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Black Hat Social Media

When it comes to getting the job done, there are two ways to tackle the situation. There’s the correct way, which often times requires more work, patience, and time. And then there’s the wrong way, which can bring instant gratification, less energy, and, well, let’s face it: it’s easier. However, sometimes the wrong way can earn you a slap on the wrist, or much more severe consequences that leave long lasting impressions. When it comes to your business, you don’t want to chance it. If you ask me, we should be kicking black hat tactics to the curb and focusing on enriching white hat strategies that strengthen businesses from the inside out.

For this specific post, I’m referring to black hat social media tactics. These are tactics that are designed to take advantage of the system. Essentially, these tactics are rebelling against best practices of a network such as Facebook or Twitter. Now, this doesn’t necessarily seem like a huge deal, since social media best practices change almost on a monthly (or weekly!) basis. However, there are a few standard black hat social media tactics to be weary of. Let’s go through the right and wrong ways to approach social media advertising practice by practice:

1. WRONG WAY: Buying Fans

You don’t see musicians passing out free tickets to random people expecting to get diehard fans out of it. People buy tickets to concerts they WANT to see, not shows they could not possibly care less about.

The same philosophy applies to buying your fans from a crowdsourcing site. Buying fans is a waste of money. These people have no interest in engaging in your page, and they are never going to convert into paying customers

RIGHT WAY: Building Fans

Let’s use the music example again. Think about how musicians grow popularity these days. They promote themselves on YouTube by posting videos, they share “behind the scenes” pictures on Instagram, and they interact with fans across Facebook and Twitter. You can’t put a pricetag on this level of engagement. I still remember every single interaction I’ve ever had with a musician I’ve admired. It’s a big deal.

Apply this mindset to your business. Post frequently to your social pages. This content could be images, videos, promotions, questionnaires, or giveaways. By keeping content fresh, you’re helping your brand gain exposure, and increases REAL fans and followers.

2. WRONG WAY: Spamming on social posts

Is there anything worse than social spammers? You know, the ones that leave little comments that guarantee 1000 likes? The majority of users know better than to engage with these comments, but some don’t – which is why the practice continues.

RIGHT WAY: Engagement

I kind of feel like a broken record player with this one, but if you take anything out of this blog post, it’s this. Do not, I repeat, do NOT set and forget your social pages! It’s critical for your brand to interact with other users and even other businesses in your community. Make your presence known by participating in trending topics and using hashtags when applicable. This is the holy grail advice for social media, I’m telling you!

3. WRONG WAY: Excessive Automation

No one wants to deal with a robot, whether it be on the phone or on the computer. Excessive automation is generic messages that users are used to pressing “delete!” as soon as they enter their inbox.

RIGHT WAY: A healthy dose of Automation

Automation is okay if it isn’t used too liberally. You can use automation tools to send “thank you” e-mails or to manage postings without being obnoxious. However, leaving comments and initiating interactions should never come from an automation. You should own your brand and be personable rather than robotic whenever possible.

In conclusion, there’s a right and a wrong way to do everything. With social media, it’s best to to do things the old fashioned way – hard work, gradual progression, and patience.