Incompetency & Fakeness Is Amplified in the Digital World
In a world where the existing jobs are fewer than the many people who need them, many people will do all it takes to secure jobs, compete, over-promise, lie and come across as someone they are not to get ahead.
This is faking incompetency.
I work predominately on the world wide web.
This is mostly an unregulated open field for anyone and everyone to claim themselves as experts.
I am going to go out there and say it – there are a ton of fakers or con artists out there on the internet.
Over the years, they have become so good, that it is getting really hard to spot the difference.
Too many for my liking that I had to write this article on how to avoid them when dealing with digital marketing agencies.
A ton of the crypto stuff that has launched is too unregulated and has too many scammers out there. I am not a crypto hater. I like the technology and believe it has massive potential. I even wrote about it here.
But I don’t like the marketing tactics used to sell to the masses who do not know anything about investing in the first place.
I get many of the benefits of blockchain technology. It is new and there are benefits to it, but practices are being advertised with ‘pump and dump’ schemes and too many weird celebrities swearing by it.
We have Matt Damon (who I actually respect as a person) going after promoting Crypto.com.
This is fine but the question becomes how much of Matt Damon’s money is in this technology?
And how much of his paycheques as of late are coming from Crypto.com?
I doubt we will know – but Matt is making money from being an influencer figure on Crypto.com as a brand play. How much of his fortune is invested in this technology?
Image: Video On YouTube
He does not know enough about trading, and finance to make the claims about the fortune favouring the brave implying its crypto is a safe bet to fortunes.
He is a great actor. I mean, I love Goodwill Hunting!
But to manage his finances, he hires smart professionals and credible people. Professionals with real experience that he holds to account.
Taking financial advice on Crypto from Matt Damon is like taking religious advice from Tom Cruise.
They are vested financially in the success of what they are selling and using their influence to create hype for a bigger payday. They are also directly getting paid to use their influence and earn a paycheque.
That should be screaming buyer beware.
But the way this incompetence or con is sold is quite an elaborate job and even the best of us can get hoaxed.
Many are considered illegal in the regulated trading market in North America within the crypto market.
Here is a great article on Time.com that breaks out such a scam:
Image Source: Time.com Article
This is just one example. However, these “experts” exist in every industry.
I am also not saying that there are good people with expertise and talent who should not be online and teach the world about the area they specialize in.
There are just too many dangers on the internet and the world is becoming fuzzy on what is right or fair play. It is getting harder and harder to determine what is legit out there.
Yes, the internet is powerful.
Yes, we can make tangible differences so business leaders can take the results to the bank with our efforts, campaigns, and projects.
But the risk goes the other way also. If we are not careful and put good people behind supporting our clients, we can waste a lot of dollars for them very quickly.
Many of the clients that come to us have been burned by bad digital agencies.
What do I mean by incompetency or faking it?
Simply put, it is the lack of ability, whether intellectual or physical and qualifications, by extension, to perform a task satisfactorily.
There are lifestyle bloggers, fitness bloggers, sales YouTubers, health advisors, marketing experts and productivity hackers across all social media.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe education is critical.
I am a teacher, an actual instructor (a great local college in Toronto – Georgian @iLAC), a mentor and a business leader. Most importantly, I am a parent. I value good education as much as anyone.
But if you do not know how to spot incompetency or malicious intent, you can fall victim to bad advice or worse consequences if you act upon it.
Many credible professionals are doing great work. They cite their resources. They share where they get their stats from. They showcase their qualifications. They can prove their years in the profession. They have a successful track record of working hard and delivering hard results.
These are not the people I am talking about.
I am talking about people who do not know and act as they do – all to con the other person into doing business with them.
The self-professed gurus just started to act like they have been doing it for a long time.
All to get some kind of monetary gain without having any of the above-mentioned ‘credentials’ or know-how.
Incompetent people can sell and mask their incompetence and get:
- Better paying jobs
- Closing more deals
- Selling more
- Get an audience and thereby able to influence people
- Overpromise and underdeliver
This has created a whole host of problems already in many trades.
