This is part 4 of 5 of my “Getting My Learn On” series. I’ll be focusing on lessons that you probably learned in kindergarten and how they can apply to your business practices today. Check back every Friday for the next edition in the series.
A side note as I sit down to write this article, the Blagojevich verdict is just now breaking news (writing this on Monday afternoon 6/27). Ironic as I begin my article on cheating..
I was a cheater throughout school. I admit it – I snuck by where I could. French tests, I had note sheets. AP Calculus, I bought a TI-92 that does any math equation I ask it to. I took the easy road when it was available.
Of course, it did me no good when I got to college and lacked the ability to focus, study or have interest in classes. That and my lack of certitude (love that word – thanks Anthony Wiener) of what major I wanted to be in and what I wanted to do with my life contributed heavily to my 7 year, Tommy Boy-like run of a college career.
Since then, I’ve learned my lessons. I’ve seen my peers and elders alike fall to their knees after being caught cheating. Cheating at marriage, cheating in business and cheating in life. Very few people get away with it for long – and if you are able to get away with it, you are constantly looking over your shoulder.
In social media, web design and internet marketing, it isn’t any different. Cheating may get you along faster, but not better.
Take for example the auto-follow bots on Twitter. I’ve seen accounts with less than 10 tweets and well over 1,000 followers. Are they really that interesting? I don’t think so. Creating a following on social media takes quality content over a certain amount of time. It also takes work offline to make your name/brand a success. One of the things I preach to my clients and have heard some of the more successful marketers mirror is that your work offline is much more important than your work online. If you are a restaurant and you start providing poor service – you’ll lose those 2,500 twitter followers pretty quick.
How about web traffic? There are many companies out there that tell you that they can bring you 10,000+ visitors/day to your site for just dollars a day. What good are those 10,000 people on your site if they weren’t interested in what you were selling in the first place? SEO is becoming a commonly used term among business people that don’t really grasp the idea of having a good web site in place that will naturally bring in good traffic. SEO isn’t a button you can turn on and traffic will start flowing through your site.
Bottom line – be careful out there. I’ve seen too many charlatans out there lately to just openly trust anyone for their word. Just like any purchase – do your research, talk to their clients, look at their work and then talk to the business about what they can do for you. Sooner or later, they’ll get caught. But don’t let them get you before then.