The present scene of social media in India, just like any other industry in India, is that of a boom. Everyone wants to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instgram and whatever other social media site is relevant to their business.
That’s the good news.
But, there exists a large segment of the Indian marketing service providers and buyers who have been misinformed and misled through Blackhat SMO.
Just what is blackhat SMO? Well, it is the purchasing of fans and followers in order to increase your overall numbers on social media, without actually targeting a proper audience based on your product/brand’s inherent qualities.
How BlackHat Social Media Management Began:
Traditional technology companies that were once focused on making template based websites, installing hardware and managing simplistic SEO or even blackhat SEO practices learned that there was a new service they could provide their customers; social media management. But, not having the skills of branding, communication or any idea of pull marketing, they did what they knew best. These companies bought their way into fake accounts and spam accounts.
In June 2012, Mashable.com reported that there exist 83 Million fake accounts on Facebook. And Twitter fake accounts are in fact a multi-million dollar business (NYTimes Blog, April 2013)
These companies, who really are scammers, are selling Social Media Bullshit.
What the technology companies promise: Hire us and we’ll make you popular on Facebook/Twitter.
What they mean: They will buy fans for a fraction of the amount of money you pay to them on a monthly basis.
Fake followers are typically sold in batches of one thousand to one million accounts. The average price for 1,000 fake followers is $18, according to one study by Barracuda Labs. Mr. Stroppa and Mr. De Micheli said some sellers bragged that they made $2 and $30 per fake account. A conservative estimate, they said, was that fake Twitter followers offered potential for a $40 million to $360 million business. (source: NYTimes, Bit Blog, April 2013)
Company ABC: Sure. We’ll pay you. Better get us the big numbers!
The result: Thousands of new fans, but 0% of the fans you have will ever buy or recommend your products. Because they’re actually not people or if they are “people” they are not targeted ones - but simply follower acquiring machines.
How can I know how many of my Twitter followers or Facebook fans are real or not?
There exist sites likeSocialBakers which allow you to gauge the amount of real or fake followers your brand has.
But the problem continues to be unnoticed by several brands and organizations alike.
Why? Because many companies in India still believe that 100,000 fans on Facebook means that they are doing well on social media. The same on Twitter.
What is the solution? How do I undo the harm done by having thousands of robots on my social media presence?
- Clean-up: Delete the fans. Delete the followers.
- Reach Out: Start an engagement plan of action and execute it in a timely manner.
- Sustain: Create an ongoing content plan that engages your target audience in a meaningful manner with a touch of honesty and heart.
Genuine social media marketing organizations do exist in India today who can help your organization reestablish your presence on social media in an honest and engaging manner. So connect with them.
And remember, the next time someone promises you followers or fans, beware. They’re likely spending less than 1% of what they’re charging you to flood your brand with bots and spammers, which will take real social media mayors a hell of time and effort to undo.
(Image courtesy: Viralblog.com)