I Put a Spell on You and You’re Mine: How to Tell the Amateurs from the Pros in The Social Media Arena; Tells Nauman Akbar

I am Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse, a full service digital marketing company. Owning and running a digital marketing agency gives me a chance to see all sorts of interesting things in the social media world. Some are clever, some are interesting, and some leave me saying, “What were you thinking when you did that?”

Over the years, I have come to realize that most people have an affection for the “do it yourself” approach to everything—except perhaps surgery. Nothing is so true as to watch people try to handle their digital marketing, branding, and reputation management.

In this article, I would like to talk to you about the good, the bad, and the ugly I have seen, and the telltale signs that an amateur is handling his own social media posts.

I am not talking about someone’s personal Facebook account—someone who does not and will not ever have a business or career presence through social media. If you are an average Joe that plans to work in a factory all your life, you are free to post whatever your friends and family can tolerate just up to the time they disown you.

But for those who are using or plan to use digital marketing as a tool to get their message out or to promote their business, here are some guidelines that will serve you well. If you try to follow all of my recommendations, you will likely be calling MessageMuse for help.


The quality of your content is all important to a professional digital marketing strategy. High resolution pictures with great composition coupled with on-message comments are the sign of a professional reputation manager. But for the do-it-yourself, here are some the telltale sign of an amateur trying to be his own digital agency.

  • Out of focus, low resolution pictures with poor composition
  • Lots of pictures of anonymous people lined up for a photo shoot like they are about to face a firing squad
  • Endless selfies with the outstretched arm holding your camera that scream, “I love me”
  • Photos with no comments, captions, or explanation: This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If it is worth posting, it is worth talking about.
  • Posting everything that happens to you: To a professional digital marketing agency this says I don’t have enough to say or do to meet the need for content so let me send you pictures of my shoes, my car, my dog, my mom, my hurt finger, my…my…my

It is not that there is a moratorium on these things; it is that they should not make up much of your social media footprint. And what I have found to be the case is that people just can’t help themselves. That is why by having a reputation manager from a full service digital marketing agency to guide you, the temptation to commit these sins will not happen.

Who are you and what do you want to accomplish?

Every digital marketing company will tell you that answering this question in detail is the heart of a successful campaign. And every reputation manager will tell you that the answer to these questions is probably the hardest for clients to articulate. More than once I have had potential clients come to the MessageMuse office and talk about products, business, causes, and commitment. But ask them what do you want to accomplish with a social media strategy and there is deafening silence in the room. The reality is most people don’t really know what a digital agency can do. So if the person who asks for help doesn’t understand the skills and results that a digital agency can provide, it is not likely that an amateur can find his way to effective, on-point messaging alone.

Reputation managers walk clients through the process of defining goals and by doing so define the parameters of all postings. These are the critical blocks on which an effective digital marketing strategy is built.

Staying on-message is just too hard for a person to self-police. But if you have defined your goals and how you are attached to them, this will serve as a guidepost.
For example, if you own an auto parts store and your goals are to let people know that your business exists, that you can create custom hand-tooled parts, and that your prices are very competitive, that helps define your message. If your goal for engaging a digital marketing manager is to increase your sales by 30% over an 18-month period, that is a defined result. So guess what? You and your reputation manager are probably going to know that posting pictures of your bunions on your website or on Facebook is probably not a good fit for who you are and what you want to accomplish. Unless you have a sales spin to pitch with that bunion picture, just save it to show to your closest friends.

Another faux pas in this category has to do with diluting your message. Posting other businesses, personal events or milestones only dilute your message. If it doesn’t have to do with meeting that growth goal for your auto-parts business then it shouldn’t be mentioned.

As a reputation manager, I realize that these strict rules can sometimes become blurred, especially in the case of those who are celebrities. Their “personal” lives are sometimes what their fans want to know about. It is who they are. Probably one of the best at this is Taylor Swift who invites her fans into her personal life. But she is still on-goal and on-message with even these personal glimpses.

Save the drama for your Mama

This is one that sends digital marketing agencies and reputation managers through the roof. While it is tied to my “staying on message” comments, it deserves its own category. Most people don’t care that

  • You broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend
  • That the waitress was rude to you
  • That you cracked your new phone screen
  • That you broke a nail
  • That some fool scratch the bumper on your lambo
  • That you had a fight with your Boo
  • That you rescued a kitty because she had such sad eyes

What your digital marketing agency will remind you is that people have their own drama. Yours is not special. So if you are going to be your own reputation manager, cut out the emotional ups and downs and stay on message.

No Children Please

Being in the digital marketing business for so many years, sometimes your gut just tells you not to do something. This is one of them. My rules around children are strictly for professional digital marketing campaigns. If you have a personal account and you want to post pictures of your children, feel free. Lock down your account and share with close friends and family who can be trusted. But if you are projecting yourself into the public arena as a professional, my best advice is refrain from posting pictures of your children. As with any rule there are some exceptions:

  • Your children are at an age where they can defend themselves and will know a concerning situation when they experience one
  • You post years old pictures of your children when they were young
  • Your pictures do not show your children’s faces or any defining locations

Running a digital marketing company and having children myself, I know that the world can be an unpredictable place and some people out there can have bad intentions. While some of my clients include their families in posts, I try to avoid it. I like to keep the little ones safe even if it means giving up a special moment.

So these are some of my best pointers for running a social media campaign. But if you are ready to turn your project over to the pros, we here at MessageMuse would love the chance to talk to you about a well-defined digital marketing strategy. We will help you cast that spell.

This article is brought to you by Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MesssageMuse, a leader in offshore digital IT services. We currently have customers internationally and in the US. We are now expanding our services to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. We are a registered business with the Delaware Secretary of State. We welcome individuals, businesses, and brokers to check out all the services and skills we offer. Give us a call at +1 (704) 315-2120 or check out our website at https://www.messagemuse.com/ or send us an email at agency@messagemuse.com . Let us help your business find creative digital solutions at any price point.