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Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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Facebook WhoresFacebook is a great communication tool for car dealers as they can stay connected to their existing customers and meet new customers by providing value. When done properly, they become a Trust Agents as described by Chris Brogan in his book with the same title.

With this great opportunity so comes spammers and scammers.  Companies have found that many business owners, including car dealers, don't want to invest in social media.  They would rather create INSTANT Facebook and Twitter fans to increase their "counts", regardless of the quality of those followers.

A Lesson I Learned: When someone you don't know asks to be a friend, be careful on who you accept.  

On June 29, 2010, I accepted Dayna Jaqeline as a friend. Since that time I have received over 10 recommendations that I "like" various businesses on Facebook. Today I noticed this one-way pattern of communications from this new "friend".

Dayna Jaqueline, or whoever this person really is, is part of an automated scheme to increase Facebook fans for a fee. Companies create these fake accounts or alternatively hire people to invite themselves into someones Facebook account and then use that doorway to solicit fans.

This is a becoming a big business especially since car dealers are being led into believing that more is better. So, they pay a fee ranging up to $1,000 to get a few thousands fans and accounts like Dayna Jaqueline whore out their influence to drive traffic and fans.

If my experience is any indication of the quality of communications these pay services offer, I would recommend that less is more.  It is the quality of your network that really matters in the end.

Facebook Whores

Should call this Facebook Prostution and Jacqueline is a Facebook Whore?

If you look at the 10+ requests that this account has solicited me in the past 8 days, you can infer that this person is pushing their influence for pay. What do you think? Would you send your friends requests every day to be friends with the companies you like best?

It's a shame that  good businesses are now associated with Facebook Whores. I will be sure to post this article on their walls to let them know the type of crap they are involved with.  Do you want your dealership associated with Facebook Prostitution?

Here are some of the companies that were solicited by Dayna Jaqueline in the past 7 days:

  • Drake Institute
  • Tryst Bingo
  • Unlimited Twitter Followers *
  • Vizio Optic Eyeglasses & Sunglasses
  • MPB Today
  • Quick Creations
  • Roxanne Emery
  • Infused Web | Print | Design
  • Hypnotist Ian Stewart
  • DreamTemplate

* Also notice that Dayna was promoting Unlimited Twitter Followers...mmmmmm It looks like she also participates or encourages paid Twitter fan programs as well.

Advice on Building Facebook Fans

So, here is a word of advice. If someone offers to increase your Twitter and Facebook followers, and the methods are not clearly explained, run away. In this one case, Dayna Jacqeline is turning my Facebook inbox into the same spam junk that we experience with our email.

This is a discouraging twist in Facebook and of course I reported her to Facebook. It just takes time and effort just like the time it takes to review your spam inbox.

