Tuesday, 24 September 2013

How unscrupulous scammers could be destroying your social cred

I've seen a lot going around lately about mistakes some of us make in trying to be proactive self-promoters. These blogs are generally talking about the obvious things that I think most people are coming to understand are generally frowned upon—auto direct messages, auto tweets, and sending unsolicited links to your products. That is not what this blog is about. This blog is about the ways your social media could be sabotaged by outright scammers, some less ethical spammers, and by simple ignorance of applications—without you knowing it.

I've mentioned a few times my day job is running a Web Design business. I also do my share of marketing and SEO. So not only have I made my own mistakes trying to stay ahead of the latest marketing techniques and strategies, but I also hear from my clients whenever they fall for something that goes completely wrong. There are a few things (some more well know and some less well known) that can have a massive impact on your social credibility.  

I'll start with the worst.

1. Direct Message Hackers
Yep these are the badest of the bad. These people hack the accounts of people you know and trust, then send innocent messages inciting you to click on a link from your friends account. Once you click that link the hackers are then able to hijack your account and begin to scam your followers.

The solution—Never click on links in direct messages. Delete them.
Yeah so those of you sending direct message links to people with your Amazon Book unsolicited? Don't do it because it makes you look like one of these bad guys.

Some of the classic messages associated with these links I've come to recognise immediately;

·         "Have you seen this pic of you?"

·         "I can't believe what people are saying about you!"

·          "This is so funny!"

·         "Is this it?"

·         "What time?"

This is just a sample but see how they look so innocent? It's not what we've come to associate with hackers—it's not "CLICK HERE NOW FOR A GIANT PENIS!!"

2. So called social media experts and unscrupulous marketers
What exactly does it take to be a social media expert? I mean what qualifications does one actually require to call themselves that? I've studied marketing at a university level, I run a professional business in the field, but I'd never call myself a social media expert. In fact, while I help clients set-up in social media I'd never do it for them on their behalf. Simply because personally I feel the key to social media success is personal interaction and relationship building. But even with help, doing social media properly takes time, therefore any person or service offering to boost your social media in any way for absolute peanuts...just think about how they might be achieving that.

Are they going to be automating? Using unethical practises? Do you even know?
An example of this is blog promotion services. I've seen so called blog marketing companies advertising all the traffic they will get you with three trillion magic link-backs, and all for twenty-five cents!!!

Want to know how they do that? They turn you into one of these douches...
(Actual comments left on my blog, with links removed)

"Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful
& it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like
you aided me."

Oww how sweet I know you're a real person because I help you out much...
 "I loved as much as you'll receive carried out
right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that
you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come
further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often
inside case you shield this increase."
Okay, I don't even know what happened here. It's like the bot started off trying and then just gave up. In any case, is that how you want your blog promoted? If these bots target blogs in your industry and spam them what reflection do you think this will have on you?

My point is, good quality legitimate services don't charge in butterfly wings, they charge real money. If you absolutely feel you cant navigate this world of social media without help, make sure you are entrusting your precious name to someone credible.

3. Applications that access your account
I know some people have a massive problem with any program or application that is used to monitor/control social media. I get it but let's face it—with follower limits on twitter, most of us who like to follow lots of people and make many connections will use something to manage following.

One of the most well known tools is justunfollow.com. There's nothing wrong with this service or others like it, but if you are going to allow any application access to your social media be sure you understand how that application may interact with your accounts.  
These applications often have automated services which can be turned off! There is nothing more hideous than seeing someone's tweet "I had 5 unfollows via ...", and many users simply have no idea this program is tweeting for them, sending DM's with links back to the application, or how to turn it off.

Learn because people don't like it—like really, really don't like it. Don't let an application make you look like a social douche.

A final thought for writers
Also writers I want to tell you something...(I can feel the social media gurus lining up their snipers) the success of your book does not hinge wholly on social media. I promise it doesn't. Social media is a tool, a great one if you have the inclination and enthusiasm for it. But number of followers does not equal number of people buying your books. Just ask Chuck Wendig who has blogged about this in his hysterical fashion. 
So relax, don't be so desperate that you actually hinder yourself. There's no magic success tablet. Just go to the Amazon bestseller list and take a look at those author social profiles. Many bestsellers are self-published and only have very small social media followings. What determines your success is writing something that connects with people at the right time in the right way.
Use social media because you enjoy it, to connect with people and enhance your journey, do not use it as nothing more that a loud speaker for self-promotion. 
Having said that, everyone makes mistakes. Just because someone sends a link that turns out to be hackers, doesn't mean that they are a hacker. Just because someone commits a social boo-boo does not mean that they are unworthy of your time and cannot add to your social experience.
I hope this blog can help you navigate the possible risks in your social media experience.

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  1. Brilliant advice (that gacve me a chuckle). Perfect blogging.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. :) feel free to stop by and call me perfect--like whenever ;P

  2. I was going to imitate that second bot but it was just way too much effort. instead I will just say this is an awesome post an im sharing it. That is all. Merissa

    1. Thanks so much Merissa, I really appriciate the feedback :)

  3. I got one of those direct messages on Twitter, and I ended up having to remove myself. I have never gone back.