The above article appeared in the Weekend Post of 19 March 2016. About Oracle Media’s Neil Barker, the headline screamed; “Website Whizz under fakery fire” – certainly NOT the kind of headlines any young business person would like to see over his Saturday morning bacon and eggs.
In 2015, Neil Barker started Oracle Media which offered Social Media Services to local companies. We see many of these advertising / branding / marketing companies springing up and offering to run social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIN… the list is almost endless. Normally run by fast talking supposed bright young things who continuously update their social profiles with ephemeral stuff and are constantly in search of the next viral boost which never seems to come.
Anyway, Weekend Post reported that their investigation revealed that Oracle Media had: Published a fabricated charity event in Cape Town; Plagiarised numerous articles and Faked an office in Cape Town. In addition Barker is accused of operating as an Estate Agent in contravention of the Estate Agency Affairs Act when he sold a house to Algoa FM DJ Wayne Hart without a Fidelity Fund Certificate in March of 2015.
But back to Oracle Media and the plethora of companies offering Social Media campaigns. These campaigns are quite lucrative for those ‘bright young things’ who land contracts with companies hungry for social media exposure and sold on the dreams of making it big and retiring. Some of these companies offer monthly packages in the region of R7 500.00 per month (and much more) to run these campaigns and generate content.
Understandably these packages are sold to people who do not possess the skills to judge whether they are getting value for money or not.
So, bear with me as I attempt to unpack how to see through ‘Social Media Fakery’:
- If you are approached by someone promising to boost your business via a Social Media Campaign be extremely cautious before lumping money down.
- Ask the company for ALL their internet properties – web site/s and all social media accounts
- Do a Google and Social Media search for the Company Name and their pay-off line – if the company does not even rank on the first page of results for those two then RUN.
- If they are starting out (as most of them are) then insist on a measurable being put in place – as you should be doing for the most highly recommended social media engineers as well.
- The measurable should be simply defined for the first three months – something like; “Increase my companies followers from x to xx WITHOUT the use of paid campaigns.”
- This is called organic growth and gets the most loyal followers.
- If you are promised a miracle in a short space of time – RUN. A well engineered campaign takes constant work and at least 12 months to gain traction and stability.
- If in doubt contact Alan Straton for a consultation and honest assessment.
Stop and ponder this – An effective social media (and Search Engine Optimisation strategy) involves the following:
- Unique Content
- Content and Images that help people and resonate emotionally with them
- Constant updating and publishing on a regular basis (these days you should be updating your web site and social media accounts at least TWICE a day)
- A long term definable strategy – more followers, more likes, an increase in queries, increase in phone calls, measurable increase in sales.
- A long term relationship of trust with the search engines.
- Once you have built up that trust through the generation of unique and timeous content on a regular basis you will find that the search engine bots ‘sit’ on your site continuously looking for new content.
- The GOLDEN RULE is to publish your UNIQUE and most VALUABLE content on YOUR web site first and only THEN distribute to social media. Your web site is YOUR space, controlled by you, whereas any social media site is only there ON LOAN to you – you don’t own that space and the social media web site depends on you providing content to support ADVERTISERS. You have no control over these advertisers who make money out of YOUR hard work.
One last point to ponder – The internet is a hungry machine demanding newer, faster, quicker content so, is the person you are looking to hire to run your internet marketing one who can; write and report properly, take photographs, has a good personal or business presence online, understands web design and can code, knows how to interpret your marketing messages effectively, can operate under pressure, has a good understanding of how to measure the effectiveness of the proposed campaigns and is trustworthy?