitable. Yuh?

Happy new year, yo. And if you’re like me and working on a “happy decade,” carry on smartly.

90 comments
Ms. Snark
Ms. Snark

Erika, Since you like unpopular opinions, not for nothing: Isn't this anyone? Anyone doing a so-so job, anyone who can't figure out how it really works, anyone who's ever hedged a marketing bet all "it's part art, part science" bullshit? Not sure I've ever heard a marketing expert guarantee that 50 of these ads will + 30 blog posts + this + that = X number of prospects = $ in closed sales. It should work - in theory, but then.. good movies and TV shows go unwatched, better products go unbought for cheaper, crappier alternatives, funny SuperBowl ads are rewatched on YouTube but I still don't buy the crap. IDK.. I mostly agree, just looking at it from the other side.

The Redhead
The Redhead

The most intelligent comment I've read all day - dissing someone for where they live. Surely as a realtor, you have something else in your bag of tricks, no? Heavens to Betsy. Happy new year to you as well, I suppose!

Barrett
Barrett

Too funny. But seriously though, I'd like to hear your opinion on social media experts. Denver now eye...you go from Lost Wages to Denver and you want us to take you seriously. The only things good to come out of Colorado were Coors (no longer cool anymore) and Fat Tire (brewed in Ft. Collins, and still cool). Happy New Year! Barrett

Suzanne Vara
Suzanne Vara

Erika Bravo! Your comparison to the real estate debacle in Las Vegas to jump on the band wagon social media consultants is hitting the bulls eye. There had to be more real estate professionals here during that time than there were lawyers (does that ever happen?). I remember thinking what is going to happen to all these people, all these people who were unknowningly walking into these trainwrecks and giving them money? Well we know what happened and we are still feeling the fallout. There will be fallout in social media. Those of us who really do understand the asshole math, will prevail and continue on. Those that are scratching their heads, well they will be finding the next best thing. You are awesome.

Clinton Skakun
Clinton Skakun

Spot on post. There are a lot of people whining about not having a job. The solution is simple. Work 2 or 3 jobs, work overtime, put in 100 hours a week. Don't sob about a large firm's not coming and grabbing you up because you have a degree. I think the majority of Social Media Consultants can be compared to Feng Shui Consultants and Phycics who claim you can talk to the dead. They get overpaid to do things that haven't really proven their worth. Everyone's a social media expert these days. They talk about joining the conversation and engaging people, hell that's what successful businesses have been doing years before computers or the internet ever came out. I'm personally sick of hearing all of this fluff about social media, and conversation and engagement. As an entrepreneur I just want to know how I can make money by using it. I understand that there are real social media people out there that have a valuable understanding of how to use social media and how to get results. But most of the "experts" are just bluffs jumping on the next-big-thing bandwagon and making a quick buck on it.

BobSchecter
BobSchecter

Wonderful comic relief, but way too harsh. I'm afraid your vent is somewhat misplaced. Marketing 101 - Give The Customer What HE or SHE wants, not what you believe HE or SHE wants. Thus, if the consume has extremely low expectations, whether through ignorance or desperation, it is unfair to condemn an entire niche, the matter of their sincerity, competence or credibility notwithstanding, for stepping in and filling that need.

Wouldn't You Like to Know
Wouldn't You Like to Know

I really hope you're planning on giving us more insight into how to "step up our game" instead of just telling us we need to, bc otherwise you are no better than the rest of us thinking a sassy blog post is going to get you some attention and cred. Thanks:) oh, I'm sorry if my comment was a little sassy too - it must be the red hair;)

Jim Godsey
Jim Godsey

On a more serious note, where can I get one of the unicorns that fart glitter?

James Ryan Moreau
James Ryan Moreau

I say every man and woman for him/herself. If you're not able to make some reasonable argument for your existence, serves you right... Darwinism and the job market works just fine by me.... and as for looking for a job, I'm in the startup field, so you NEVER know when you'll need to get on your horse again, and as a Community Manager, I've been laid off before and dumped into a pool full of wanna-be's. I guess I'm a wanna-be too, but I'm a habitually more employable wanna-be that gets shit done... yeah. Great post as always.

