Qualifying the Social Media Tyre Kickers / Brain Leechers

kick starting the weekend
Originally uploaded by Okaypro

Laurel Papworth has a great post expressing frustration at how easy it is for larger corporations to take advantage of the IP and thinking of social media consultants. Sure enough, over a coffee, a meeting or (if you are lucky) a nice dinner, a passionate social media evangelist will give away the steps/secrets of community building and online brand activation … but then, when it comes time to hand out the contracts, sign the papers and spend not-immoderate amounts of money, where is the consultant? Where?

If this sounds like you, here are some "qualifying" questions that you should ask BEFORE making an appointment with the tyre kickers:

  • Do you currently have someone responsible for social media strategy
  • What sort of visibility does this have in your organisation?
  • Is there an agency retained to build this out for you?
  • How would you see me working with them/you?
  • What is the budget you are working to?
  • When will you be making a decision to proceed?

Once you have answers to all these questions, you should have a clear idea whether there really is anything in it for you.

Anyone have other tips?

2 thoughts on “Qualifying the Social Media Tyre Kickers / Brain Leechers

  1. Great post Gavin, and we do have to protect ourselves. As I said on Laurel’s blog, I think the key for social media consultants is for us to protect ourselves. We need to talk in terms of broad strategies, not specific tactics. Talk in terms of strategies to give the potential client an idea of what you have in mind. But the tactics, their implementation and execution, is where the money is. And that shouldn’t be given away for free, and a stand-up company won’t ask for it.
    Gavin as we both know, many bloggers are incredibly giving and genuinely want to help people, and also help companies enter these space and use these tools, because we understand their enormous potential. So we have to be careful and have to understand that some companies simply want the ‘free ride’ that Laurel is talking about.

  2. I believe we have to be willing to give it away for free.
    Why do people pay money to hear Tony Robbins speak? Dear lord, the man has more books than most people have boring days. Not to mention he’s been videotaped within an inch of his life and back again.
    They pay because he is an expert in their minds around something they want to learn, capture or experience.
    There is a role for giving it away. A role in getting involved.
    I’ve never given away my ideas and not come back with a clearer picture of the terrain or their weaknesses.

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