It’s also true in digital marketing.
Over 50% of Instagram influencers were involved in some form of social media fraud – a study done by Hype Auditor.
That is more than half the influencers out there are fake or use shady means to showcase their reach.
Image Source: PR Week
The fakers and incompetent predators waste hard-earned dollars for business leaders.
The internet is still in its infancy and we are still in the wild wild west.
The internet with its unregulated and open platform has made it easy for brands to con or fake their way to growth.
Social platforms do not care as long as they have people using their platforms so advertising can be shown to the masses. It is in their interest to keep people hooked on their platform as long as possible.
I would say that they would even benefit from it. The more people the better.
Image Source: CBC News
This allowed misinformation to rise to new levels and there was a call from lawmakers to find a way to curb this activity online.
It is a buyer-beware kind of world out there.
Viewers, buyers, and in general people need to think more
The viewer has a shared responsibility in this. As I said, buyer beware flags should be going off when things look too easy and too much is promised.
That means you and I have a responsibility for this.
The mortgage crisis in the USA from Asset-Backed Securities was not possible if it was not for the collaboration from the general public accepting those terms and loans.
Many people are impressionable.
I think of my mum and I worry about what scam she may fall victim to because she is not as apt in the world of technology the way many are.
I get weird chain mail and WhatsApp forwards from her and my uncles!
I think she is always on Marketplace (is it only me or any other mums spending too much time on this exchange?).
Just like writing a letter to your municipal, provincial, or federal representative, complain to these social media platforms regularly.
Write about them. Write to them. Tweet about them and tag them.
Give them feedback and don’t allow them to take advantage of you.
It’s these complaints that allow for change to happen. Or unfortunately, a negative serious outcome or event occurs that creates a public outcry (with many suffering).
How To Help Find A Good Digital Marketing Partner
As you know from my profile, I work in the world of marketing. I own and run a digital agency.
I can do my part and share ways for brands, and business leaders to help stay away from preying on pretenders.
If someone says that they will rank your page on the first page of Google in a week or 3 days – please stop talking to them.
If someone says your organic traffic will change your sales immediately – say no thank you to them and move on.
If someone says making hundreds of pages of complex Web Design & Development is like making a PowerPoint presentation, then you now know to keep looking.
These are overpromising agencies that hurt credible agencies in the industry.
Stay away from players making such promises.
Before taking any agency on after these initial filters of over-promises are passed, ask them to elaborate on the below questions.
These simple questions should be asked every time you work with any expert or any professional but especially in the digital marketing industry.
- How many years of business have you been in?
- What area of specialization do you or your team members specifically have? Any certificates and credentials you can share?
- Can we see samples of your past work?
- Can we talk to your past references for your past work?
- Can you share the exact reason why your past 3 clients left you?
These five questions are simple but so overlooked. Please do yourself a favour and go through these simple questions in a relatively detailed manner or risk taking a chance on burning your marketing budget dollars away.
A worse outcome can be a hit to your brand reputation that can take years to repair or get you in legal liabilities.
I especially like the last question. Make sure to get a good feel of why agencies lost their last few clients. If you are getting danger signals – then move on to the next option.
Stay safe out there
People fake incompetency for various reasons, including fitting in, securing jobs, and winning promotions and contracts.
Fortunately, most cannot fake this for long since the reality finally reveals itself.
But people do get burned along the way.
I hope the questions above help you ensure that you have good people working for you when it comes to digital marketing.
From a start-up helping local small businesses, over a span of 5 years, Usman has built Web Worx Labs to be a leading provider of digital marketing solutions that employs 15+ full-time employees and has customers in over 30 countries.
Outside of work and his passion for all things digital, Usman is a proud father of three, loves running and is an avid reader.
Follow Usman on LinkedIn or Twitter as he is always sharing tips on strategy, branding, marketing and analytics.