Richard Newton
Richard Newton

Re: coffee, or "over lunch." Funny, I just (within the past hour or so) invited a new contact/colleague/friend(?) to have coffee and brainstorm. Thing is, I've had my time wasted and patience mauled by my share of people who want to "have coffee" or "discuss it over lunch," ONLY to find that they did NOT want to do anything resembling a 50/50 exchange of ideas. No, they just wanted to pitch TO me, a la those do-our-condo-tour-and-win-a-free-weekend scams. So when *I* invite someone out to lunch to brainstorm *I* respect that person and their precious time. My skin has become rice-paper thin (you know it's actually made out of mulberry, not rice) with people who do the bait-and-switch "lets do coffee" thing. My radar's up and I can smell a "condo deal" a mile away now. And, no, it's not worth a cup of coffee or free lunch. Onward, through the BS! And Happy Year of the Rabbit, all - Richard

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

Having come from the mortgage business it used to pain me to have to compete against the monkeys that started in the business five minutes before they picked up a phone to call their first customer. It really wasn't a fair fight. I'd kill them every time. One of these jackwagons would talk to the same person I would be working with and offer them something ridiculously unobtainable for their situation. Invariably they would call me back, telling me that they could do so much better than what I had offered. My on command reply would be "good luck, call me when that deal falls apart. because it will". No sense in trying to have a battle with an unarmed person. Two weeks later I would get to break down my version of asshole math where I got to enjoy being an asshole while telling my stupid asshole customer that they got sold a bag of goods by a bigger asshole. Ah, memories. Here's to 2011 being the year that the "I can fix your SEO overnight and get you 5,000 Facebook fans tomorrow" crowd gets their Porsches repo'd.

TheMayor
TheMayor

But if it's too easy to spot it won't working! I'm sure I follow some ghosts, but if they are doing their job I'm blissfully unaware that the owner/operator isn't the one at the wheel! :-)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, you don't have to agree here on RedheadWriting.com :) There's room for everyone. And I agree with YOU - the crop of newbies isn't subsiding, nor will it ever. The hucksters will just find new ways to rape 'em.

Michele Price
Michele Price

YES Yes and HELL YES as we say in Texas Darlin' I would love to also ram the so called clients who think all they need to do social media is a highschool intern for 10.0 an hour to run their facebook & twitter. REALLY you are turning over your online reputation to a pimply kid who can't get a date? Where's the single malt straight up cause Erika and I both need a shot. After having to tell so many people they have no business using social media until they take care of their online marketing foundations is getting tired and old. SIGH, I am like really, so how are you combining your social media with your internet marketing? Do you have a online process to generate leads? What is your follow up system? Did you even research to find out where your market is today? Are you even ranking in basics of seo and google search? If you have done none of that- don't even touch social media as will will show that you are walking around in your underwear. That AIN't pretty. (That was Texas speak, gotta get tough and country sometimes chuckle) And I am not talking about the slimy Internet Marketing guys who grab your email to POUND and Ground you like chuck beef. That is a whole other post (walking away shaking my head)

Adrian
Adrian

I'm printing this and framing it. Social Media consulting is the "McDonald's" of the marketing world: Unhealthy fair for the lazy and foolish.

Chris Theisen
Chris Theisen

Most of the blame lies with the companies. While you would hope the consultants you mention in your post would have enough sense to not charge crazy fees for crappy work its hard to tell them not to cash the checks these companies agree to paying. I say bravo to them for finding someone dumb enough to pay them. While this will only lead to short term success for them its also hard to blame them since they obviously werent smart enough or didnt know better in the first place, hence the crappy work. As soon as businesses start using their brains a bit and hiring the right people to perform these tasks the people you mention in this post will start to work at Starbucks as mentioned. Why has Starbucks turned into the new McDonalds by the way (everyone used to make fun of having to get a job at McD's) I knew I liked redheads :)

David Spinks
David Spinks

I agree for the most part. There is value in specialty though. While I think the value in the "social media consultant" is blown way out of proportion right now, there will still be opportunities as a social media consultant in the future. The same way there are professionals that focus on advertising, on SEO, on UX etc... The point is that they need to realize they're just a piece of the bigger puzzle.

Lanham True
Lanham True

As somewhat of a novice in the social media realm, I often sense bullshit but can't always tell for sure. This post helps. Thanks.