Kristen Judd
Nice post Brian. It is a shame that the more is more mentality is still so prevalent. Who cares if you have thousands of FB "likers" and tens of thousands of email addresses if there is no engagement and interactivity? It is far better to have a tighter community of engaged users than pure numbers.
Timothy Martell
Well it seems Brian has decided to take a shot at me for some unknown reason. I am offering a service like this to dealers. I became involved with this after having tremendous success at my own dealership, Marlboro Nissan, by employing a similar strategy to the one Brian somewhat misrepresents in this post. So lets address the misrepresentation first. There is nothing "automated" about how this strategy works. No scripts or programming us used to contact fans. It is all done manually. While this example of Dayna Jaqelyn may or may not be a fictitious account, if the people using this account are running their networks like I run mine, the thousand or so friends of this alleged phony are all legitimate fans. I also wonder, Brian, what is this experience you speak of from which you draw the conclusion that less is more as it pertains to facebook fans? I am not aware of any high fan count pages to which you admin. And why the use of defamatory language for a service that someone is selling? When referenced PCG as a company trying to scam the consumer by misleading them into submitting leads to dealers during cash for clunkers, I recall a very different stance from you. Should we say that PCG is a blogging whore? Or the AAN a link building whore? Or a content whore? After all you are utilizing an automated system to duplicate templated content hundreds of times over in an attempt to game the system to create an SEO advantage aren't you? Geez, I guess by Brian's contention it is a shame that good businesses like myself are associated with Content and Link building Whores! I wonder why it is that someone else who has also discovered a way to game a system before PCG doesn't make Pasch's "sniff test"? I would also ask what Brian's criteria is for a "quality" follower? Isn't a legitimate fan on facebook who made the conscious choice to like your page a quality follower regardless of the medium by which the follower was exposed to the brand? Social Media cannot be viewed the same way as traditional marketing. I live in Massachusetts. Does that mean that I would not be a quality fan of a local business in Florida or California because I reside in MA? What about my circle of influence? I have friends who live in CA, FL, TX, NJ (at least I thought I had friends in NJ) WA, Aruba, UAE... All over the world! Why wouldn't a business want me as a fan!? Marlboro Nissan's first facebook post was on May 5th, 2009. From that time until Jan of 2010 we managed to accumulate a whopping 125 fans. And sourced an impressive $0 as a result of "engaging" fans on FB. Sometime in about Feb of this year I uncovered this system of driving fans to our fan pages. With just shy of 6,000 fans since that time our store has conservatively tracked $50,000 in gross sales. Much of which has been in the service dept. So I find that spending the couple thousand dollars to populate our pages to have been of tremendous value. I have also been a staunch supporter of PCG and used Brian's services for several years now. We have had MANY successful initiatives. Some that have failed as well. We've spent many thousands of dollars with PCG. I would hardly call Brian a whore for charging for his services. I think the REAL issue here is that this is viewed as being akin to spam. Although I think flooding search engines with thousands of pages of content that has no real value other than to help those dealers who pay to have that content falls well within the same domain, I concede that fan population is a new kind of spam. I know, we all hate spam. We all hate telemarketers. We all hate junk mail... But lets face it. If it didn't work and people weren't willing to spend money on the results it generates it would simply go away. We live in a capitalist society. The market dictates what is and is not valuable. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying quantity is a substitute for quality. But both is a winning combination. Come on people, this is America. Less is seldom more. Social Proof is not a new thing. Remember all the ridiculous clothes you wore in high school? How about the awful haircuts that cam in and out of style? Remember why we did those things? Because everyone else was doing it! Would you rather join a page with 35 fans or one with 3,500? Oh and one last food for thought. Facebook is going to be introducing a rule (could be tomorrow, could be next year) that penalizes fan pages with fewer than 10,000 fans. So here's my word of advice to Brian. Before you go on a rant about someone else who beat you to the punch on something that generates revenue. Do your homework. Or at least call it what it really is. You were just annoyed that you got duped into being a target and didn't like all the page suggestions. Hey it happens to all of us. Get over it! Brian, did you forget? We all sell for a living!
Jared Hamilton
Tim - you bring up some REALLY interesting points. Ill pick out a few that really struck me: First: $50,000 in sales from facebook. Congrats and a job well done. We are connected on facebook and Im a fan of your store - you obviously are doing some things very well. I think the large question here is When is social media automation ok? Where is the line of acceptable and not? With all this stuff being new, what is acceptable in customers minds has not been figured out yet. For me, Facebook is a personal medium on one hand, and a business communication tool on the other. For that reason I manage two accounts (Technically against facebook rules) I want to connect with friends and business associates and not robots. HOWEVER - that being said I can see totally see the value of automating friend recommendations to others, after all you are connecting with real people who become real fans. Automating friend requests, and automating posts and people are two totally different things and where the line should be drawn is not clear yet in the market... except by facbooks rules it technically would all be banned. I would just always err on the side of caution, these are real people and negative blowback can be devastating. Im curious to hear more about the process you employ. So then... is the answer it is ok from a marketing perspective to automate friend requests but not posts or content? Can you outsource anyt of this. (Im not much a fan of outsourced soc media... its not genuing, but that is from a content perspective, not a friend request perspective.) The social media purist in me says NO automation is best. The marketer in me says to look for ways to increase ROI ethically... It will be interesting to hear other people debate these points. I think in the end it will come down to a cultural thing, what will the masses on facebook accept as "ok." I think it will be interesting as this shakes out, and as always, everyone will still be left to their own opinion in the end, and each must live with their own decisions. What is better more or less followers? - I think this debate comes down to quality and your goals. Not all social strategies have the same objectives, and thus should not be executed the same. The point is, fans is not the end objective... the 50k in sales you have racked up is (or to some building a better brand or to some increasing SEO value, or to some creating a feedback channel...lots of different ways to skin the soc media cat) Too often dealers make the mistake of thinking they are soc media rock stars by collecting 1000 spam accounts as fans. This does no good and its a shame they are lured into a false sense of security. Really, in this instance 500 highly engaged fans would be better. So I guess in the end the number of fans is, as kristen said, its about engagement. That comes down to the right fans and the right content. You take a bold position Tim, i respect that. Your comments about "we all hate junk mail, but its acceptable marketing and people do it because it works" represents an interesting struggle the marketer in each of us has to face. As you can tell by my comment, you've got me thinking in a million different directions. Id love to hear the thoughts of some others out there in DrivingSales land.
Alex Snyder
Tim - how are you tracking your facebook conversions in the service drive?
Timothy Martell
Mostly via anecdote, but we post a facebook only fan special oil change. We ran $4.95, $7.95, and $9.95 oil change specials to dial in how much we could charge and really get a volume of responses. Right now I have moved it back up to $14.95. The idea is of course to build rapport, do soft upsell, but mostly to get people trained in being a repeat customer. It wasn't hard to track the oil change specials. I suspect we are getting far more business than we're actually able to track due to the difficult nature of tracking this medium.

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