Why honesty is more than just a good idea

In order to keep fecal matter from hitting the proverbial fan I’m going to keep a lot of this post anonymous as it relates to a client I worked with in the past.

I was working on an audit of the social media efforts done by a client of mine who had a “pro” working for them as their social media marketer. As part of the audit I was given one of the “pro’s” reports to review. At first glance this weekly report looked VERY impressive… and then I dug deeper.

The structure of the report was very misleading, the descriptions, accounts, and activity on the report didn’t really add up and honestly sounded too good to be true. After doing some research it turned out it was. There was not only a lot of fluff in the report, but there was a lot that could have been done that wasn’t.

As a consequence of my audit they had their contract terminated, and the client felt so burned they didn’t even want to go forward with me (let alone anyone else) taking over. I check in on them every couple months and they are still not ready to try again. Serious damage was done.

In your business you need to be honest about what you’re delivering, or you will burn your customers and they might never return. No matter where you’re doing your messaging you need to be clear and conscience about it. Don’t pad numbers, don’t write misleading documents, and don’t try to make it sound like your customers are getting more than they are.

I’ve already written about worst case scenario’s and I gave some examples of what businesses who ran into trouble. Lying or purposely misleading customers is not only illegal but is a worst case scenario just waiting to happen. By over hyping and under delivering you’re just asking to have someone complain and get others to join and then you’ll have a full blown disaster on your hands.

It’s far better to under hype and over deliver and excite your customers than it is to do the opposite and burn them for life.

What do you think? Are there examples you can think of where you’ve seen this? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

image by Studio494 (Simon)




  • http://twitter.com/NteeJ Nick

    The get-rich-quick mentality that so many people have often leads to this dishonest behavior. Marketing, public relations, and communications, whether we're talking social media or any other media, is not a glamorous wealth-building career. It is hard work, and the truth is that there are no quick roads to huge success.

    Beware the snake-oil salesman who tells you all about the latest social media tool and wants you to pay them to get you involved.

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      Thanks for the comment, and I couldn't have said it better myself.

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