You might’ve heard of black hat SEO tactics, think keyword stuffing, invisible texts and duplicated content in order to boost your search ranking. But another illicit mean of online ‘success’ has also been in use since the beginning of social media – it’s one that’s against everything businesses should be, and one that could actually negatively affect your business, in both the online universe and the real world.
That tactic is known as black hat social media and it deceives, fabricates and misrepresents your brand.
It’s conning real life followers, potential customers, and even you.
People often say that stats are everything, but in the case of black hat tactics they’re wrong. Black hat tactics is buying followers, likes and comments, it’s creating fake accounts and reviews, it’s using bots to follow and unfollow. Take a read through a few of these tactics and find out why they should be the last thing on your social media mind.
This is commonplace on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just a quick search on Google provides thousands of sites all claiming to magically generate you followers and likes. Sound great? Not really, they’re all absolutely meaningless.
Okay, so they might look good to potential real life followers (if you’re doing things right you should be attracting these anyway). But, scratch beneath the surface and they’re nothing but numbers. And not even the useful type of analytics or insight ones!
These made up followers aren’t there for engagement, to create leads, or make purchases, they’ll show no personality, loyalty or relationship to your brand.
They’re simply (and literally) making the numbers up.
Buying followers can impact on your reputation too. It doesn’t get much more embarrassing than being found out to have bought followers or likes. It proves you’re unable to attract real followers or customers, it’s all contrived and not organic, damaging both online and real life reputation.
And if that’s not bad enough, these fake followers stick out like a sore thumb. Some don’t even have profile pictures or account information, as is customary with genuine accounts. Plus, it’s a bit unrealistic for your small business from Nunthorpe to have organically attracted a healthy following from Nairobi. Come on.
To add to that, your page and account could become a platform for spam. This could actually impact on your genuine customers too. If these followers plant themselves inside your community they will target similar accounts, followers of followers etc. Not good. And of course, buying followers, likes and comments is against every social media site’s terms and conditions.
Following and Unfollowing Accounts
This is the kind of thing your 10-year-old cousin would do. Endlessly following accounts, only to go back a week later and unfollow all those who haven’t followed back, and maybe even those that have! Incredible. As with buying followers, it’s simply not an honest or true way of building organic followers who create genuine engagements and leads – everything that social media should be.
Not only does this method prove timely and unnatural, it also makes you look dishonest and pretty childish when you inevitably get found out. Which sooner or later you will.
Buying Likes, Retweets and Comments
By now you probably get the picture. Boosting your figures by buying followers or deviously unfollowing just isn’t worth it. But just in case you aren’t convinced, we’ll go through buying likes and comments.
So, the whole benefit of retweets and likes is that your content and account will be seen by more people with an interest in your brand, in turn creating more potential leads. But, that’s how it works with genuine retweets and engagements. Just think for a minute about those retweets and likes you might be tempted to buy – these aren’t actually accounts, they don’t even have the slightest interest in your brand. It again refers back to the black hat stats lie.
They’re figures, but there’s no substance, no actual engagement and most importantly, no potential leads.
Have a think about who your message has reached? Are they potentially people who’ll buy your product or service? Have you raised brand awareness to people who care?
The answer to the above is no one and no. They’re merely fictitious.
It’s pretty obvious, but writing your own comments and reviews is a big no no too. It doesn’t matter how cleverly you think you’ve written it or what great made up name you’ve come up with, someone will find out eventually. And the fallout from that just isn’t worthwhile. Similar to following and unfollowing accounts, you’ll be made to look dishonest, childish and in all honesty, pretty pathetic.
At the end of the day, there’s no shortcuts or quick fixes to social media success.
Concentrate on creating engaging content, building brand loyalty and attracting genuine, real life leads. This way you’ll create an honest and open brand which is appealing to followers and most importantly, truly reflects the essence of your business.
Want to know more about getting the best out of social media? Our Digital Marketing team have experience of managing and growing accounts across a variety of sectors and industries. Get in touch on 01642 989158 or drop us an email.