Social Media Marketing: Fake It or Make It?


Recently, a potential client sent my colleague, with whom I’d be collaborating, an email with a link and name. The body of the email read ““what do you think and what can you do differently?”

Apparently, the link was this client’s way of showing us who our potential competition for the social media marketing services could be.


Rather than offer a knee-jerk response, or list the reasons of why we’re that much better, I decided to take the high road and conduct some good old-fashioned competitive research.


Five minutes of trolling and googling was all it took. Her claims to fame were nothing more than smoke and mirrors. No active social profiles. NONE!



The few links that existed were all dead!


Competition over. Game. Set. Match.


People much greater than me have already handled the issues of gurus, ninjas and experts.

I know my place. And I know what works. I also know what doesn’t.


Just because you use Facebook, or any other platform, for personal consumption does not mean you can put that on your resume.


There’s a skill set involved along with a sense of responsibility. Representing and constantly engaging with customers and serving as the virtual face of any brand is no small feat.

For all those entrepreneurs, CEO’s, Executive Directors out there who are still  (?!) searching for a good social media marketer, here’s a list of indicators to help you distinguish between those that get it and those that don’t.




First: a video by Gary Vaynerchuk, who nails it by saying that 99.5% of social media experts are clowns offers a good starting point.



Tips to Distinguish the Good from the…

  • Proven track-record
  • Case studies with recent clients: what was done, what were the objectives, success metrics, lessons learned (this is important)
  • Active and Visible Digital Footprint: personal or corporate blog, guest blogging, active and engaging presence on various social media platforms
  • Experience (beyond social media) in niche market or industry
  • Strategic thinking or creative approaches to solving problems
  • If social media is being used only as a means to self-promote, while ignoring the critical factor of engagement, comment on pages, etc, that’s a pretty good indicator that they lack a certain understanding of the field.
  • Guaranteeing success: if anyone commits to that, at any level, and suggests that social media marketing is the golden ticket, stay far away. I wrote about that. Social media does not replace other marketing efforts it complements and enhances those other critical elements.
  • General Faker: claims to be a general social media expert and lacks a specialist area of expertise. It’s impossible to be an expert in all of them.

Social media is moving in lightning speed, but it is still in its infancy. It is an ever changing field. The fundamentals of ‘classic’ marketing still apply and need to be carefully considered every step of the way.  

My humility prevents me from labeling myself with any of the titles mentioned above. The way I see it, my job is to bring my A game to every client. By working with small businesses and nonprofits to better craft, communicate and implement their online marketing strategy. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep on honing my skills and stick to the title social media strategist or consultant and I’ll let my work prove itself.

Have you had any ‘fakers’ approach you? Leave a comment about your experiences.

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  • This post is EXCELLENT. As I always tell people, “Just because you have had a Twitter account for 20 minutes does not make you certified social media expert”.

    I think it’s great to use social media for “personal consumption”, but you also need to have the training and/or experience to use social media as a marketing tool.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    • Thanks for commenting always interested in a guest post

  • Great article and nice run down. I see and meet fakers online and at local networking events all the time. Just give them time…5 minutes with them and they show their true colors. I will share this!

    • Thanks dorien for reading and for sharing!