It is such a shame this question needs to be asked, but after regularly seeing so many examples of questionable ethics, it just cannot be helped. This will be a two-part series.
Welcome to Part 1!
The ‘Social Media Expert’ & Training Providers
I recently assisted a client who was seeking a Social Media Manager to add to their team. Over 25% of the people who applied claimed they were ‘Certified’ or ‘very experienced’ in Social Media, and had completed training to be able to offer this service.
Here’s the thing….These applicants were using a recently created secondary Facebook profile “for their business.” More than one of them even had in the info section of their profile – “Welcome to my Business Account” or “This is my Business Profile”.
This raised a few questions…..
#1 Do these individuals actually have training in Social Media Management?
Lesson number TWO of the training I participated in was (please excuse that I am paraphrasing):
Learn the Terms of Service of each platform like the back of your hand. Know what is permitted and what is not, and what is considered ‘best practice’ as you will expected to properly advise your clients. As a business owner and service provider, you are liable for the advice you provide so make sure to return back and read them again at least a couple of times a year. This will ensure you remain up-to-date with any changes.
#2 How does a ‘Certified Social Media Expert’ NOT know that having more than one profile goes against Facebook’s terms of service?
#3 How does a trained Social Media Manager NOT know that using a Profile solely for business purposes is also against FB’s terms? Some of them didn’t even HAVE a business page – instead they were using this secondary profile as their business page.
A Social Media Manager that doesn’t have a business page?
The assumption we immediately came to was these individuals were not being truthful about their background, experience and/or training taken. If they don’t know the most basic fundamentals of Social Media Management, how could they possibly be expected to advise clients properly on other aspects & best practices? To test this theory – we asked a few of them if they had any issue with accessing the client’s personal account to post & comment as them, and in effect “impersonate” the client. Sadly – not ONE took issue with this request. They were not aware that providing services such as this was yet another violation of FB’s Terms and would put the client’s account, profile, business pages, groups and FB ad accounts at risk. Obviously – none of these candidates were going to be the right fit.
Unfortunately though, there is another scenario that could apply.
Perhaps the training some of these individuals invested in was created by someone who had no knowledge or experience themselves. And there is more and more of this cropping up daily. With the explosion of YouTube, low-cost Udemy training courses on just about everything, and so many individuals with little to no experience at all developing training programs to use as passive income from PLR Content (PLR = Private Label Rights). Unless you already have some knowledge of the subject matter – you probably wouldn’t realize poor advice was being espoused even though it was staring you right in the face.
So what can you do if you’re looking to start working with someone or take a training program offered?
- VET the VA/Virtual Service Provider thoroughly. Look at their SM profiles, business pages, website etc. If they claim they’re an experienced web designer but their website is a free WordPress.com, Wix or Weebly site, you may want to keep looking. If they claim they’re a Social Media Manager/Expert or a FB or Google Ads Specialist – ask them where they obtained their training and ask them how long that training program was….(i.e. if they learned in just a couple of hours – again – you may want to keep right on looking.) Get references, verify testimonials are real, look at portfolios and ask questions someone experienced would know the answers to.
- Investigate ANY training provider carefully. How long have they been in business? What is their overall background when it comes to work experience, their education or evidence of recent training they’ve taken themselves? Are they making claims that cannot be backed up? i.e. if they only just started their business and have no real-world experience in what they’re teaching – you may want to keep searching.) Or if they offer something complex like Infusionsoft training in 4 hours for $99 – RUN. For training in this you want an actual Infusionsoft-trained, certified instructor.
- If either the service/training being provided has even the slightest potential of putting your business at risk – ask them if they carry Liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance. (Note: names for this insurance may vary by country.) You can rest a little easier knowing that the person you’ve contracted or are being trained by has this coverage in place.
I’ll close out part one of this series with a favourite quote:
If you think it’s expensive hire a professional to do the job,
wait until you hire an amateur.” ~ Red Adair