Likes, follows, hashtags, engagement… With social media at such a high level of importance, a door has opened for modern snake oil salesmen and high tech scammers. For you and your money’s sake, it is wise to be wary of those who proclaim to be social media marketers or Instagram growth specialists. Much of what you are seeing in the digital marketing space is the handiwork of a virtual assistant in India and AI bots.
You might be wondering how to spot these scammers: they use lofty visual aids such as pictures to build credibility. You’ll see flashy profiles loaded with brand names, replica timepieces and rented exotics. They claim expertise in social media marketing, Facebook ads or the best one, eCommerce, where they teach you to sell cheap, poor quality products made in overseas sweatshops to unsuspecting consumers for a tidy profit.
Take a step back and realize for a moment that many people over 50 literally know nothing about social media, except that Facebook is overrun by politics. Now look at the most common way these people build a fake following:
- Buy followers from a 3rd party. Mostly bots, these accounts will follow you, but they won’t like your content. Stats show that legitimate followers usually engage somewhere around 4-20%. Fluffed accounts will have followers without likes. This problem leads to step 2.
- Buy likes from a 3rd party. This is to embellish the facade of the fake account. The next issue is engagement; the fake accounts lack real comments.
- Join an engagement group where you exchange likes for likes, follows for follows, and comments for comments. Sounds like a ton of work, right?
Revert to the statement about virtual assistants in India. Yes, VA’s are that efficient.
To the unsuspecting, a person with an Instagram account touting over 100,000 followers seems like quite the incredible feat. They seem credible and authoritative. Every business wants at least that kind of reach. The problem here is that BS accounts enable these serial liars to close six-figure deals with real businesses based on a mirage. We need to wake up and smell the coffee, because these con artists swindle millions from honest businesses, and it’s time for it to stop.
I cannot imagine having the audacity to scam legitimate, hard-working entrepreneurs who don’t understand the complex social media space. In very recent days, several of the most popular digital entrepreneurs have been exposed as frauds and cheaters. This is very disturbing news to the many loyal followers of their ideology and philosophies. The conundrum lies within the bits of truth in their information; they provide cleverly repackaged truth combined with unproven, faulty methods and substandard business models. These people are bonafide liars!
It is now more important than ever to become astutely aware of what content we put into our heads. It is vital that we listen to people who have solid information that we need, instead of those who pose as having what we think we want. Digital information can get so misconstrued and exaggerated when it is missing the vital elements of humanity. I know firsthand the hard work that goes into creating grassroots following on social media.
My sisters are in a band called Cimorelli. Currently, they have almost 5M subscribers on Youtube, 2M followers on Facebook and over 800k on Instagram. I’ve watched them build their following from the ground up. They did it with years of consistently posting great, engaging content and having a genuine interest in those who follow them. They have weekly meetings and carefully analyze what resonates with their audience and then deliver quality content. I have toured with them around the world as their sound engineer many times and met many of their followers in person.
I encourage everyone to examine the list of people they follow on social media. I dare you all to unfollow the false prophets and the wantrepreneurs. I challenge you to add content to your mind that matters and ignore the sparkly items and half-naked chicks. After all, at the end of your life, you will not get to take a U-Haul behind your hearse.
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