There was an interesting study released last year by Booz & Co. in partnership with Buddy Media on social media and marketing and its impact on job growth. Some highlights:

  • Virtually every company (96%) has plans to spend more on social media; 40 percent plan to spend “substantially more.”
  • As companies are building up their social media, much of their investment is focused on hiring in-house staff. Partners also will play a key role in supporting companies as they use social more widely.
  • The money spent on social media will primarily be shifted from other forms of digital advertising, so new expertise will be required.

Great, we’ve gone mainstream!

But I gotta say, I’ve been really bothered lately by these so-called “social media experts” and “social media marketing firms” that are cropping up everywhere. “We have a decade of experience with Facebook marketing,” they say. Really?? It’s only five years old. Trust reduced. “View our case studies,” they invite. Really? OK, it says here your team worked with the client to develop a Facebook and Twitter marketing strategy. Cool. But what did that strategy actually include? What insights did you gather that make it worth sharing and using as a promo? Are you just spamming our news feeds with promos, or are you actually engaging? Why should I believe you without evidence?

Um, I don’t. Trust further reduced.

My point here is that there are a LOT of people out there capitalizing on the ignorance and fear of those who don’t understand how to tap into the amazing potential of engaged, strategic, social media use. They need real help, and so might you. So here are some guidelines to help weed out the opportunists from those folks that can actually get your social media projects off the ground.

  1. Make sure they create and deliver a strategy, not just tactics. Social media without a plan is worthless. You need to determine what your business goals are, how social tools fit into those, how content fits into that and who will do what. There also needs to be legit measurement against actual business goals, not just a laundry list of “likes” and “retweets.” If your potential vendor glazes over when you ask about those, run away.
  2. Check references. Did they actually accomplish anything of value for others? Not just what their web site claims, but real accomplishments that map to what you’re hoping to do as well. Can’t find those? Run away.
  3. Does what they claim sound reasonable? Anyone claiming to have more years of experience with a platform than it has actually existed would be a example of a suspect vendor.
  4. Run away from specific promises. “We’ll get you page one on Google, guaranteed!” would be an example. Another would be “get thousands of Twitter followers right away!” These things are theoretically possible, but without strategy and patience it will either be fleeting, damaging to your brand, or both.
  5. Focus on the conversation, engagement, and long-term relationships. These are the hallmarks of all the best social media campaigns. A legit social media strategist will embrace these ideas. Scammers, not so much.

Lock your doors, set the alarm, hide the kids!  Or call someone who can really help.

Have you ever been the victim of one of these scammers?

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2 Responses to Five Ways to Beware the Social Media Scammer

  1. Marijean says:

    You know I don’t pay a lot of attention to these guys, but it is upsetting to me when I learn of a business spending money on marketing that isn’t backed up with a plan for long-term results. Anybody promising thousands of Facebook fans is suspect. Unfortunately most small businesses don’t know enough about it to run in the other direction. 

  2. I couldn’t agree more with this post. Too many of many clients and potential clients have been ripped off by ‘experts.’ Run the other way if any of these folks ‘guarantee results!’
     
    I would also recommend checking to see if these so-called experts use social media themselves. And that means MORE than just setting up a Twitter account and having 5 followers.