A continual point I try to drive home to clients is the importance of monitoring your presence on and off line. It doesn’t floor me when a new client reveals they have never monitored their online or offline presence – that’s to be expected, and part of why they seek help. Often it’s just a case of not knowing how to get started and how to strategize and maintain a monitoring plan.
It continues to amaze me how many fly by night pseudo “gurus” of social media don’t monitor who is keeping an eye on what shenanigans they are doing online, however. There are so many people trying to jump on board the bandwagon of social media now that it is reaching mainstream proportions, and they are willing to do anything shady to get client attention. I’ve covered a few tips on avoiding scam artists and bad strategy in previous posts, including one on avoiding “twinfomercials“, one on “stunts vs experiments” on Twitter, a post about false metrics distracting your from your goals in social media, and many more.
I didn’t blog last week. I was wrapped up in several large and exciting things – the launch of the Twitter for Dummies book I wrote with Laura Fitton and Michael Gruen, a television interview about it, new clients (including new film Crooked Lane, a radio interview on LifeTips and more. Just because I’m not blogging on occasion doesn’t mean I’m not listening. I monitor my business and my clients daily. This means that I see scammers in real time, if someone is trying to pull a fast one (it also means I see good things too, but this post is about the issues surrounding fly-by-night hustlers).
It is not uncommon to see people scraping my content from one of my many blogs and calling it their own, to see people creating false RTs on Twitter crediting me and other social media types with things we never said, or to see people trying to pawn off something I said in a presentation as an original idea of their own. I handle all of this on a case-by-case basis. Last week unearthed a variety of interesting and annoying things surrounding the book, however. My personal favorite was the woman with a horribly designed Blogspot blog who is “teaching” a “Twitter for Dummies” class and sending people to Amazon to buy the book with the implication that she wrote it. She was very surprised I commented in a very tongue in cheek manner before the ink was even dry on her post. That’s the value of monitoring – being able to nip issues in the bud quickly.
The point I’m getting at is that you should use reverse monitoring to check out your social media consultant. There is some fantastic advice on this in a post over here (Caveat Emptor). I recommend checking out the “guru”‘s social media presence. Look at Twitterholic to see how long they have been on Twitter (it should be at least 24 months give or take, eg since Twitter was in early stages) and what their activity looks like (should be an ever increasing stream of activity and follower/following interaction). Check them out on Google and see how many of their other social media profiles come up, and then go to their pages to see how they interact – are they a link farm? A spammer? Or do they really converse back and forth with people and offer good information and help. Look at their offline activity – do they do more than attend the party-style events? Do they run events to help businesses? Speak? Teach classes? Remember, monitoring works both ways, and you can ensure you are getting a good consultant or presenter if you do a little bit of legwork first!