A recent contretemps (I have been waiting AGES to use that word!) on a social media site revealed a marketing … well, quite honestly, it was a boner. And a big one. (Can’t wait to see the spam link comments on this posting.)
A marketer, using a “stage name” was putting on a virtual seminar. To promote his seminar, he created fan pages for some of the bigger names in the industry and then used those fake social media profiles to comment favorably on the upcoming event as those people.
Any way you slice it kids, this is out and out fraud. This is FTC territory and boneheaded to boot. He was quickly found out and called on the carpet for his actions. He was reported to the attorney general’s office and the FTC as well as the social media sites he used. Several of the real speakers who were lined up to do the event pulled out.
There’s nothing wrong with using a stage name or a pen name – as long as you’re not trying to hide your identity in order to defraud anyone.
There’s nothing wrong with adding some sizzle to your marketing message. Just be sure that when you give people the steak, it isn’t made of pink slime.
But there IS something — no, wait – EVERYTHING wrong with stealing people’s identities and creating false testimonials. In short, it is wrong to present yourself as something (or someone) you’re not. But if you’re one of my regular readers, you know this already.
I think people mistake the advice “Be an Expert” to mean “Present yourself as an expert whether you are qualified or not.” Frankly, many people can make someone LOOK like an expert online in under 30 days. All it takes is a good marketing plan. But the charade falls apart pretty fast when that expert can’t deliver on what’s promised. I’ve seen a few people implode because they couldn’t walk their talk.
With the all the information now at people’s fingertips, you can no longer fake it til you make it. People check up on your claims, mostly because it is now fast and easy to do so.
The whole “Fake it til you make it” mentality that seems to have gripped the country these days is doing no one a service. Yes, marketing is showing yourself in the best light possible. As a friend says, you don’t really want to bring up your flaws on the first date. Most probably, if you have been in an industry for a while, you have experience and a certain degree of expertise. You probably also have something that differentiates you from your competition. Capitalize on that. The truth is there are very few people who are the only source of information in any field. Even if you are a bona fide expert, you are competing with other experts. You end up taking turns being the media’s darling.
What matters at the end of it all is that you provide what you said you would. And more. When someone has paid you for services or product and you don’t deliver, they really don’t care that you rode in Tony Robbins’ private jet or had dinner with Donald Trump. All they will care about is that they spent money with you and you didn’t take care of them.
Yeah, it sucks when someone with fewer credentials or experience than you flashes by as they’re rocketing to the top. A fast trip up usually precedes a fast trip down. Take your time. Build your business. Make it a solid foundation. Take care of your clients. And heed the words of Mark Twain (aka Sam Clemens).
“Remember, if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
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