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How to Learn Social Media Without Getting Scammed

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It seemed like a great deal—at least, he did his best to make it look like one.

This February Austin McBroom, former college basketball star and patriarch of YouTube‘s ACE Family, launched an online social media course. “How I Became a Millionaire”—or HIBM—promised to reveal the tips and tricks that had earned McBroom—as well as his wife Catherine Paiz and their three children—19 million subscribers from 621 videos in five years.

‘How to Make Money from Social Media’ and ‘How to Grow Your Social Media Platforms’ weren’t tautologies but classes, priced at $50 per month.

“To have all these courses,” a sun-kissed McBroom declared from the steps of his cake-tin California home in a promotional video, “you must join now. You only have 24 hours.”

Problems appeared almost immediately. The HIBM website reportedly refused some applicants’ cards and crashed entirely for others. McBroom allegedly failed to show for webinars and private chats he’d promised as part of the course.

How i became a millionaire scandal

Several articles, like the link above, and YouTube videos accused McBroom of running a scam. At the time of writing, the How I Became a Millionaire website was not accepting any new members, and the Instagram post announcing the scheme had been deleted.

McBroom’s is a particularly egregious example of social media courses that are accused of being flops, or outright scams. Jake Paul’s “Financial Freedom Movement” ($20/month) has faced similar ridicule. But as social media and personal branding pervade an increasing number of roles and industries, getting a professional-level handle on social media has become table-stakes for many professionals, and the number of courses promising to teach them the secret to social seem to be multiplying.

According to analyst Markets and Markets, social media management will be a $41.6 billion market globally by 2026, while the whole of digital marketing will be worth around ten times more. Little wonder everyone from individuals like McBroom to institutions like UC Berkeley promise ways to master social media.

Sorting the good from the bad and the downright ugly can seem a daunting task. But for those looking to up their social media skills, there are ways to learn—and lots of red flags to look out for.

How to filter out social media scams

First, the ugly. These are the scams, the digital flimflam men and women peddling little more than cookie-cutter copy and Lamborghini dreams. Watch out for e-books that promise you’ll earn cash while you sleep. Almost nobody can simply be present on social media and watch the dollars roll in.

Social media management will be a $41.6 billion market globally by 2026, while the whole of digital marketing will be worth around ten times more.

“We just get bombarded by viral content constantly, which makes it seem very accessible, and very achievable,” says Andrea Jones, an Ontario-based social media strategist. “And it can be. But for a lot of business owners and content creators, we are going to spend time building up our audience slowly, for years and years, before we get close to a viral moment.”

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“Some people do think they’re going to go into a course and be internet famous,” she adds. “That’s just not the case for most businesses.”

There are three common scams that consumers should watch out for:

1. The live fake-out

One of the seedier social media guru scams is the live fake-out. This is when the creator may offer a paid “live” webinar that is in fact pre-recorded and remote. Students believe they’re getting real-time knowledge, but instead, they’re receiving boilerplate advice, often delivered through the kind of cold-calling techniques employed by professional mediums.

For example, a presenter may begin the class by addressing the attendees as if they are live, and seemingly respond to questions in the comments. However, if you pay attention closely, the whole show is pre-recorded, and there’s no actual real-time interaction.

“Some people do think they’re going to go into a course and be internet famous. That’s just not the case for most businesses.”

Telltale signs could be an oddly-timed, “Hey guys, let’s learn how to make a boss Facebook post,” with no prompting from the attendees, or out-of-sync announcements like, “I’m glad you asked about Instagram.”

Make sure the teacher is responding to actual questions from the comments section. Other red flags include a creator warning repeatedly that spaces are selling out, or if sound quality shifts suddenly during a session.

2. The social fakes

Some instructors may not even have a substantial online following, or if they do, it consists of cheaply-bought bots instead of organic followers.

Bloated follower numbers give would-be teachers an extra level of clout, but if they’re all bots run out of a click farm, then the likelihood of learning anything useful diminishes rapidly. These tricksters may lack testimonials from course alumni, or feature quotes that are suspiciously over-the-top.

“It’s easy for people to buy a lot of followers and say, that’s why I’m doing the course,” explains Neal Schaffer, social media consultant and author of The Age of Influence. “If you’ve never heard of the person, you should look up that person, see what they’re about.”

3. The “get rich quick” promise

Anything that offers mastery in a short space of time, with little time or effort invested, “is generally a red flag,” says Niall Doherty, founder and lead editor at eBiz Facts, a website that rates courses and money-making plans. He recommends signing up for classes with money-back guarantees, and checking the reputation of the person behind them.

Jones also balks at courses priced into the high hundreds or thousands. “I do find that’s a little bit outside of the range of what I think is reasonable, especially if it’s a DIY course, and you’re not getting any mentorship on the program.”

