MySMB. Just mention, tweet or post that phrase now, and you'll generate opinion – good or bad. But isn't that just what social media is all about? Debating and commenting on the hot topic of the day? Igniting sufficient feeling for people to get on their blogs or tweet for Britain?
So, it's time for me to get off the fence, and remove the splinters from my posterior – no matter how much it may hurt. And to proudly show my face as one of the people who bought into MySMB.
Was I duped? No. Was I mesmerised into handing over my credit card to a guru? No. Am I a stay at home mum looking for an easy buck? No. Far from it.
But I do understand why that would be the assumption about anyone entering into the world of MySMB. Especially those who have paid their dues over many years, built respectable social media consultancies, and carved out their niche. People like @Nigel_Morgan from Morgan PR, @mike_mcgrail from Social Penguinand @anthodges, who are leading the debate about the merits of MySMB. So, let me start by acknowleding these guys and their point of view. It is extremely valid and understandable.
After all, many of us have been there. Worked in an industry where we've had to build up a reputation with hard graft. Many years ago, as a fully qualified financial adviser, it riled me when client leads went to the guy just fresh off his training course. What did he know? How could he possibly give as good a quality of advice as a more experienced consultant? The bright young thing jumping on the bandwaggon. Different times, different industry – but same depth of feeling and concern.
So let's be honest here. The MySMB training modules are very comprehensive – but they don't make you a social media ‘expert' overnight. Nor do they provide you with a portfolio of clients, or years of experience in this fast moving arena. At the end of the day, nothing will do that – and I would not attempt to fool any client into thinking it could.
No, I'm under no illusion that social media is simple (sorry Nigel – not sure a 12 year old really COULD do it!). But I do see it as a profession – something which is constantly evolving, and which requires hard work and constant attention to developments. I'm starting with the basics, and with clients who only need those. I know my limits – and would never dupe any client into hiring me to do something I don't have the ability to deliver. Yet.
But that's exactly what excites me about social media. It will never stand still. It will always offer something new to learn. And that's a business I want to be in. Because I ‘get' the importance of social media; what it can do for businesses if used properly. I've seen first hand the importance and the power of blogging – and not just in relation to this hot topic! No, I don't have a track record, but I'd like to build one. Carefully. Sensibly. And with the help of more experienced people.
I could have done this myself. Set up a website with individuality. Learned my craft by working with those already respected within the social media profession. And I accept that, while that may have taken a long time, it may have earned me more respect. I chose the shortcut – with my eyes open to the derision that may cause. I let someone else collate the basic learning for me; build my website – and sell it on for less than it would have cost me had I done it myself. Guru follower? I think not. A bandwaggon robber? Certainly not.
I'd rather be judged by the quality of the work I do and who I am as a person. Not against the personal opinions people may have about ‘guru marketing' etc. I'll live and die by the reputation I build – not the reputation of someone else.
We all have to start somewhere. And I'm starting here. With the basics, and clients whose needs match my experience. Honestly, openly, and with my head held high. Get to know me, watch me grow – and then judge.