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01/01/2012 by

How To Buy Social Media Snake Oil

3,000 Facebook Fans! 5,000 Twitter Followers! Engage in conversation! Sounds good, right?

How to Buy Social Media Snake Oil


Too many businesses are being duped by social media “experts” who promise brand building and more relationships. Words like relationships and trust make many people feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Couple that with everybody talking about Facebook and Twitter and you have marketing budgets opening their wallets wide for advice from social media consultants.

Social media is essentially another form of networking and consultants help their clients build platforms from which they can communicate. Things like trust and reputation are impossible to measure, yet they are the very things that social media experts peddle.

Although many like to place the blame on social media failures on the consultants who recommended them, whether or not you are buying social media snake oil depends as much on you as it does who you hire. Here are the top ways to buy social media snake oil…

Using Social Media When You Don’t Need It

What is your target market? Are any of them even using Facebook? And even if they are, are your marketing dollars better used elsewhere? For example, let’s say you’re a nursing home and your target market consists of senior citizens in your hometown.

Seeing that only 11% of Facebook users are 55 an over, your marketing resources are better spent away from the social media world. Rather than spending money acquiring Facebook followers, spend time acquiring leads through hospitals.

Believing that Only Social Media Will Lead You to Success

Social media is like a mascot to your business. Sure, people will appreciate the friendly gesture and like you little better, but if you aren’t getting customers via traditional marketing methods or if your core business isn’t that good, no amount of social media will save you.

Your social media strategies can be combined with traditional forms of marketing. For example, if you’re running a TV commercial, advertise the fact that you are on Facebook. If you have a website, make sure to link to your social media channels.

Hire Social Media Experts Who Only Talk About Number of Followers

No social media consultant can guarantee you sales. However, a social media consultant has to consult you in the right direction and not just talk about the amount of LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook followers. What separates the social media snake oil salesmen from the true professionals is their willingness to match your company’s target market to what’s possible with social media.


Not Taking ROI Into Account

Social media services get a lot of flak for completely avoiding the subject of sales and ROI. If a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Youtube consultant completely avoids the subject of sales, ROI, and leads, you are dealing with someone who is concerned about their own bottom line and not yours.

A good consultant creates campaigns which aim to affect the aforementioned variables, albeit with no guarantee of success.

Look for a consultant to tailor a social marketing program based on your unique situation. For example, if you’re a local violinist trying to sell violin classes, a good strategy would be to get targeted traffic from Google Places and AdWords to your website, which would have a link to your Facebook page, showcasing your expertise and experience.

A bad strategy would be to get as many Facebook fans as possible, whether or not those fans have the slightest interest in violin lessons in your local area.

Google Places and AdWords may be out of the expertise of the social media expert, which is why the creation of a professional looking Facebook fan page is all the consultant can provide. Any more Facebook fans or Twitter followers would just be a waste of money.


Nickolay Lamm keeps track of the latest online scams at InventHelp Scam Watch.


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