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Social Media Consultant Gone Bad… Real Bad!

iStock 000013693518XSmall Social Media Consultant Gone Bad... Real Bad! There are some things in life and business that don’t need a long introduction or fancy brand story before cutting to the chase. This blog post is one of them.

This week I received an email from a self proclaimed “social media expert.”  I’ve been subscribed to her email list for quite some time. To be honest I am not sure why I haven’t unsubscribed before now. I think it is because she always bugs me when I am at dinner and I forget about it until the next spam mail pops in my inbox.

On with the story… I opened the email and my eyeballs literally almost fell out of socket!

It was one of the worst emails I have seen from anyone in marketing, ever. No joke!

A social media smoking success gun?

This email promised a “smoking gun” to the fast track for social media success!

I couldn’t help but send her a reply and call her out on her scammin,’  dishonest ways. Read on to hear her response which is almost worse than the email itself.

I have copied a few screen captures below highlighting the wild social cowgirl tactics.  Enjoy and be careful. There are liars out there!

It’s important to note that this particular social media consultant has received local media attention in her geographical area. She positions herself as a social media expert who cares about and helps small businesses.

Worst Social Media Spam eMail this Side of Texas:

Note: I removed all content that will identify this wild social cowgirl. She can remain in hiding from all of you.

spam12 Social Media Consultant Gone Bad... Real Bad!

email23 Social Media Consultant Gone Bad... Real Bad!


email331 Social Media Consultant Gone Bad... Real Bad!

Just for fun, let’s dig a bit deeper into a few of her claims.

False Claims:

  • Twitter Followers are equivalent to a stamp of approval from any credible source? Seriously? False, sorry!
  • Conversion rate will dramatically be increased by a large Twitter following? Wow, does this mean we can just simply get a ton of Twitter followers and not have to worry about content? We can put an opt-in form on our website with a big graphic broadcasting how many Twitter followers we have and people are going to convert faster than we can tweet 140 characters? False – think again. 
  • Give website visitors a perceived sense of trust. She states “just take a look at how use on our site.”  Hmmm… as if the use of the word “perceived” isn’t bad enough she didn’t include a link to her site? False.
  • You will start ranking on the hundreds of Twitter related websites? What websites? What are these going to do for me and my business?
  • Increased traffic to your blog in the tens of thousands of visitors? Hmmm… well I have 72k+ Twitter followers and can tell you it has taken a lot more than a good tweet schedule to get my website traffic in the tens of thousands. False. 
  • She promotes ability to direct mail followers to promote your business. This is the only truthful statement made in the entire email. However, even though you can SPAM all of your Twitter followers with direct messages, I highly encourage you not to. Many people will automatically unfollow you if you do. I for one do not read spam DMs and would NEVER click on a link in such message.
  • Wow, what a deal! Purchase 5,000 Twitter followers for only $149.
  • You can also get 50% off of social media coaching and training until Friday. Purchase and listen to such advice at your own risk! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’!


Pam Contacts the Wild Social Media Consultant

I am not one to reply to bad, scammy, lying and annoying emails. I usually just delete & unsubscribe.  However, I couldn’t hold my fast typing iPhone fingers back.

I sent her a message blatantly calling her out for her scammy ways.

Her response? “I did it for one of my clients.”

Lessons for the Wise Social Cowboys & Cowgirls: 

  • There is no magic pill, magic ticket or free ride to success in social media and business.
  • You will not pass go, collect $200 or see the positive side of the ROI equation for any business metric based on tactics such as these.
  • Focus on building long term relationships. What happens to the business leaders who fall for her tactics one time? Do you think they’ll be back for a second time? Think they’ll tell their friends about her great services? My guess is NO.
  • Do you research. Trust your gut. If it seems to good to be true, chances are it is!
  • Don’t waste time looking for or learning tips and tricks sold as a smoking gun. Take the same time to build and execute a plan that will inspire and connect you with your audiences and help them meet their objectives. If you focus on the objectives of your audience and community, your objectives will be met by default.
  • Social media consultants, do not sell your social business soul to any partner, client or colleague for a few bucks. Your reputation, credibility and trust factor is everything. Without it you have, well, nothing!

