You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick

Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlett

I was talking to friend about the art / science of social media applied to business and we got to a point that I was reminded of a story about the great (albeit fictional) detective Sherlock Holmes.

In one of stories I seem to remember reading an exchange that went something like this (and I paraphrase extensively here) – Holmes makes a comment on some aspect of his companion, Dr. Watson.  In response to the comment, Watson asks “how ever did you come to that conclusion my dear Holmes?”  Holmes says he will explain how he arrived at his conclusion and after which he says that Watson will then conclude that the initial observation was obvious.  Watson promises to not jump to any such comment.   Holmes goes on to explains his process of deduction, arriving quickly at the conclusion he had just given Watson to which, Watson states, “well, now that you put it that way, Holmes it’s obvious…” only to stop short and realize that he had just broken the promise he had made to the master sleuth just a minute ago.

So it goes when working with an experienced professional.  They know what to do because they have seen or done the work before.  Once the layperson sees it before them, they jump to the conclusion that the result of the work was obvious – which in hindsight it may be but at the time of asking, the result and sometimes even the question was a mystery.

Working with an experienced social media consultant does not suggest the answer will not be learned by the business and become obvious – eventually; but the engagement with the consultant will mean that days, weeks and even months will be pared off the time needed to enact a successful strategy and the ROI of the engagement is sure to follow.

Take Away – Look for an experienced social media consultant and don’t offer to take them to coffee or lunch to ‘pick their brain’; offer to engage them fairly and you’ll save the irreplaceable commodity of time.