Had it up to here with Social Media Snake Oil Salesmen? So Have We!
Gah! Lots of craptastic marketing going on, especially those who are selling themselves as the Social Media Rockstars but lack the social proof to back it up.
What is it? Well, it is what it sounds like. Take a look at the “Social” universe, any slice of it will do, and look for “Proof” that Mr or Ms Craptastic knows their shit. (Yes, I said it.)
3 Steps to Social Proof
Step 1: Transparency.
I’m going to borrow liberally from Olivier Blanchard’s thank you to Jack Scrib. Great stuff. Here’s a link: In Praise of the A-list.
For us, this sort of runin with the snake oil types ACTUALLY HAPPENED over the period of a week or so, recently. A breakdown:
- I tweeted a link to my discovery of a Pakistani firm called Groupin. (Okay, I tweeted it a couple times, and it was a link to my own blog post. I do that to catch people at different times of the day and in different time zones. It works. So sue me.)
- Late in the afternoon, in the public Twitter stream, up pops a response from someone, let’s call them @JaneAJohnson. (NOTE: When someone has their full name AND a middle initial, I run scared from their Tweets. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, because I have actually BLOCKED all of the tweets from some dude whose company sets up Twitter accounts for people using that setup on every single account.) Jane says “Groupin sounds like they’re similar to these guys.” Link follows. Whaddya know, another Daily Deal site!
- Simple question from me, in response: “Is that a client?”
- Tumbleweeds for four days.
- Finally: “yes, they are, you should follow them.”
No. Es. Bueno.
Further sleuthing uncovered these facts: “Social Media Agency.” “Lots of content that appears to have been written just for search engines.” “No contact people, just phone numbers.”
Total Bullshit. See step two.
Step 2: Authenticity.
Ah, WYSIWYG. Not always the case. F’r instance, if your name rhymes with “Floss,” you’re probably just out there re-purposing stuff from ages ago. Over and over again. And you’re sharing it many many times over on different accounts on different media. Over and over again. And you’re talking about how great you are in the comments.
Yeah, you’re probably a “bot.” Or you have dozens of bots representing you.
We’re all for repurposing here at Area 224 HQ. But, to a point. The authentic you may actually be an Uber-Goober – but give us something new, will ya?
Just because you’re a Social Media Consultant does not mean anything.
If your name DOES rhyme with “Floss,” call me.
Step 3: Engagement.
You can fake this one, right? Sure. Go ahead. Fake it.
Don’t talk to people online after you say stuff inviting their comments. Use your position of power, linkage, mass followers or whatever to broadcast your shit, but not anyone else’s. Fail to share notes of encouragement, don’t retweet anyone or anything that doesn’t mention you.
“But I’m so busy focusing on tweeting for my clients, I don’t have time to tweet for myself!”
This ain’t about follower numbers, people. I interact with some really really engaging people whose streams are all “@ responses” and whose mission is to interact and engage. And you can normally tell this by looking at their volume of tweets (in the 10,000) – and you can ignore their volume of followers.
I see some damn clever Facebook marketers who ask questions and then….holy crap they watch the comments and actually respond to them?
They write on YOUR wall and, when you say something in response, they keep the dialogue going!
Go ahead. Say it. “Engagement” is just a buzzword. Fine. Put a different wrapper on “having conversations with people.” And then come up with your Social Media Consultancy’s Having Conversations With People Strategy.
Are you the one this is directed toward? Call me. Seriously.