Deconstructing Deiss: The King of Social Media Hype

…or the Video Critique Ryan Deiss Didn’t Want Me to Write.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: As a result of this critique, Ryan Deiss contacted me. We hopped on the phone to discuss my criticisms, and Ryan has since updated the video script he uses to sell his Let’s Get Social product. If you read this post, you should also read the follow-up post here: My Unexpected Conversation with Ryan Deiss.

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Ryan Deiss sells an info-product that allegedly teaches you how to become a social media manager who earns $10,000 a month part-time. He sells this product at LetsGetSocial.com/video.

Out of curiosity, I watched the video sales letter — not because I want to be a social media manager, but because I was curious how he was selling his product.

My curiosity quickly turned to disgust as Deiss piled hype on top of hype.

Normally, I chuckle at these sorts of pitches and just move on with my day.

But as the inaccurate claims and flimsy arguments kept coming, I decided it would be negligent of me if I didn’t take the time to deconstruct Deiss’s outlandish claims one by one so people can see how ridiculous his sales pitch is…

The Most In-Demand Job in the World?

Deiss opens his pitch with a claim that stretches my skepticism to the limits. He claims he is about to reveal to you what is still the most in-demand job in the world.

The Most In-Demand Job in the World?

Before he reveals this in-demand job, Deiss builds the suspense by making some additional hard-to-believe claims.

It's So Easy a 10-Year-Old Could Do It!

Ryan Deiss does not want me jumping to the conclusion that what he’s just told me is completely false, so he advises me not to jump to conclusions.

Then he tells me that the “most in-demand job in the world” does not require a web site, copywriting skills, formal education, a product, start-up capital, or selling of any sort.

Nothing Required!

He also assures me that this job requires no formal training or experience in the field. In fact, he claims that “nobody” has any real experience in this field anyway.

No Experience Needed!

In case you’re not paying attention, I’ve already been told a few extraordinary things in the first four frames of this sales video:

  1. This job is the most in-demand job in the world.
  2. I can make $10,000 a month working less than 40 hours a week.
  3. The job is so easy a 10-year-old could do it.
  4. I don’t need a web site, formal education, or selling skills.
  5. I don’t need any formal training or experience in the field.

These are some big promises. But do they stand up to scrutiny?

We’re about to find out…

How to Make as Much as a 3rd Year Airline Pilot

At this point in the presentation, Deiss tells us about his friend Kate Buck, a “busted out ballerina” who had recently been fired and was applying for a $12-an-hour job at Deiss’s company.

Although he didn’t hire Kate, he couldn’t avoid keeping in touch with her because, Deiss claims, he kept seeing her all over Facebook and Twitter. She was always helping other people with their social media.

More importantly, Deiss points out that Kate was gaining the skills that would become the foundation of her new job: Social Media Manager.

And with that comment, Deiss makes Contradiction #1. He first claims this job does not require any experience in the field, but less than a minute later says Kate was spending all kinds of time on Facebook and Twitter, and that the skills she gained led her into her new profession.

A couple slides later he explains that in a period of 18 months Kate had built her income to $10K a month. In other words, we know that Kate didn’t build this income overnight; it took her 18 months.

Of course, this all sounds too good to be true. Deiss knows this, so he asks the following question: “So how did [Kate] go from being broke and unemployed to banking as much money a month as a 3rd year airline pilot working just a few hours a day, whenever she feels like it… mostly from her cell phone?”

Make as Much as a 3rd Year Airline Pilot

With this one question, Deiss has piled more hype on top of the hype he’s already dished out. Specifically, he has implied that you can make a six-figure income working only a few hours a day… whenever you feel like it… mostly from your cell phone.

The answer to Deiss’s hyped-up question is that Kate became a Social Media Manager. Apparently, this point is very important so Deiss says it twice. It is social media managing that has given Kate both a large income and time freedom.

But… Are Social Media Managers Really in Demand?

Deiss’s presentation has so far been based on one anecdote: Kate Buck. So he begins to attempt to prove that social media managers actually are in demand.

Exhibit A:

Inc Magazine Survey

The percentage seems a bit high to me, but nothing too unbelievable or manipulative here. But here’s where the big leap in logic happens…

Exhibit B:

Your Odds of Making Money as a Social Media Manager

Based on Exhibit A, Deiss extrapolates that there are more than 30 million businesses in the U.S. that want a social media manager.

