Ethics, Social Media and Workshops: The Emperor Has No Clothes

Saturday, July 11, 2009

With the evolution of social media, it's made it much easier for people to play the smoke and mirrors game, leading you to believe they or their business is one thing when the truth of reality tells a much different story.  This has occurred in almost every industry I can think of, but I want to address it as it relates to the wedding industry. 

If you are going to pay or learn about business from people who are teaching about business, please be sure they can back up what they are talking about.  I don't know about you, but I would much rather learn from someone whose accounting books match what they are teaching.  Money isn't everything, but at the end of the day, it is a very tell-tale sign of how a business is actually doing. 

For example, there are several photographers who are popular in the social media space but who have no weddings on the books.  To make up for that income, they are teaching workshops on how to get more business and how to better brand yourself to get more business.  Yes, people with NO business are teaching others how to get MORE business.  Does that make any sense to you?

To be fair, it's not just wedding photographers who are guilty of this.  Other wedding professionals have begun teaching as well.  Some are good; the majority are not.  Many people have unethically leveraged social media to promote themselves as something they are not.  Their business has no clothes, but as long as they keep lying to the world on their blogs or on Twitter, they hope that no one will notice.  The number of Twitter followers or the number of advertorial-based awards (awards given only to those who advertise with a certain publication or media outlet) are not an indication of the health of someone's business. And if a person's business isn't healthy or making them money, then all they are passing along is business theory. 

Now, I have no problem with wedding professionals teaching workshops or helping others in the industry grow their businesses.  I do that myself with the Blogging Bootcamps.  I have also paid to attend several workshops and conferences from other wedding and business professionals and I have hired business and marketing coaches to help me with my own company.  In my opinion, you can't teach if you're not willing to be taught.  And you shouldn't teach if you can't back it up.

If you are going to hire someone to help you with your business, please choose wisely. Two people I recommend hiring are Sean Low and Rebecca Grinnals.  Both can quantify their claims of success and have consulting options for wedding businesses. There are other good ones out there as well, but I've previously hired both Sean and Rebecca myself and am more than happy to chat with any of you about my experience. 

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