Is social media important? Even though there are still some who believe it isn't, today few dispute that it has at least some value.
Instead, the debate has largely shifted to another question: how is social media best applied to deliver meaningful results for businesses?
When it comes to that question, there is no shortage of consultants and firms offering to help companies find the answer.
Have you been asked by a local business to develop an ad strategy, manage a company's paid search campaign or create promotional flyers for a nightclub?
If some in the ad industry have their way, you'd need a license to do all of those things.
Becoming a freelance consultant or service provider is easy, but turning a profit can be difficult.
One of the lessons learned through experience: profitability often has a lot more to do with avoiding the wrong clients than it does finding a never-ending stream of new clients.
Fortunately, the wrong clients typically come in several well-defined and easily identifiable shapes and sizes.
Here are the top five clients you should consider avoiding like the plague if you hope to be profitable.
It's a tough time to be a 'social media guru'. Despite the rise of social media in general, there's a lot of skepticism when it comes to high-paid consultants who claim to have mastered it. From where I sit, that skepticism only seems to grow by the day.
That skepticism is reflected well in an amusing NSFW animation called 'The Social Media Guru', which has racked up over 100,000 views on YouTube since being posted at the end of September. It portrays a 'social media guru' as a snake oil salesman who claims to be more skilled than he is and who preys on foolish small businesses.
The impact of the Great Recession on global workforces has been huge. Around the world, countless employers have been forced to lay off workers, make painful cuts and change the structures of their businesses.
The tech industry has not been immune. Stalwarts such as Microsoft, Google and Adobe are among those that have laid off employees and contractors.
It's inevitable: when opportunity pops up on the internet, there are plenty of snake oil salesmen waiting to take advantage of it.
The field of SEO provides the perfect example. While there are plenty of reputable guns for hire and firms providing SEO services, there are also plenty of snake oil salesmen promising the moon but delivering a bag full of sand.
Assume for a moment that you're an artist. You get a call one day from somebody at Google. Good news: Google wants you to create a skin for its Chrome browser.
You ask, "What's the fee?" The response: "There's no money but you'll get lots of exposure". Deal or no deal?