The Blue Dog Scientific Blog: Social Media Marketing and Charlatanism.

Social Media Marketing and Charlatanism.

Dear Businesses everywhere,

please be aware and be warned:
there is a nasty breed of "social media marketing" types going around selling snake oil to social unsavvy and desperate businesses.

These charlatans are defrauding companies with claims that by "doing" a handful of tweets or a few linkedin updates a month for you, you will achieve miraculous upturns in your business.

These confidence tricksters are charging astronomical prices for their outrageous scams, even in the hundreds of $ or £ a month and, unfortunately, far too many businesses are being suckered.  Meanwhile, the advertising standards and the trading standards organizations are doing nothing about this simply because they have no understanding of social media for business either.

You might like to visit my social profiles, blogs and websites to note the subject matters on which I, myself, post about, as well as both the quality of my content and how often I post. Then you might wish to know that I have never got any business from any of this simply as a result of posting. The phone has never rang due to simply sending out a few tweets or from posting to Facebook. I know lots of other people like myself, genuine articles, and they have never ever got any direct business from their posting of lots of great things either. Never mind a significant upturn in their business from a handful of average quality non-events which someone not connected with their business sends out on a schedule per week.

Because it doesn't work that way. Generating business, acquiring customers and converting leads to sales is not and never will be easy. There are no simple solutions, otherwise we would all be rich. I'm sorry, but business is a hard game and if something sounds too good to be true it is always is, there are no get rich schemes and their are no miracles cures. Customers are not just going to fall into your lap because someone is "doing" a few social media posts for you. You have to go out and win your business just like anyone else.

The con men and con women will tell you that they are raising awareness of your business and that will this will lead to sales. You need to look at how many people actually read each of the posts they "do" for you. Then you need to look at how many of those people are within your target audience, in other words those people who have read it who are ever likely to be potential customers. The number is almost zero per post, on average. Most certainly there are vastly more efficient ways to raise awareness of your business for a spend of hundreds of $ or £ a month than this!

The rip off merchants will regale you with tales of the one big success they have had. It's possible, just as much as its possible to win the lottery. But that's not what you need to know. It's how many failures they've had which is important. It's the odds you need to calculate, because even if they can point to a real success or two, you might just figure out you would be better off putting your hundreds of $ or £ on that lottery.

Take a look at my numbers. Take a good look. This is my full time job. I have to work hard to turn these outcomes into business. Very hard. Perhaps I should be less ethical and sell the snake oil myself? Indeed, the only way to make quick and easy money in this life is to steal it from others, is it not?

So if you've fallen for one of these confidence tricks, if you've spent good money after bad and you've seen no benefit at all, no tangible return on investment, the phone has never rung, not one $ or £ you can identify as accrued from the "tweet for you" or the "do-it-for-you updates" type services you have bought, then you have every right to claim your money back in full. Every right. You have grounds to sue for mis-selling, false advertising or downright fraud, in my view.

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