While reporting this story I reached out to around a dozen higher education centers claiming to run successful social media courses. Having received a flurry of promotional phone calls, none agreed to speak when I stressed I was a journalist, not a prospective student.

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Specificity is key

Assuming you avoid an outright scam, there are still plenty of pitfalls to avoid. Social media is a broad church: specificity is key. Jones advises that you make sure you know exactly what you want from a course before clicking “complete payment.”

“You want to go in hoping to get a specific social media strategy outline that works for you,” she adds. “You don’t necessarily want something that only works for others or a cookie cutter plan.”

Some industries, such as real estate, have laws governing social media marketing: Realtors can be held liable for comments on listings, for example, or fall foul of intellectual property law. Others, such as the finance industry, must comply to a host of regulations or face potentially huge penalties. Even without the regulators, one rogue tweet or Instagram post can wipe out millions or even billions of dollars.

Social media, by design, moves quickly. Courses should too. Be alert to any that offer seemingly outdated modules on, say, Twitter’s now-defunct Fleets video platform, or Facebook ad courses that lag way behind the company’s ever-changing algorithms. If somebody is telling you how to get big on Bebo, it’s probably best to avoid.

Degrees in social media: overkill?

Increasing numbers of universities offer entire two or three-year degrees in social media. Schaffer, who teaches at Rutgers Business School, thinks this is overkill. Instead, study social media as an aspect of a broader topic, such as corporate communications or digital marketing.

If somebody is telling you how to get big on Bebo, it’s probably best to avoid.

“It’s like having a university degree on email,” he says. “Social media by itself won’t make a difference in the world, and won’t have an impact on your business… It’s just one tool of many in your toolbox.

Anybody can create a social media class. The challenge is filtering out the bad actors.

“Anyone thinks they can create a course, just like everyone thinks they can write a book—and they can’t,” says Schaffer. “And just because your book’s on Amazon, and it’s digitally self-published on Kindle, anybody can do that. It takes a certain kind of attitude to be able to read through and vet who these people are.

“But I would argue that the same ability to vet is what’s important when analyzing people on social media,” he adds. “It’s an important skill that every modern professional should have, and perhaps the best way to start it is by looking at all the course instructors, and seeing who you can trust and who you can’t.”

Anybody can create a social media class. The challenge is filtering out the bad actors.

Ultimately, the most popular social media content is new, creative, and not something you can do overnight. While social media may look like a great way to make a quick buck, it isn’t — despite the promises made by YouTube stars.

blogging

7 Effective Tips for Enhancing Your Blogging Skills

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Introduction

Blogging has become an essential tool for individuals and businesses alike to share knowledge, connect with readers, and establish an online presence. If you’re looking to improve your blogging skills, here are seven tips that will help you take your writing to the next level:

  1. Identify your target audience: Before you start writing, it’s crucial to understand who your target audience is. Determine their interests, demographics, and the type of content they are looking for. By doing so, you can tailor your blog posts to cater to their needs and preferences.
  2. Create a content strategy: Developing a content strategy will help you maintain consistency and provide direction for your blogging journey. Outline topics, keywords, and a posting schedule. This will ensure that you always have ideas for your next blog post and allow you to plan your content in advance.
  3. Craft compelling headlines: Your blog post’s headline is the first impression you make on potential readers. Aim for catchy and engaging headlines that grab attention and entice readers to click. Incorporate relevant keywords to optimize your post for search engines.
  4. Write engaging and informative content: To attract and retain readers, your content needs to be engaging and valuable. Focus on creating well-researched and informative articles that offer unique insights or solve problems for your audience. Use subheadings, bulleted lists, and visuals to break up the text and make it easier to read.
  5. Proofread and edit: Nothing undermines your credibility like a poorly written and error-riddled blog post. After completing your first draft, take the time to proofread and edit your work. Check for spelling and grammar errors, ensure your sentences flow smoothly, and trim any unnecessary fluff. Consider using grammar-checking tools or enlisting an editor to help polish your writing.
  6. Optimize for search engines: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in driving organic traffic to your blog. Do keyword research and integrate relevant keywords naturally into your blog posts. Optimize your meta tags, headings, and image alt tags. Additionally, aim to create content that is helpful, informative, and easily shareable.
  7. Engage with your audience: Building a community around your blog is essential for long-term success. Respond to comments, engage with readers on social media, and encourage discussions. Foster a sense of connection and make your readers feel valued. By doing so, you will build trust, loyalty, and a dedicated readership.
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By following these tips, you can improve your blogging skills and increase the impact of your content. Remember, consistency and continuous learning are also crucial in the blogging world. Happy blogging!

Remember, consistency and continuous learning are also crucial in the blogging world. Happy blogging!

