Social Media Marketing or SMM uses several techniques to get traffic to the websites. In these practices, social media is utilised for driving more visitors towards company website, for influencing the consumers, for raising brand publicity and awareness and even for gaining more customers. There are two types of online marketing strategies that are used by the marketing firms: White hat techniques and Black hat techniques.
White hat techniques are genuine and honest methods practised that result in a long lasting growth in popularity whereas black hat techniques are illegal and felonious techniques that may give quick results but are sure to get its users in trouble.
- Buying and Hacking: Paying people (instead of Facebook) for likes or resorting to the practices like phishing to gain followers on social media accounts are two of the highly illegal practices and a definite NO-NO.
- Posting fake positive reviews about the product and as clients on social media to build trust among the consumers; also, posting negative reviews on the social pages of competitors is sure to raise flags from the Websites and may result in legal action from these websites as well as the competitors.
- Corrupting images: Facebook policy does not allow the images to be boosted (paid promotion) to contain more than 20% text in order to preserve the standard user experience. In order to find loopholes in this rule many times images are distorted to hide the text from the Facebook algorithm. However, Facebook team is constantly on a lookout for such cases and flags such images immediately upon discovering. If an account is seen to be posting too many of such images, Facebook may ban the page altogether.
- Misuse of automation tools: Automation tools for social media advertisement should be used in an effective way to save posting time. It should appear genuine and not robotic. Black hat users use these automation tools to send out generic messages which can be annoying to the new fans and followers. They also use these tools to automatically unfollow and follow new accounts.Sharing hyperlinks and creating fraud profiles on social media to collect information, comment or share.
- Creating fake accounts: Creating fraud profiles on social media to collect information, to comment or to share i.e. to promote yourself is definitely a black hat technique.
Spending on social media marketing has become essential for businesses to survive in this competitive and socially advanced market. But it should be done in an honest and ethical way.
Using black hat practices for SMM can be considered as indirectly cheating your consumers. The business will have to face a heavy penalty for using such techniques as black hat practices for SMM are not allowed by search engines as well as Social media sites. These websites are constantly watching for people who try to find loopholes in the system and do not show leniency when caught.
The repercussions can be very heavy (imagine having your company page, which has more than 50,000 followers, getting banned). It is sure to affect the goodwill, brand image and ROI of the business.