Saving Irish companies from Social Media Crooks

I think the IIA Social Media Working Group which has just been formed has come out just in the nick of time. “Social media” is the new hot thing (despite being around for a few years) and just like in every gold rush you get the devious, duplicitous, defrauding, dodgy types who will tell you and sell you any lie they can in order to remove you from your money, “social media” already seems to have the scammer types in this new field. This probably won’t be the main remit but I do think this group will stop SMEs and larger companies from being ripped off and conned just by existing. Thank the gods. Imagine if we had such a group when SEO and Search Marketing started off. Or blogging? Maybe less people would have gotten screwed on blog installs?

The lineup of people in the group is impressive too with a good deal of people (most in fact) talking the talk walking the walk (edit: apologies, I meant walking!) and they are blogging, podcasting, twittering, facebooking and friendfeeding. This is exactly what’s needed. A group that’s already immersed.

Some of the folks on the Social Media Working Group are:
Krishna De, Bernie Goldbach, Niall Devine, Fred Herrera, Brendan Hughes, Gordon Jenkinson, Mike Kelly, Fintan Lonergan, Philip MacCartney, John McGuinness, Aisling McMahon, Kieran Murphy, Bartley O’Connor, Kieran O’Hea, Joy Redmond, Keith Shirley, and Roseanne Smith.

Thieves Ladder
Photo owned by unusualimage (cc)

I’m sure the IIA will bring out their whitepapers in time but here’s a short list of things I’d suggest in order to spot the clueless “consultants” who are pitching to you:

  • If people tell you creating a skinned mySpace profile or Bebo profile is social media “engagement”, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you stuff on social networks can’t be measured, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you to create a company “personality” as a profile on Facebook and add people to it then shoot them in the face. FB will crucify you for this.
  • If their only suggestion about social networks is to buy banner ads, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you set your blog up on or, don’t hire them and tell me where they live.
  • If they tell you that you can buy links for your site, don’t hire them.
  • If they tell you to ghostwrite your blog, don’t hire them.

That list could go on and on.

Anyway, three cheers for this IIA Working Group.

12 Responses to “Saving Irish companies from Social Media Crooks”

  1. Roseanne says:

    Hi Damien,

    Thanks for the good wishes. I really like your quick “Don’t hire them if…” guide above and it will definitely be fed into the work of the IIA Social Media Working Group (SMWG) if that’s okay with you. I think part of our work will be to encourage all to look beyond those kind of practices and get as much as possible out of social media. We welcome input from all via various channels: comment on the IIA blog, Krishna De has set up a room for Social Media in Ireland on FriendFeed and we will be using ourselves as lab rats in various other social media so people will be able to feed into those channels as well. We’ll keep you posted!


  2. Krishna De says:

    Damien – love the list – as you say you could go on an on.

    I am sure you have never come across these amongst social media consultants, speakers and trainers those who:

    – who don’t personally or in their business have a blog, podcast, videocast or anything other than a static website
    – who blog on Blogger or but last wrote a post in 2007
    – who charge $500 to submit your podcast feed to iTunes.

    As for costly blog installs I still know of companies charging $3000 for Typepad blog implementation.

  3. Hi Damien

    Thanks for the support. One of the things the Social Media Working Group is going to try and do is to walk the walk. As a group we are going to work collaboratively using social media technologies and in as many ways as are possible to engage the wider online community (where in my mind at least the expertise already exists) in the process. So whether it be engaging with blogs, inviting contributions to wikis, or running workshops; our intention is that we certainly won’t be a bunch of people sitting in a room coming up with the answers in isolation. You can hold us to that too.


  4. Damien says:

    Crap, I meant walking the walk! Sorry that was not meant to be negative!

  5. Mike Kelly says:

    Great list Damien
    No more rip off WP installs hopefully

  6. roosta says:

    Interesting piece.

    As well As “dont hire them if…” what would someone say for a “do hire them if..” type list. As in, what should someone look for?

  7. LizEMcG says:

    What are your thoughts on the Tayto campaign on Bebo – I know you mentioned that you felt it was done really well – is this not part of the above profiling?

  8. Damien,

    Good stuff. Though perhaps you might expand on the point of

    If people tell you creating a skinned mySpace profile or Bebo profile is social media “engagement”, don’t hire them.

    Whilest I agree the creation of the skins and profile does not an engagement campaign make, I still believe that this type of marketing, if done correctly (tons of content , relevance to the audience, constant conversation)can be a hugely powerful engagement tool.

    The rest of your list is spot on and highlights well the challenge our group has ahead of it.

  9. Good post Damien. I do think that is a deadly tool for businesses who are doing it themselves. I have had clients use it to good effect ( for one) – but that is a self-build. To use the language of a rapidly disappearing construction sector.


  10. Damien says:

    @Philip If you can’t sing, play or dance then yeah then theres always the option of giving away a skin with your branding on it. It’s like giving away free t-shirts. I’m not so sure that is effective.

    People out there, including agencies are telling people buy ads on sites and pay a lot of money to offer a custom skin for profiles. They call this engagement. It is not. Engagement is two way, this is simply advertising. I’d be happy to be proved wrong though if you have statistics showing otherwise.

  11. “Crap, I meant walking the walk! Sorry that was not meant to be negative!”
    – I hadn’t actually consciously picked up on that Damien and my comment was not meant to be a rebuttal, but thanks for the correction anyhow.

    Philip, to be fair to Damien I think that his criticisms are not being laid at the door of the social network sites, but at the agencies who themselves might not understand the full potential of social media and are thus possibly under-selling “engagement” with the audience. The other side which is also likely is that agencies know exactly what is involved but their clients just don’t have the funds or the resources internally to support a full engagement campaign.

  12. I completely agree with that point guys that a smart looking profile is not an engagement campaign , an engagement marketing campaign starts with a skinned profile page but does not end with one. Most of my time is now spent educating all around about this and preaching about the virtues of good interactive content.

    I just wanted to make the point that a profile page can be a good engagement tool with the right content and should not be dismissed out of hand.

    Alas, we digress. Thanks for this Damien , it is important to put this topic up for debate and discussion and have less of the “smoke and mirrors”!!