J.D. Falk
J.D. Falk

I really, really wish I could agree, but...there are still email marketing consultants and SEO consultants hawking the same old bullshit they always have. The problem, as Laura Atkins described beautifully in http://blog.wordtothewise.com/2010/03/a-very-young-industry/ , is that there are always marketing newbies ready to shell out cash to anyone who claims to be a guru or ninja or whatever. There's always a new crop of well-meaning idiots who need to learn the same lessons their predecessors learned, hell-bent on the exact same destructive behaviors that their predecessors engaged in until they got smarter. Maybe, if we're lucky, a few of the next crop of newbies will stumble across this site and get themselves bitch-slapped early.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I wonder how Lexi feels about that...

The Redhead
The Redhead

And you, m'dear, always have a cup of coffee waiting for you when I'm around!

Ricardo Bueno
Ricardo Bueno

Re: "if you’re a “social media consultant,” I hope you’re looking for a new job. Because the bottom is about to fall out of your market." Boom! Step up your game our get outta da way! But seriously, I've unfortunately dealt with situations where someone goes somewhere else for a design service (because it's cheaper) only to come back and have us fix the mess that was created. It's unfortunate and it happens. And it sucks when it does. Anyway, Happy New Year and continue to rock it! P.S. Chai lattes are the bomb!

Joe Perez
Joe Perez

So you're telling me that the "Instant Guru" jobs are going to be a major #FAIL? ;) This is the greatest post ever - and as a native Las Vegan, I think your c and c went well with the real estate market here. The @sshole Math is priceless :) In my humble opinion, you have the social media do'ers and the "Instant Guru" talkers. Innovators, like college student/entrepreneur Nathan Latka, would be an example of a do'er. Someone who not only teaches you about social media, but is also equipped (especially with successful LIVE campaigns and a solid portfolio) to build the creatives and code the interactivity for your campaign. A talker would be the person that you mentioned - who charges $150 for an hour to tell you that Twitter is keyword-targeted, short, value-based posts/tweets and Facebook is about cultivating relationships and being more interactive with your friends. Mind you, the talkers just created their first social media account 4 months ago, but has attended a lot of webinars, lol. I think the 'talkers' should by ready to job hunt, with resume's in hand..

The Redhead
The Redhead

But here's where I say that my hour is worth more than a $5 cuppa, but I always have time for a colleague. Waste my time once, you'll never waste it again! :)

cindy cragg
cindy cragg

Hi Erika! As a member of the population under attack here I have to say, I love this post! To me, this post says to THINK, be strategic, bring value to your work and, ultimately, if you want to stay in the game - UP YOUR GAME! I love the bitch slap and couldn't agree more. Enjoy LA and hope to catch up with you when you settle back "home." Cheers!

cindy cragg
cindy cragg

Hi Erika! As a member of the population under attack here I have to say, I love this post! To me, this post says be strategic, THINK, bring value and ultimately if you want to stay in the game - UP YOUR GAME! I love the bitch slap and couldn't agree more. Enjoy LA and hope to catch up with you when you settle back "home." Cheers!

Melissa Brumback
Melissa Brumback

Can't believe no one has commented on the best line in your article yet?? "The thought of a 2000 square foot home for $300,000 was enough to make me want to lock myself in a closet and diddle myself to the Real Estate section of the Review-Journal."

Brankica U
Brankica U

Hey Readhead, I love the way you write. First I gotta say you made me sad saying "There are no unicorns that fart glitter or fluffy pillows." I almost believed there is no Santa either! (I know there is cause all my Christmas presents said "from Santa"). Second, I wanna say I am soooooo glad you wrote this post, cause I am so sick of "experts" and "gurus" that call themselves that. I should start calling myself "eating guru" just cause I love eating!? Oh, and third (and last) I wanna blast one blogger for spamming my blog and the way you write is what is showing me how to do it - I will just get there and blast him! Happy New Year!!!

TheDudeDean
TheDudeDean

So when are you going to buy me some coffee? ;-)

Ben Fullerton
Ben Fullerton

I think your dead on, Erika. I think the same thing is true in the professional photography world, if not lagging slightly behind. The recent boom of really quality, relatively affordable DSLR cameras, that all have better image quality than the best money could buy from 5 years ago, means that just about anyone can be a pretty good photographer. Then they all think they are great and try to go pro. Just like twitter, facebook and linkedin can make anyone a pretty good marketer, and then they all tried to go pro as well. But it doesn't take long of a bunch of inexpensive, pretty good people doing mediocre work for clients to start remembering that it's worth good money to get great work. It doesn't take the general public long to get sick of transparent and shallow marketing attempts or uninspired images, before they want something great again. And when clients have had enough of the flood of inexperienced, pretty good people who don't see the whole picture, those of us who are truly good at what we do and have a more complete vision are left to pick up the pieces and make bank.