Based on this figure, he uses a vague appeal to authority (“experts”) to make the claim that there are 10,000 businesses looking to hire a social media manager for every one social media manager available.

This is a massive fallacy, of course. It’s easily proven by Exhibit A. Note that “attempting to use social media” is a far cry from actively seeking to hire a social media manager. Two very different things.

Advertising Doesn’t Work Anymore… or Something

“Why is there so much demand for Social Media Managers?” Deiss wants to know.

“Because businesses have no other effective way to promote themselves” Deiss says to himself.

Nothing Left but Social Media

The only thing that’s working is social media!

I guess AdWords is broken, Facebook ads don’t work, nobody reads email anymore, nobody clicks on banner ads, affiliate marketing doesn’t work — everything is broken!

OMG – Small businesses have no way left to promote themselves except social media!

But wait, this is awkward…

Deiss currently sells products about Facebook advertising, email marketing, mobile marketing, getting traffic from search engines, and all sorts of other stuff.

Why would he be selling products about these topics if “nothing worked but social media?”

Misinterpreting Data

After trying to convince his prospects that all promotional methods are dead except social media, Deiss presents a series of data points to help support his case.

Unfortunately, he misinterprets the data to fit his purposes. Take a look…

Outsourcing Social Media

In this first slide, Deiss points out that 28.57% of businesses surveyed said they would like to outsource social media if given an unlimited budget, while only 16.45% said they would like to outsource sales.

The question you should ask yourself is why?

The first sentence of the article says it pretty clearly: “Entrepreneurs dread social media.” In other words, they don’t like managing social media, and they see it as something that can be more easily outsourced.

Sales, on the other hand, is a critical business function. It is much harder to outsource.

But the percentages referenced in the article do not necessarily mean business owners are falling over themselves to hire social media managers. After all, the survey was based on a hypothetical question: What would you most like to outsource if you had an unlimited budget?

The reality is business owners have limited budgets, and I’m guessing social media is a low priority compared to other business expenses.

Take a look at the next data point:

Social Media Jobs

Here Deiss points to the 21,000 job postings related to social media as of December 2010.

What he ignores is this important point in the article’s subhead: “But in a fledgling field surrounded by hype, some industry insiders are saying it may be too good to last.”

I just did a search on indeed.com (the same jobs site listed in the article) and found 29,244 jobs related to social media. About two thirds of these pay between $30K and $50K a year — a far cry from six figures.

Not only that, these are JOB listings. What Deiss is pitching is the idea of being a FREELANCE social media manager. As such, the number of job postings is somewhat irrelevant.

Deiss then cites a Twitter profile as proof of demand…

Social Media Jobs on Twitter

This particular profile has 19,522 followers. At the time Deiss recorded the video, there were 13,835 followers.

Deiss claims that the number of followers is proof of demand for social media managers.

Uh, no.

The number of followers is proof of supply of people interested in social media manager jobs.

At best, the number of tweets could be loosely correlated with number of social media manager jobs available. Currently, that number is 1,161. Imagine, just over a thousand tweets and 19,000+ people interested in them.

That does not sound like opportunity to me.

By the way, if you watch the video, you’ll notice Deiss trips up on this point. He realizes this Twitter profile doesn’t support his point, so he quickly changes what he was about to say and says this instead: “That’s 13,000 people interested in posting their social media jobs.”

Riiiight.

Here’s another gem. This bar chart shows “US Online Social Network Advertising Spending” from the years 2006-2011 in millions of dollars.

Old Data - May 2007

But there are two BIG problems with this chart.

First, the chart was put together in May 2007. This means all the figures from 2007 forward are estimates, not actual dollars spent.

And the second problem? The dollar figures have nothing to do with money paid for social media management.

From the notes at the bottom of the chart: “in all cases, figures include online advertising spending as well as site or profile page development costs.”

Overoptimistic Optimism

Anyway, Deiss goes on to talk about why businesses will hire social media managers (he claims social media managers provide an “immediate measurable R.O.I.,” which I highly doubt); how much Kate charges for her done-for-you packages ($500 to $2,000 a month); and other things.

