Why it’s OK to be a social media guru

By Mark W. Schaefer

There have been a lot of rants against inexperienced people putting out their shingle as a social media guru. One recent one by Scott Monty on his amazing new podcast was darn near poetic!

As a seasoned professional, it’s frustrating to see somebody competing in your field with next-to-zero experience. A person with a LinkedIn title of “social media guru” recently asked me how to set up a blog.

It can certainly be exasperating. After you’ve put in years (or decades in my case!) of hard work learning your craft, creating exceptional value, and building a brand, many of us cringe when we hear people dishing out naive advice about strategy.

But today I want to defend the new gurus. I want to celebrate anybody out there trying to make a go of it, no matter how young or inexperienced you may be. In fact, if I’m describing you, I want to encourage you to be a guru. I’m not being sarcastic. I really mean this.

You have a right to find your power

Even if you’re young and inexperienced, go for it. You never know until you try and see what happens. We are living in an amazing time. The power today rests with anybody who has the will to create. I want everybody to find that power.

There’s room for everybody

This is a big wide world. There is room for everybody to prosper. We can all find our own niches. Come on in. You have a right to earn a living and if this is your dream, give it everything you’ve got and let me know what I can do to help you.

We all started small

I was nearly 50 when I blogged for the first time, and you know what? I still needed a hand. Early on I was encouraged by people like Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel, and many others who aren’t even around any more. Their encouragement meant a lot to me, and believe me, I had no idea what I was doing.

We all started at zero. Remember what it is was like to fumble around. Remember how much you appreciated a hand from a pro. Send the elevator back down when you are in the position to do it.

Inspiration for the experienced pros

When I was growing up in business, a lot of it sucked. Layoffs. Bureaucracy. Labor strikes. Asshole bosses (I was so tempted to put a link there). We have a chance to learn from each other and forge a new way together.

Last week I was in Silicon Valley and learned that at LinkedIn, you can take music lessons on company time. I met people who coded their way into a viable new business in 24 hours. I know a desperately-broke young guy who created a business all by himself on his computer now worth millions.

The young people in the business may not have years of marketing experience, but they can still teach us new ways forward, carve new paths, teach us a unique way to look at the world.

So, come on in. Put up your shingle and give it your best shot. I will cheer you every step of the way.

Be a guru and be proud.

Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant. The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

For the top illustration on this post, I doctored up a Flickr CC photo by Dan Zen.. The middle illustration is courtesy radkahund

Originally published at www.businessesgrow.com on August 11, 2016.

Keynote speaker, strategy consultant, Rutgers University marketing faculty and author of 9 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Cumulative Advantage.

Keynote speaker, strategy consultant, Rutgers University marketing faculty and author of 9 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Cumulative Advantage.