I was asked by a small business owner if they should attend a social media (SM) event run by a small organization with multiple presenters (which came with a fee). This small business owner is new to social media and really wants to help her business grow. My comment to her was simple and “adult” while we never want to point fingers and say something hurtful, we DO want to educate those who want to learn. My advice was something like this- Social media isn’t a quick fix or an easy answer to your prayers for free advertising, it will take some work on your part (the small business).
When you are interested or approached by an individual, organization or firm who wants you to attend their seminar or training, I encourage you to do a little research. Something as simple as doing a “Google” search. Example: If @tommytrc is speaking about #twitter at an organization and you are interested in attending but had not heard his name (or twitter handle) before- you’d Google search @tommytrc or tommytrc (or if the name of the organization is given or the speakers names). In this case, Tommy is at least the first 50 PAGES… lets say he was only the first 3 entries (meaning only the first 3 postings on a single page) to me, that would raise a red flag that this person isn’t active on line (tweeting, posting, blogging, etc..) in Tommy’s case, it’s obvious to the reader, he is very active on multiple platforms. You’re not finished yet… next step would be to start clicking and reading- what is he posting, what is he saying, who does he support, etc…
Once you’ve done YOUR research, you should then feel comfortable to make the decision to attend the presentation or pay the fee asked.
With regards to cost, I don’t discredit those who want to charge, there are some great presenters, organizations and PR firms helping businesses with their social media. I do believe as a business owner, you should have some understanding of SM and what it entails. There are so many small groups that are local and free that get together and talk about SM.. which is a great place to start. check out www.foxcitiessocial.com