Watch for digital snake-oil salesmen
In light of Facebook’s impending IPO, there’s a lot of chatter about whether they’re worth the mythical $100 billion dollars that experts are estimating.
I’m not sure they’ll make it to that milestone before they go public, but in this case, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and Facebook IPOs. Seriously, is anyone going to downplay them if they’re only worth $90 billion?
Back in reality where most of us don’t deal in billions, the question remains: What is Facebook worth to your business? The right answer is “You get out of it what you put in.”
The landscape is flooded with so-called experts who want to teach you how to put Facebook to work for you in five minutes a day, or once a week or with some nominal amount of effort. The reality is it’s just not possible to get value out of a service without putting time, energy and effort into it.
I label these “experts” as digital snake-oil salesmen. It’s quite an ingenious scam, actually. They’re asking you to pay them to teach you how to get a free lunch. How many free lunches have you had lately?
The value of Facebook (and all of the other social media players) is its ability to facilitate connections between people. Some of the people already know each other, and some are strictly digital friendships. In both cases, the value comes from the relationship. If you put in five minutes a week, can you expect to have meaningful interactions with your “friends?”
I don’t want to come off as overly cynical. There are a lot of legitimate resources, experts and teachers who are on the up-and-up. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between legitimate proponents and con-artists, especially when the frontier of technology is moving so fast.
There has to be some way to differentiate the signal from the noise.
That brings me to third-party service providers who offer to handle your Facebook presence for you (full disclosure: I fall into this category depending on when you ask me). There is nothing inherently wrong with sourcing your social networking presence. However it can be dangerous if you’re not on the same page with the vendor you choose.
One of my favorite quotes is from Eames: “Don’t delegate understanding.”
When you delegate understanding, in business or in anything else, you are placing your success or failure on the shoulders of someone else. If you get six months into a social media campaign and your vendor is under-delivering, or worse, skips town, then you’re left to start from zero. That’s valuable time that
can really impact your bottom line.
Nobody walks around these days saying “Wow, I have so much free time!” I get it. It might feel like you don’t have enough time to learn about Facebook, Internet trends, etc. You have to make time. Even if you source that work to someone else, you need to understand on some level what they’re doing for you.
It’s tough for a professional to keep his/her finger on the pulse when they’ve got inventory, clients, customers, employees and about 100 billion other things to worry about. But if you don’t find some time to fit social media into that mix, you might as well put your money elsewhere because there’s no silver bullet.
Original article written by Jesse Bushkar for The Savannah Morning News.