Instead of risking damage to a business reputation, use these five best practices to maintain authenticity in your social media. (Spoiler alert…It doesn’t involve offers of Free Twitter Followers).
When a business has a large number of fans and followers on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, potential customers often use those metrics as a measurement of the company’s importance and industry influence. These metrics make a difference to the revenue of a business, since they affect whether or not potential customers decide to create sales relationships with that company or to do business with another competitor.
But according to a January 5, 2014 Associated Press article published by CBS Sacramento, “Fake social media ‘click farms’ part of big business”, there is a growing global market today for social media trickery and a million followers may be bought for just $600. The article notes that when businesses pay a fee, workers at these “link farms” all over the world view YouTube videos, retweet Twitter comments or click Facebook “like” buttons to artificially increase social media numbers.
Although the promise of free Twitter followers and the practice of buying links, retweets, clicks and free Twitter followers may be lucrative in the short term, it adversely affects a company’s credibility when viewers discover the truth. Sudden spikes in the social media sites of a company are obvious to savvy users of those sites, especially if the organization is brand-new to the social media world.
There are also analytics tools such as Twitteraudit, Twittercounter and Facebook insights pages that clearly reveal if a business has bought followers or fallen prey to offers of free Twitter followers. Once business leaders make the decision to purchase followers on social media sites, the credibility of that business severely decreases, potential customers go to other companies and social media companies delete those accounts.
With the existence of social media, news about business activities spreads more quickly than in previous decades. In today’s fast-paced social media world, negative information about a company buying followers travels across the world in minutes or hours. Since press services monitor social media channels for potential news stories, there is also the risk that conventional TV and press news sources will pick up this information and spread it further to their own audiences, creating a public relations disaster.
Five Ways to Protect your Business Reputation with Authentic Social Media
Instead of risking damage to a business reputation, use these five best practices to retain credibility among current and potential customers:
- Encourage site users to engage your company on social media sites. Engagement may be in the form of discussions and comments that provide feedback about your company.
- Build an online community on social media sites through honest, personal interaction between site users and your company. These interactions provide valuable insights about how customers feel about your products and services, and the information gained leads to improvements in company products, services and revenue.
- Monitor news sites for information about industry changes or news events, and make changes to scheduled posts or tweets if needed.
- Adopt a long-term mindset. Online communities take time, effort and patience to build, but a popular and thriving community is an effective method of driving customers to your website.
- Create error-free social media sites without misspellings, punctuation errors or broken hyperlinks. Sites without these obvious errors convey a sense of professionalism and care to detail.
The best source of free Twitter followers and fans on social media sites is authentic conversation with real users who become engaged with your content.