He then makes another outrageous claim:

Nothing is Working Except Social Media

Deiss says “most businesses” (I’ll assume more than 50%) have “advertising money budgeted that they can’t spend.” If that were indeed the case (it’s not), then my clients wouldn’t be price sensitive. Yet they are.

Furthermore, Deiss reiterates a point he made earlier in the presentation: “There is just no place to put [advertising money] that actually works right now… except in Social Media.”

This has to be the most disingenuous statement of the entire presentation — and he makes it twice!

There are plenty of ways in which to spend advertising dollars right now. Many of them work very well. Some work better than others.

But to claim that social media is the only way to get positive R.O.I. on your advertising dollars — and that businesses have gobs of cash they’re eager to spend on social media managers — is downright laughable.

Yet that doesn’t stop Deiss from concluding that “you only need 2-3 clients to make a full-time income. I’m tellin’ ya… this is a fun, easy, LOW stress, real, honest business and you can do it too…”

You Only Need 2-3 Clients!

I’ve been in the client business for seven years, and I can tell you that making a full-time income from only two or three clients is pure hype.

Some clients pay on time, others pay late. Some are easy to work with, others not so much. Clients come and go.

Working with clients is not simple or easy, and you’ll need a way to generate new clients all the time — to take the place of clients who decide social media is no longer a priority for them.

So there’s your reality check.

Run Your Business from Work or Even a Theater?

Here’s another slide that made me laugh.

Deiss says that you can run your business almost exclusively from your cell phone. He then suggests that you can run your business anywhere — even at work while you’re on break (“just don’t tell your boss,” he says).

Run Your Business from Work

Ha! That’s what I always wanted to do… take my work with me everywhere so I can be constantly distracted. I always wanted to pay $15 for the privilege of working in a dark, crowded theater and missing half the movie.

Deiss Is Not Gonna Sugar Coat It… Except Right Now

There are many lapses in logic during Deiss’s presentation. But this one is especially good. Check out this train wreck…

Deiss Is Not Gonna Sugar Coat It…

Deiss Is Not Gonna Sugar Coat It

But $3000 – $10,000 Part-Time Is Nothing to Sneeze At…

Nothing to Sneeze At

It’s So Easy a Monkey with an iPhone Could Do It!

A Monkey with an iPhone Could Do It!

So, basically, to sum up…

Deiss tells you he’s not going to sugar coat it — and then he does.

Hyperinflated Value

Next… the close. After citing some testimonials from students, Deiss transitions to the value build — the part where he tries to justify the price of his product.

The first three things included in the package are the “Let’s Get Social Training” ($2000 value), “Kate’s Contracts/Templates” ($1000 value), and “4 Weeks of Private Coaching” ($1000 value).

The fourth and final thing he offers in the package is the use of his “Let’s Get Social” logo. Personally, I don’t see any value in the logo whatsoever, but Deiss puts a $3000 value on the “logo license.”

Logo Bonus

Of course, when you add it all up, you should be bowled over by the value you’re getting. Deiss says his package is worth $7000, but he’s only going to charge you two payments of $97.

Check Out the Deiss Package

And with the exception of the guarantee and the push to take action now, that’s pretty much it.

What Lessons Can We Learn?

Are some businesses spending money on social media management? Of course. Can some people make money doing freelance social media work? Of course.

The problem I have is how Ryan Deiss goes about selling his Let’s Get Social training.

  • He makes repeated over-the-top claims that can’t be substantiated.
  • He repeatedly contradicts himself, sometimes in the span of 60 seconds or less.
  • He cites “proof” that is not relevant and/or contradicts the point he’s trying to make.
  • He says both 10-year-olds and “monkeys with iPhones” can be social media managers. (Where are all these highly paid chimps?)
  • He claims most businesses are having trouble spending their advertising budgets. (Clearly false.)
  • He asserts social media is the ONLY thing that’s providing positive R.O.I. for businesses. (Again, clearly false.)
  • He sells products about the very things he says WON’T work for business.

In light of this, I think the lessons are clear:

  1. Don’t use hype to sell your product.
  2. Make every effort to be accurate.
  3. And… do not distort the facts.

Do you agree with my assessment? Leave a comment and let me know.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. Remember to read the follow-up post here.

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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