 What You Say? 

Have you ever ran into or been taken advantage by wild folks like this? What did you do when you found out? What would you do if a client asked you to promote a product for them that was unethical or took advantage of unknowing business owners and leaders?  

Join The Conversation

  • Feb 20 Posted 5 years ago Mary Schmidt

    *Sigh*  More of what I call social media snake oil.  Those instant experts who popped up all over - It IS like the Wild West (and not in a good way, as you illustrate with this post). You'd think people would have caught on by now, but sadly, they've not done so.  Particularly in the small biz market.   Your list looks a lot like the one I give people (and have been for years, starting with web sites scamming.)

    Unfortunately, people want to hear it's simple, easy, magical.  For everything from losing weight (We couldn't say it on TV if it wasn't true!) to web site SEO to social media. 

    And don't get me started on the "creative agencies" who decided overnight they're now social media experts. They're some of the worst of the flim-flammers. 

    But WAIT THERE's MORE!  :)     

  • PamMoore's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago PamMoore

    Good points. Buying followers is definitely not going to help build connections and relationships. 

    The conversion rate comment was one of the worst. It is quite sad if people really believe such a statement. If yes, it shows how far the ecosystem has to go in education and learning. We've only just begun is the reality. 

  • PamMoore's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago PamMoore

    Good question.. however I'd have to vote for the oil maker ;) 

  • PamMoore's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago PamMoore

    Ha - love it! "Big hat... no horse!" That my friend is tweetable! ;)

  • PamMoore's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago PamMoore

    So true. I love your comment " turns traditional marketing on it's head." That's exactly what it does. Plus I'd probabaly add a few kartwheels & hand stands! ;) 

    Businesses must accept that the only thing guaranteed is change! The sooner they can embrace it and have fun on the journey, the better off they will be!  

  • AlisonCummings's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago AlisonCummings

    If  only the e-mail spam was entitled, "How to destroy your social media reputation using Twitter in four easy steps!" Her "strategy" couldn't be more effective.

  • ACummings's picture
    Feb 17 Posted 5 years ago alisonc

    Just got material for a blog post: "How to Destroy Your Social Media Reputation in Four Easy Steps, Starting With Twitter."

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago JaneWong

    Pam, Thank you, it's always great to read that others are made as uncomfortable by these kinds of claims. At times it makes my skin crawl. I am based in Australia and have stopped going to summits here and resist webinars because I am made nauseous by some of the dreadful things I hear. They used to hate me responding post speech in the Q&A sessions LOL

    Unfortunately the reason there is a place in the market for these kinds of consultants is that there are businesses who refuse to comprehend that social media turns traditional marketing on its head. They only respond to the kinds of things touted by these self-proclaimed experts.

    And the positive out-take is that they demonstrate how not to do things, which can be fruitiful in the form of 'don't go there' case studies for those of us who practice honestly and with due consideration for both the brand and the user.

    A wise client, the kind we all cherish, will never fall for these tacky gambits.

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago Stephen Ellzey

    Gotta say that cowgirls a perfect example of "Big hat....no horse"

  • zimpeterw's picture
    Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago zimpeterw

    Unfortunately, I have seen several similar claims, it seems the cowboys and girls have a global reach.

    From recent experiences at seminars with small business owners, there is a huge lack of awareness about social media and sadly this provides a fertile hunting ground for these gunslingers.

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago DonMedia

    I'm not sure which is worse, that there are pedlers of this snake oil or that companies are duped into believing their twaddle.

  • Feb 16 Posted 5 years ago Brendon Walker

    It took me almost 2 years to build a following of 1,000 on twitter...and I've engaged (at some point) with almost every single one of them.