The Redhead
The Redhead

As someone whose company ghosts social media accounts on behalf of several clients, I don't think ghosting is an issue or automatic unfollow. Many times, it's simply a matter of resources to a company: allocate hours internally or outsource. Many times, it's a more effective strategy to outsource due to spheres of influence and know-how (not to mention employee vs. W2 status). My two cents :)

davinabrewer
davinabrewer

"Social media is a component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, not a stand-alone panacea." Preach it, Erika. It's the "we can get you 1,000 FB fans and 5,000 Twitter followers" crowd; those are folks who will be looking for gainful employment, those who sell social media as a silver bullet, the end all be all.. with no idea of integration, of marketing or sales strategy, no PR sense. FWIW.

Killian
Killian

I'd love to buy you a cup of coffee simply to learn what a "dirty chai" is. Sounds like a porno move. When are you wandering over to the East Coast?

Lissa Duty
Lissa Duty

Erika, wow! What a blog post, being a Social Media Consultant, I have many feelings about what you have said! I agree with them and it saddens me to read this reality! I knew it was coming, but when is the question! There are so many dime a dozen social media experts it's definitiely an overinflated and over priced market where everyone jumped on the band wagon because they wanted to make a buck. I think of one particular guy that told me he charges $150.00 for a social media consulting session. I was really curious what he was selling in that one hour, since he was talking to me (and I only charge $50) for advice about social media! LOL! I actually jumped into social media because I love it. I started my virtual assistant business with an emphasis on social media because of my passion for teaching and helping others. I have keep my prices reasonable and practical for a service, not because I am a self-titled expert. Many told me I wasn't charging enough, but I have continued to go with what I feel is right and fair! I haven't made a million of this trend, but I have paid my bills, which was my objective! Hopefully that will pay off in the long run and will continue to get me referrals for not only my social media skills, but also for my other skills that will still be a need for the next big trend! Erika, thanks for this post and thank you for sharing your perspective with all of us! I wish you the best in 2011!

Josh Mishell
Josh Mishell

I would like to buy you coffee and talk about lots of things. Would tomorrow work?

TheMayor
TheMayor

*cheering* I've been annoyed with this bunch for awhile (and some of them are my friends so I should probably make this anonymous, but I won't). So many people in this industry were basically selling social media as the way to "save your business." Which was TOTAl BS. If you hire someone to run your Facebook or Twitter I will KNOW it's not really you and I will unfollow and unlike and unfriend you in a heartbeat. Old fashion business sense is still vital and necessary to running a business and so many "social media experts" have completely lost sight of that part of business ownership. Thanks for the post!

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

Why yes, I am looking for a new job! However, marketing has never been my fort'e. I know social media enough to make it a hobby, and I can see how companies benefit from it. However, I never understood why companies would need to hire an outside consultant to figure it out. I figure, if you and your company are there, doing what needs to be done and conversing with the customers who have sought you out online, then why hire an outside party? I also figure that there are loads of companies out there who don't even have a website, much less an online presence. The best way to drum up business has always been having one person talking to another to find out needs, services, etc. Social Media as a mainstay to selling your company? I never believed it. After all, it is rather impossible to make the word "twitter" sound professional. From my days of playing baseball, I've learned that as long as you have the fundamentals down you can pretty much do anything. Sure, there are different positions that you can play better, but you should be able to cover any base. So I stick to the writing, because it's what I know how to do.

E.L.
E.L.

Yeah that sound you heard was a nationwide 2k11 bitch slap! Personally my ADD ass got distracted with day dreams of glitter farting unicorns, but I would bet the end was just as good as the beginning... Eric

Lisa
Lisa

Funny...I just had this conversation with a relative that was going to hire a social media person for $20/hr....frustrating. I feel like a broken record. So many folks just don't get it. Thanks for sharing Erika.

Kelly Tidd
Kelly Tidd

Thank you for writing this blog. I've been saying this all year. Me, I'm smart and just stay in the general writing arena, where the big bucks are... Crap.

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  2. […] to that what Red Head Writing’s Erika Napoletano had to say – “So, if you’re a ‘social media consultant,’ I hope you’re looking for […]