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Blogging Tips: 7 Ways to Create Killer Blog Posts that Bring a Traffic Storm

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Introduction

Blogging has become an essential tool for businesses and individuals alike to share their expertise, promote their products, and connect with their audience. However, with millions of blog posts published every day, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd and create killer blog posts that drive a traffic storm to your website. In this article, we will explore seven effective ways to accomplish just that.

1. Captivating Headlines

The first step in creating a killer blog post is to craft an attention-grabbing headline. A compelling title will entice the reader to click and read your article. Use powerful words, pose intriguing questions, or promise a solution to a problem. Remember, your headline is the first impression you make on your audience – make it count!

2. Engaging Content

To keep your readers hooked, your blog posts should offer valuable and engaging content. Share your expertise, provide practical tips, and offer unique insights. Make your article enjoyable to read by using storytelling techniques, relevant examples, and relatable experiences. Remember to write in a conversational tone, so your readers feel like they’re having a friendly chat with you.

3. Well-Structured Format

A well-structured blog post is easier to read and understand. Use subheadings to divide your content into sections and paragraphs to break up large blocks of text. Utilize bullet points or numbered lists to highlight key points or steps. This structure not only enhances readability but also improves search engine optimization (SEO).

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4. Eye-Catching Visuals

People are visual creatures, so incorporating eye-catching visuals into your blog posts is essential. Include relevant images, infographics, or videos that support your content and make it more visually appealing. Visual elements not only make your article more attractive but can also provide additional information and enhance understanding.

5. SEO Optimization

Optimizing your blog posts for search engines is crucial to increase their visibility. Conduct keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your target audience is searching for and incorporate them naturally throughout your content. Pay attention to meta descriptions, alt tags for images, and URL structure to improve your search engine rankings.

6. Promote on Social Media

Creating killer blog posts is half the battle; the other half is promoting them effectively. Leverage the power of social media to amplify your reach. Share your blog posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Engage with your audience and encourage shares and comments. This will help generate a traffic storm and increase your blog’s visibility.

7. Call to Action

Finally, conclude your killer blog post with a clear and compelling call to action. Guide your readers on the next steps they should take, whether it’s subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a free resource, or making a purchase. Including a call to action will not only drive traffic but also help you achieve your blog’s goals.

In conclusion, creating killer blog posts that bring a traffic storm requires careful planning, engaging content, and effective promotion. By implementing these seven strategies, you’ll be well on your way to capturing your audience’s attention, boosting website traffic, and achieving your blogging goals. So, start implementing these techniques today and watch your blog soar!

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Digital Marketing

10 Ways to Become an Expert in Social Media Marketing

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This article outlines 10 ways to become an expert in social media marketing. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in social media marketing.

Introduction:

Social media marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to reach a large audience, build relationships with customers, and drive sales. If you’re looking to become an expert in social media marketing, there are a few things you need to do.

In this article, we will outline 10 ways to become an expert in social media marketing. We will cover everything from understanding the basics of social media to creating effective content and measuring your results. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of what it takes to be an expert in social media marketing.

1. Understand the basics of social media

The first step to becoming an expert in social media marketing is to understand the basics of social media. This includes understanding the different platforms, how they work, and who uses them. You should also understand the different types of content that can be shared on social media, as well as the best practices for creating and sharing content.

2. Set clear goals

Before you start any social media marketing campaign, you need to set clear goals. What do you want to achieve with your social media marketing? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a strategy to achieve them.

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3. Know your audience

Who are you trying to reach with your social media marketing? Once you know your audience, you can tailor your content and messaging to appeal to them. You should also understand their interests, pain points, and buying habits. This will help you create content that they will find relevant and engaging.

4. Create high-quality content

The key to success in social media marketing is creating high-quality content. This means creating content that is informative, engaging, and visually appealing. Your content should also be consistent with your brand voice and overall marketing strategy.

5. Use social media analytics

Social media analytics can help you track your progress and measure the results of your social media marketing campaigns. This information can help you identify what’s working and what’s not, so you can make necessary adjustments to your strategy.

6. Be consistent

Consistency is key in social media marketing. You need to post regularly and engage with your audience on a regular basis. This will help you build relationships with your followers and keep them coming back for more.

7. Use social media tools

There are a number of social media tools that can help you manage your accounts, track your analytics, and create content. These tools can save you time and help you get more out of your social media marketing.

8. Stay up-to-date on trends

Social media is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. This will help you create content that is relevant and engaging to your audience.

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9. Be creative

Social media marketing is all about creativity. You need to find ways to stand out from the crowd and engage your audience in a meaningful way. This means being original and coming up with new and innovative ideas.

10. Have fun

Social media marketing should be fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, it will show in your content and your engagement with your audience. So relax, have fun, and let your personality shine through.

Conclusion:

Becoming an expert in social media marketing takes time and effort, but it’s definitely possible. By following the tips in this article, you can increase your chances of success.

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