It’s time to stop employing Social Media Gurus and Ninjas
It's time to stop wasting money.


There’s loads on the web about why everyone hates Social Media Gurus. Do a quick search and 80,000 results come up.

This site is a little bit different.

I want to help educate you – agencies, businesses, individuals – into knowing what to look out for when you’re hiring a consultant who says they know about social media, and how to spot someone who will drain your budget.

What is a Social Media Guru?

The best definition I’ve found is on Urban Dictionary:

An unemployed person [who] spends all of their time on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc) eventually leading them to consider themselves a “Social Media Expert” or Guru, purporting to know how other people and companies can “leverage their brand” and “increase ROI” by hiring the twunemployed person as a “Social Media Consultant”, despite the fact that the twunemployed clearly cannot make any money for themselves through social media.

I currently get several emails a day from former colleagues / people I’ve met at conferences / randoms telling me they’ve become Social Media Gurus, and that they need help in learning what the job entails. It’s a sad state of the digital industry – and in particular Social Media – that people are becoming employed first, and then trying to work out how to do their jobs second.

Yes, there’s an argument that states there are more Social Media jobs than people with experience – which is why companies go to agencies which, unfortunately, hire people with no experience – but there are also plenty of great Social Media training courses around if someone genuinely wants to get into the field.

There’s always going to be blaggers in every industry – but at the moment Social Media is still the cool place for these people to try and make a fast buck.

How would you feel about them doing it with your company’s budget?

Who are you?

My name’s Ilana.

I’ve managed engagement strategies and implementation for the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard, The Sun, and I’m currently consulting for Arcadia Group. I’ve been working in this sector since 2001, when I worked for the first venture-backed UK community site,

Why are you slagging off Social Media Gurus?

The idea for this site came about when I was writing my monthly column for New Media Age. Most of the conversations I have with people who work in the digital industry end up in a bitching session about people – and agencies – that specialise in Social Media when they have little experience in it.

It’s true that the term ‘Social Media’ is relatively new. But what isn’t new is community engagement, and the best practice that’s developed when having conversations with customers.

Social Media Gurus:

  • have little or no knowledge of how to generate a financial return when using Social Media
  • are barely aware of the moral and ethical situations that interacting with customers can bring
  • may not be aware of the legal implications of user-generated content and interacting with customers on a brand’s behalf.

How can I get involved?

I think it’s incredibly important for companies to understand who they should hire as a Social Media Consultant and why. I want to ensure that employers know what to look for in a consultant, and what to watch out for.

If you agree with this website, please tell others about it, and if you have experience of dealing with Social Media Gurus and think you can help others, tell us about it.

If Social Media Gurus aren’t employed, there’s a chance they may become extinct.

Let’s try and make this a reality.

How to spot a Social Media Guru