“Get Rich Quick” schemes have become increasingly infamous on social media, with people claiming to have the recipe to success, the recipe to fame and the recipe to an easy source of sustainable income all rolled into one solution – which can be yours for a small (or not so small) fee. These Ponzi schemes offer a course where you’ll learn, how to create a company, in the space of a few hours, and make thousands off of unsuspecting business owners.

These people are out to brainwash individuals who believe that these get rich quick schemes are a great way to earn a quick buck and become your own boss but these con-artists, so to speak, don’t have their best interests at heart. The people at the head of these schemes have little to no experience in the courses they’re “selling” and are using this as a side hustle, as they see it as free money (as long as they find the right marks).

Individuals are pressured into purchasing courses, in which, they’re taught unethical ways to con others. For example on courses such as Forex Trading, Skin Care Sales and other pyramid schemes.

Well, today we will be focusing on one that hits a little closer to home for us “How to create your own social media agency.” Where they’d teach you to familiarize yourself with:

  • Creating a logo within minutes or using automated logo generators to make your brand seem legitimate.
  • Use websites like Fiverr – find freelance designers from abroad to carry out the work for as little as possible and pass it off as your own. 
  • Use free social media publishing platforms which post on your behalf and are known to reduce user engagement.
  • Pricing – You’re taught to charge an extortion fee for your services not considering your clients return on investment.
  • Sales – They’re taught to master their scripts so they’re able to sell easily to unexpected victims.

Sites like Fiverr means having someone who doesn’t understand your brand, create low-quality content. A process like this would mean there would be several walls between you and the person who is creating the content. In design, communication is key and it allows the designer and you to be on the same page.

The people who have bought these courses wake up the next morning, thinking they’ve now become social media experts and set their sights on finding businesses that will become their very own victims.

So where does this all fit in with us? These so-called social media agencies are now targeting SMEs promising a massive growth in followers, unrealistic increases in engagement and providing a small number of poor-quality, pieces of content for upwards of £1,500 per month!

Why is this a problem?

These “social media agencies” can ruin a brand’s reputation and image with their unethical tactics. Social media platforms are aware of the methods these people are using to purchase followers. They will penalise accounts who are found to be doing so and this can have lasting negative effects on your business profile. This includes shadowbans and more, meaning you won’t be able to utilise the benefits that social media has to offer.

We’ve had a couple of businesses come to us telling us their stories and how they’ve been conned out of thousands by these imposters claiming to be social media agencies, and been left in situations where they’re unable to engage with in some cases, 30,000+ of their followers – due to shadowbans.

These “social media agencies” go from business to business preying on anyone who they think might be gullible enough to fall for their scheme.

It might be difficult for some business owners to differentiate these fake social media agencies from the genuine ones, as they’re unaware of the scams flying around. We’ll be outlining things to pay attention to and steps you can take to do so, a bit later in this post. So be sure to read on.

What can these schemes do?

The schemes can negatively impact your social media accounts with shadowbans. This can mean your content is no longer reaching your audience and others, resulting in much less engagement than you’re used to. This might lead to promotions and offers not being displayed, ineffective communication and a general decrease in your brand’s presence.

It can take years to fix the mess that these shadowbans can cause. Although a concrete fix for this isn’t known. What we do know is, creating engaging content and posting consistently to social media is one of the ways to repair the problem. Also, deleting followers which you know are fake and were purchased without your permission.

Schemes like this can create a lasting fear of social media agencies in the minds of business owners who have fallen, a victim. They won’t be able to look at agencies in the same light and this might mean they potentially don’t discover how an actual, genuine agency can benefit their business.

Missing out on social media

A lot of brands are left with a sour taste in their mouth and do not want to continue dealing with social media agencies after experiencing situations like this. However, brands do not understand how important social media can prove to be. It’s a powerful tool for user engagement, brand awareness and communication when done right. This means if you’ve fallen victim to a similar scheme, you shouldn’t accept defeat. Instead, you should fight back and get your brand back where it belongs.

Engaging content is just one of the ways to interact with your audience. Social media users are quick to judge and react, they know when a brand has invested money and resources into creating quality content. Likewise, they know when they are being fed poor quality content.

Case Study

We’ve had several business owners get in touch with us and show us their inboxes on social media, filled with several accounts claiming to be social media agencies, who some promise they can do the following:

  • 10 pieces of content per month
  • Increase in followers
  • Only posting on Instagram
  • Increase engagement 
  • Increase in Sales and ROI every month

The cost for all the above you ask? £1,699 per month…

So with the permission of the business owners, we took the reigns of the chat and asked the “social media agencies” some questions. But we were met with a lot of question dodging and waffling from a script, which meant we ended up nowhere.

We asked for a portfolio, some were able to produce a couple of pieces of poor quality work and some just swerved the question. It really hit home with us – how do these people end up conning business owners for thousands of pounds? We thought in that exact moment – we need to warn the community and all the entrepreneurs out there to keep an eye out for new schemes like this.

What can we do to combat this?

ROI (Return on Investment) – If a social media agency is asking for upwards of £1,500 a month for a basic package of 10 pieces of content per month, alarm bells should be ringing. Can you as a brand justify paying that much for social media and making a profit from it, per month? Are you going to make a return on £1,500 per month purely from your social media followers?

Check an agency’s website out – every legitimate agency will have a well-designed website that contains a portfolio of their work. This gives you the chance to see who they’ve worked with and what their design looks like. A good idea is to cross-reference the portfolio work with the actual live versions to crosscheck validity. If for whatever reason a website is not available, ask for a portfolio or a couple of pieces of work over direct messaging. Also please check if the agency is registered via companies house. 

Ask around about the agency, local agencies work with local businesses. There will be a lot of brands you interact with each day who potentially know of them and might even work with them. They might be able to give you a true and honest testimonial.

If you as a business owner, have been a victim of these malicious schemes please do feel free to get in touch via hello@theiirthcompany.com and a member of our team will get back to you.