A few years ago, my wonderful parents bought me the John Lennon anthology. Many unreleased songs, all beautiful. One of my favorites is a song called “Serve Yourself.” In the chorus, John repeats, “You gotta serve yourself, ain’t nobody gonna do for you.”
Well, that’s not exactly true anymore, is it?
If you are looking to promote yourself, a product, a company, or anything else, you can find people who will promise to do any or all of the following:
Start your Social Media accounts
Run your Social Media accounts
Get you thousands of follwers
Get you ranked on the top of Google search results pages
On top of those folks, you have consultants, experts, gurus, influencers, and other gangs of wandering advice givers ready to give you ideas on the fly.
Pardon the image I’m about to plant in your head, but this scares my pants off.
Why be scared?
Ultimately, marketing is like choosing where you’re going to go to college. It’s like mapping out where you want to work and what kind of work you want to do. It’s like choosing your friends. It’s very like creating a community. In other words, it’s a lot about guided personal preference. Or it should be.
I’m not so sure it’s that pristine now, though. Marketing is often an add-on to a middle manager’s job. In between taking calls from customers, pleasing the boss, and trying to figure out the new company management software, people are asked to consider how to promote the company. Are they going to turn down someone who says, “Let me handle that for you and get you better results than you could ever imagine?” Maybe. Maybe not.
You are not a sheep
So here’s my plea. If you are looking to market a new product or if you just want to learn how all of this goes, dedicate the time to really learn. Don’t go into Social Media marketing because an expert says you’re a coward if you don’t. Don’t avoid Social Media because someone says it might not be good for you.
Experts, consultants, gurus, influencers – they should not be viewed as sheep herders who are trying to get everyone in the marketing world into the barn of their particular thought realm. They are teachers. They are consultants. But they cannot talk with every tweet and with every blog post about your specific situation. Nobody can. Nobody except you.
Lots of people are around saying they have the answers. If you want to avoid getting fleeced, make sure you follow John Lennon’s advice. Serve yourself. There are people who wanna do for you, but only you can have your true best interests at heart.
Though I really hope, hypocritically, that you consider this particular advice carefully 🙂
Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/thimoholst