    It's never about the numbers. It's always about the quality. I've advised many businesses...you would rather have 5 followers that are engaged with your business enough to purchase something, rather than 10,000 followers who purchase nothing and don't care who you are.

  • pandemicllc's picture
    Feb 15 Posted 5 years ago pandemicllc

    If there was a "Marketing Card" of some kind we all possessed as legitimate experts.... this consultant's should be REVOKED and cut into tiny little pieces... like a retail credit card post-xmas.

  • MorganBarnhart's picture
    Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago MorganBarnhart

    What really scares me is that she's positioning herself as an expert in her local area. I surely hope she doens't run her business the way that it sounded like she did in that email. Ugh! 

  • Jarreau Joseph Weber's picture
    Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago Jarreau Joseph Weber

    Perfect example of why social media consultants get a bad rap.

  • Joshua Lyons's picture
    Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago Joshua Lyons

    Wow... incredible.

    Thanks for sharing that story.

  • Joshua Lyons's picture
    Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago Joshua Lyons

    Wow... incredible.

    Thanks for sharing that story.

  • Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago Bruno Pierre Ge...


    Thank you for your accurate summary! I get also nervous about some of those "altruistic" webinars that turn out to be webmercials if anything else. I am fairly new at Social Media and learning that every Valuable Twitter Follower has to be earned with selflessness and courage! Even on this side of the pond where things are slightly different (I am a French citizen living in Germany) we come accross self-advertised heroes that mostly know lots about "lusting after gain"! The real and genuine community out there is a sharing and giving one with an altruistic attitude that coins real leaders with a shining badge of hono(u)r! People like you, who work very hard to keep up with all the developments, that are unfolding at the speed of light and also struggling to stay ahead in order to offer content, solutions and advise to our community but also to potential clients! Does not God's Word say: Give and it shall be given unto you? Thank you for setting the record straight.

  • Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago thumbprintmkt

    Thank you for sharing this and calling her out. It's people like her that keep people from trusting Social Media Consultants. 

    When someone calls themselves a "social media expert" I usually twinge because I highly doubt they are. 



  • Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago OptimumBizSup

    What a great article - I have seen it far too often people professing to be an "expert" yet don't even have a Twitter or Facebook account?!  It is not an overnight success, it isn't going to make you millions, it is a small acorn that requires much attention, nurturing and constant love!  And the old adage "Content is king", but also know what you want to achieve, choose the right social channel for your business, be prepared to invest time and measure, adjust, measure, adjust.  I just really love social media and how it connects people from all over the world.  Thanks for sharing.  Janine 

  • stephendale's picture
    Feb 13 Posted 5 years ago stephendale

    Good on you for exposing these snake-oil salesmen (and women). It's unfortunate that the marketing, sales and comms contingent are giving social media a bad name. It's not about numbers, its about building relationships. In fact I'll directly challenge one of the quoted points from the originator of your "spam" message: " Conversion rate will dramatically be increased by a large Twitter following". In fact, that is one of the criteria that I use to NOT follow people. If I see someone has 30, 40, 50 thousand followers, I know that they're trying to sell me something rather than building any sort of relationship, and will not follow them back. 

    I hope the originator of the email will learn something from this interchange.

  • Feb 12 Posted 5 years ago Cristinapuig

    I totally agree with you. No strategy that has worked for a customer is going to work for everybody else. in Sapin we are having lots of examples similar to what you have just explained.


  • Feb 12 Posted 5 years ago DavidALee


    It certainly is amazing to hear stories like this and it is sad that there are people who don't know better.  Very few people deserve to be called an expert at social media.  Even among the experts how many would have forcasted the recent new star, Pininterest?  How many experts can predict social patterns a year from now?  I'm content to have the title "Perpetual Student of Social Media."  

    Thanks for sharing!



  • AmandaHill's picture
    Feb 12 Posted 5 years ago AmandaHill

    Wow... someone needed to look at what she was preaching... there is usually a time a place for most things but it took effort to be quite so silly... welcome to the new world of transparency and sharing...

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