In our last blog, we discussed what Black Hat meant and why it’s something you want to stay away from. Today, we’ll dive into five tactics considered to be “black hat” that you should avoid doing and avoid marketing companies who use this as part of their strategy.
1. Buying Page Likes and Engagement
Some companies will tell you that this will get the ball rolling on your social media accounts. It’ll make your pages look more legitimate when new users come to your profile for the first time. They may even tell you that it’s a snowball effect and once you start getting more of an audience and more engagement, more and more people will start to see your content. And here’s the real problem with these reasons – they’re completely true. The problem is, buying an audience or their engagement is NOT the way to do it.
You see, the platform will notice what kind of people are viewing and engaging with your content, and then it will show it to more like-minded people. You know what spam bot profiles are going to attract? More spam bot profiles. And believe me when I say that those bots are not going to purchase your product or service.
Furthermore, that social media platform you’re on, is eventually going do one (or both) of two things. 1. They’ll start shutting the fake bot profiles down, and you’ll lose those precious marketing dollars you spent on them. Or… 2. They’ll catch what you’re doing and penalize your page for it. Either way, that amazing growth you saw so quickly will all be for nothing, and your bottom line won’t have anything to show for it.
2. Overuse of Sales Posts
Some companies will tell you in order to sell your product or service that you need to sell your product or service. If you don’t talk about it, users won’t know about it. Again, the problem with this statement, is that it is true. However, if all you do is sell your service, you’re going to turn people away from your brand, and quickly.
At Transformation Marketing, we focus on relational posts. People want content they can relate to that has something in it for them. Fun contests, quality information and resources, and feel good posts are just as important as product/service education posts. First, you need to catch their attention, then they’ll be interested in finding out what you’re all about.
3. Playing the “Follows for Follows” Game
Let me explain this. If you’re on Instagram (or Twitter), you’ve probably seen someone comment on one of your posts or message you that said, “I just followed you, follow me back.” Or, “I’ll follow you if you’ll follow me.” Or… “I can get you 1,000 followers. Message me on how!” These are not quality follows. They’re not interested in your content. They’re simply wanting to build their audience so it looks like they have a lot of followers. It’s not genuine, and it’s not going to help you in the long run. It’s the same as being page likes and engagement. The more people you have in your audience that are not in your target market, the more people outside of your target market you’re going to attract. (That doesn’t make sense, does it?)
4. Plagiarizing Content
There are companies out there who will do your social media for a ridiculously low cost. Be cautious of these companies. Many of them put out the exact same content for dozens or even hundreds of other companies in your industry. So, you could be putting out the exact same content as your competitor. (That’s not going to look good.)
Even if the company tells you that they only work with one industry per market (so they’d be working with a similar company to yours, but in a different city/region/state), it’s still a bad idea to re-post content. Algorithms can catch that and see that your posts aren’t original or unique. The social platforms see that as spam, and will ding your account for it, hurting your reach more and more over time, which isn’t always easy to come back from.
5. Using Fake Profiles
There are companies who will use fake profiles to manufacture engagement. Again, while this may seem like it’s getting the ball rolling and opening up the door for others to engage, it’s really not. When someone engages on your post, it is shown to people they’re connected to, and/or people in a similar demographic as them. What really helps… getting actual people to engage!
At Transformation Marketing, we believe it all comes down to trust and results, and that means doing social media the right way for our clients. We are focused on doing what is right and ensuring our clients are getting quality marketing that helps them grow their business over time. It may not be instantaneous, but it sets them up for the long haul!