I was compelled to write a politically correct article about SEO and Social Media "sales" in response to an email I received from a prospect that I met at the 7th Digital Dealer Conference in Nashville.
Out of professional respect, I have omitted the direct party names in this article.
My prospect that was interested in the services that my company offered. This week they balked at signing a contract because their OEM encouraged them to sign with "Company X". The OEM applied some pressure to my prospect through their relationship, which is not uncommon in the automotive industry.
The the end result was that my prospect was very confused at what to do. They asked for help.
When I received an email saying that they were considering "Company X" for SEO and Social Media I was taken back for a minute. I never heard about "Company X" in the past nor have I seen them at a recent trade show.
My prospect asked that I give him my opinion on the company. It's hard to be objective in this case, but I decided to try.
So, I Googled the name of "Company X" and smiled. There were no social media accounts showing on Google page one or two. There were no press releases promoting "Company X". There were no blog posts on SEO or Social Media strategies. Their SEO tags on their own websites were incomplete and lacked insight into how the search engines worked. Their website had a Google PageRank of Zero.
So I shared these basic facts with my prospect and revealed that the "King Had No Clothes".
I am writing about this experience because in the past few days I have heard a number of stories that are very sad. In effect, the "automotive industry" has allowed dealers to be scammed by companies that don't practice what they preach.
Can a company with 200 followers on Twittter claim to be social media experts? Is setting up a Facebook account qualify someone as a Social Media expert?
In fact today I was told a story from one social media vendor that sold a "bill of goods" to a company to manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts. When my associate asked the company executive "Who is going to respond to any questions on Facebook?" the executive responded, "Why do we need to do that?".
It looks like some companies are selling "shiny objects' and not explaining the commitment that social media engagement entails.
The point of this post is that it seems that many companies have become "Social Media" experts in addition to "Internet Marketing" experts overnight.
Before you engage with any company, I urge you to make sure that they practice what they preach. Take the time to see what real experience they have and what Google shows as their track record.
I'm a content SEO advocate and I write about five articles a week on automotive marketing. I practice what I preach. I use SEO for lead generation for my company and spend very little on paid advertising and have more work coming in each week organically. I practice what I preach.
As new media outlets and consultants pop up on the radar, just make sure that they practice what they preach. I welcome competent competition.
I have no idea why this OEM would support a company that had "no clothes". I can only imagine that they did not know how to inspect their claims.
Just don't fall into the same trap.