We love social business. We love the power social media has to bring together friends, colleagues, mentors, and causes. Unfortunately anything that has the power to do good can be easily exploited by those with ulterior motives. We will not use this blog to discuss the criminality of social media. Thankfully we have a legal system for those that use it to bully or organize mobs to commit crimes.
With social media or social business as part of our daily routine, there is a “layer” (for lack of a better word) for people who use it to cheat, manipulate or steal information. It may not be labeled criminal, but it does cost us time and lots of frustration, trying to undo something that we have inadvertently clicked.
Everyone reading this blog has likely been the victim of what is known as a phishing scam. Phishing is basically sending any type of communication claiming to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam you, the user into surrendering private information. Popular phishing targets are, of course, the public social networks. Twitter and Facebook seem plagued with new phishing scams on a daily basis. The schemes can run from receiving two free airline tickets if you click the “Like” button to the sophistication of a redirect screen that is virtually identical to a login screen where scammers can collect your user id and password.
As users become more attuned to the ways of phishing, undoubtedly the phishers will need to become more sophisticated. If only we knew what was ahead. But as we mentioned there is another type of deception out there, one where social media allows people and organizations to “create” an image. So what do we mean when we refer to a social business poser? Many of you are very familiar with the word “poser” and Urban Dictionary defines it quite succinctly.
"A poser is someone who tries to fit into a profile they aren't. People who try to give off the impression that they are one thing when they are really another.”
Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and YouTube serve as excellent publishing platforms. They afford individuals and organizations an opportunity to highlight, share and connect on the things that can't be explained in a traditional advertising campaign or through press releases. Social business really gets its moxie when brands and individuals start promoting ideas they think are interesting in the hopes that other's feel that way too - Real communication with real people.
Social media, through any platform, is all about earning ears and eyes through a good product, good service and a having relevant message. Is it surprising that there are now companies springing up to allow one to “buy” Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers? These companies are easy to find through your favorite browser and actually offer their service for a reasonable price. Their message is clear, “We guarantee prompt delivery of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of fans in a week.” Really? Let’s think of what can be behind this magic Fan wall – are they real Facebook accounts or shell accounts? Are they individuals paid to “Like” pages? Either way, this smacks in the face of true marketing/branding ideology and makes a mockery of social media. It is not easy to get people to fan you or follow-you. When they do, they are basically saying, “Hey, I like you and would like to learn more, here is a key to my world” and it is our job to make their world a little more interesting and informative.
The number of fans or followers one has is certainly not the quantifiable measure of success. It is how many you reach and genuinely engage with your brand or organization that matters. Anyone with a sense of marketing and/or social strategy knows that money can’t buy you love (LOL – a least long term) and a fan base of mostly disengaged, paid people is poserville.