As a Social Media Manager I can tell you there’s a lot more going on than you realise. In fact the perky world of social media has a dark side which is often frequented by people like… ummm … myself! Yes, a good social media manager will know the 5 Dirty Social Media Tricks You Didn’t Know Happened , whether they use them or not is a different matter!
Let’s take a look at top 5 dirty social media tricks that happen in the industry:
#1 Buying Likes
Did you know that there’s a good chance your favourite brand bought a chunk of the likes on their social media account? Yes it happens and it’s incredibly easy to do, of course with the objective of seeming popular and attracting genuine fans. Many brands buy “packs” of likes online which are usually auto generated by bots to instantly add fans to a social page. In fact, in social world it’s easy to buy most things… comments, likes, shares … you name it and it’s there for under $10! An easy way to check if a page has genuine fans is to look at interaction levels. If a brand has 1 million fans but nobody is liking or commenting on anything then the chances are they’re fake! For me, fake likes are bad news because they skew analytical figures, don’t provide any real value and can risk your social pages being blocked.
#2 Link Baiting
Link baiting is the act of creating an intriguing or compelling headline to pull in traffic and increase fan numbers. This one is easily spotted because the content does not match the headline. For example
Headline “This girl bathed naked in Mentos and look what happened”
Article – Talks about insurance or is heavily populated with pop up ads.
Unfortunately many people don’t recognize link baiting and continue to support the page providing the links. Another example of social link baiting is the “Like to Support” Facebook posts. A page whose agenda is to sell a product may compel the user to like and share a post which tugs at the heart strings. For example images of sick children, abused animals or war always get plenty of hits. This ultimately gets a huge amount of traffic for the page which will eventually begin to promote its product or rename to promote its product!
#3 Fake Reviews
Did you really believe all the reviews you saw online were real? Sorry to break it to you but a large percentage of them are fake. It has been proven time after time that potential clients are heavily influenced by reviews. In fact 77% of customers will consult an online review before making a purchase or using a service. So as marketers, what can we do? Well, we can heavily influence their decision by placing positive reviews from “imaginary” clients. In fact, some brands even outsource this task to agencies to ensure that a variety of IP addresses, photos and profiles are used in order to avoid detection. This is frowned upon by some legitimate review sites such as Trust Pilot whilst other, less reputable sites (no names mentioned) allow brands to pay for fake reviews whilst claiming to be unbiased. SNEAKY!
#4 Anti-Competitive Activities
Along the line of fake reviews comes anti-competitive activities. What do I mean? Basically this is the art of sabotaging your competitors online using underhanded social and SEO strategies. Bidding on your competitors name as a keyword on Google is an example of this. This would effectively mean that when people search for your competitor then they get you instead! Naughty? yes, frowned upon? yes but banned? No! In the US for example, if you bid on competitor brand terms, Google’s policy is to ignore you, provided you don’t include any trademarked stuff in your creatives. Another anti-competitive activity is to trash your competitor on forums using alias accounts. For example, you might pretend to be a client of your competitor and slate their product or service. Yes it’s nasty and yes it happens!
#5 Data Selling
Did you know that there are plenty of social media channels looking to profit from your data? Let’s start at the beginning… your data is worth money in the hands of marketers. Every day I get offered “secret client mailing lists” which I turn down. Why do I turn them down? Because it is not actually legal to email clients who have not opted in (agreed) to receive your emails or newsletters. So when you enter contests or opinion polls on less scrupulous social media pages, your data may be gathered for this exact purpose. Serious brands like mine only collect data legally and certainly don’t sell it but not everyone behaves this way online. Dirty? Yes and very profitable!
I hope you enjoyed reading 5 Dirty Social Media Tricks You Didn’t Know Happened. Follow me on Twitter @Charli_Says and let me know what you think.