As bloggers and business owners, we know that we should be investing in building our audiences on social media networks.
But building an audience just takes too long for many of us!
So we end up looking for shortcuts.
The problem is, sometimes these shortcuts are not always agreeable to everyone. If anything, some of them are just downright controversial.
When you carry out a controversial or questionable activity, you run the risk of pissing off someone, and that’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
Nonetheless, it’s still better to know what these hacks are and then choose not to do them, rather than be completely ignorant of them in the first place. At least you’d be making an informed decision.
So let’s have a look at 7 Questionable Social Media Hacks That You Should Consider using for your blog.
1) Content Curation using Snip.ly
Snip.ly is a new startup that describes itself as the only URL shortener that helps you increase conversions. It has taken URL shortening to the next level by allowing users to create a custom call to action that is imposed on the content that is shared.
This is an example: http://snip.ly/dS1Z
The controversial part here is that some bloggers do not appreciate having other people’s call to actions imposed on their own blog content. After investing so much time in researching, writing and promoting their blog posts, I can understand that certain bloggers might feel taken advantage of.
Having said that, just as some people might snip your content, you can snip other people’s content too. In addition, one also has to keep in mind that when someone is snipping your content, ultimately that person is sharing your content, exposing it to a new potential audience. That’s a good thing, even if they’re inserting their own call-to-action alongside yours.
Personally, I like Snip.ly and that’s because I like and appreciate the people who share the content I work so hard on. If through Snip.ly, all the people who share my content get at least one conversion, that would be fantastic (as long as what they’re selling is legit).
I can understand other bloggers’ frustrations. However, my focus is always on offering value. If my content can be of value to readers and sharers, that’s great.
2) Buying Twitter Followers
This is a common method used to give the impression that one has a lot of followers. This is desirable because it’s perceived that people with lots of followers have something worthwhile to share.
The problem with using someone from Fiverr is that you’ll probably lose many of the followers after a few days. This is less likely to happen if you’re working with a more established company.
Now, I know what you’re saying. Aren’t these followers all fake?
Yes they are, no matter what you’re told. However, even though they are fake, they are still useful.
For the purposes of this article I bought 1000 followers from BuyRealMarketing. Now this is what the analytics of my twitter account looks like:
As expected, once I had so many followers, more real people started following me. For me that’s the real purpose of buying Twitter followers and it works.
Probably what happens is that since I have a certain amount of followers, Twitter’s algorithm is more likely to suggest me to other Twitter users, and so I start getting more followers.
Please note however, that throughout this exercise I was sharing valuable content on Twitter and interacting with a few users. On average, maybe I’d send around 2 tweets a day.
The end result is that WP Lighthouse has over 1000+ followers with over 12% of them real people. This is not a huge number but it’s most probably more followers than I would have got if I hadn’t bought any fake followers. Remember that I spend very little time on managing WP Lighthouse on Twitter (since I manage other brands).
3) Automating & Systematizing to Build Your Twitter Following
One of the best solutions for this is undoubtedly TweetAdder 4.0.
For example, you can search for users who have unfollowed you, who are not following you back, who are inactive, or users who don’t have a profile image. You can then search for new users to follow such as users who follow a specific account, target users according to certain keywords or even according to location.
Another useful feature is that you can automate direct messaging. Although this may seem as an impersonal practice, you still can achieve some conversions which are definitely better than nothing.
TweetAdder has more features and for busy people (or Twitter power users), it is certainly a very effective application. And at just $19 / month, it’s a good deal too.
The only reason that its use is questionable is because it automates different aspects of the Twitter experience and thus Twitter becomes increasingly impersonal. This is not ideal considering Twitter is a social network.
Nonetheless, I would still recommend using TweetAdder if having lots of followers is important to your online marketing strategy and you’re pressed for time.
4) Starting Conversations to boost your Facebook reach
This method is quite devious and this is how it works.
- You create a blog post or landing page that you wish to promote.
- You create a fake Facebook account that looks real.
- You join Facebook groups that are related to whatever you’re promoting.
- You start opening individual chat conversations en masse with members of the groups. You just say something like “Hi, I’m a fellow member of [Facebook group]. How are you?”
- Send them a friend request.
- I’m not sure if they actually have to accept the friend request. I believe once you reply back to the chat, you will start seeing their status updates in your newsfeed. That’s free, targeted promotion for them and all they did was send a standard message to you with no intention of replying back.
Personally, I dislike this method. It’s dishonest and devious. I haven’t tried it and have no plans of trying it, but I have seen it in action. Is it effective? If you have a good offer and combine it with other promotion methods, it might be effective to a certain degree.
5) Buying Facebook Likes
Similar to buying Twitter followers, many businesses buy Facebook Likes to give the impression they are popular.
In my opinion, buying Facebook likes won’t really get you much. Even if you do get new, real Likes from this exercise, there is very little value in that.
In this blog post, Why Facebook Page Likes Don’t Matter Anymore, I explain how due to past and future changes to the newsfeed algorithm, for many brands, investing in a Facebook page just isn’t really worth it anymore.
If you wish to have a presence on Facebook, it’s much better to invest in your own website and then promote that using Facebook Ads.
My take on buying Facebook Likes is that it’s not worth building Pages with a huge following. It could be worth investing in getting a couple hundred ‘Likes’ just so people can find you if they search in Facebook’s search engine. But that’s all.
6) Content Locking with WP Sharely
WP Sharely is a really exciting WordPress plugin that allows you to “lock your content”. It forces your readers to share your content if they want to unlock bonus content.
The hidden content could be a special offer, or it could even simply be some more exclusive content. This is what WP Sharely looks like:
The reason using WP Sharely is questionable is because some readers find this method of social media promotion annoying. They wouldn’t want to share something just to get access to extra content.
I think WP Sharely is useful and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using it. This is especially true if you have published a great piece of content and want to give your supporters something extra special.
However, if you use the plugin on mediocre content, I’d understand how people might feel cheated.
Using WP Sharely to hide discount/coupon codes can be a very effective method for affiliate marketers.
7) Outsourcing Social Media Content Creation
Theoretically, one of the main purposes of social media marketing is to have other people engage your brand.
The question is: does this really happen when you outsource your social media creation to a stranger that you have never met before?
One company that offers social media content creation is 99dollarsocial. They offer to “take social media off your to-do list so you can focus on doing what you do best”.
In other words, they post daily content to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts, for just $99 per month.
At the outset this sounds like a great deal. However, one has to consider questions like, what is the ROI (return on investment) that you can expect from using their service? Do they really take social media off your “to-do” list or do you still have to busy yourself by finding conversations to participate in? and by finding people to follow?
I haven’t tried their service yet, but they seem like a good company. On their website they have a number of credibility markers such as testimonials, a nice design, and they’ve been mentioned on popular sites like Entrepreneur.com and Social Media Today.
My take on such a service is that it wouldn’t completely take social media off your to do-list.
However, if you have a brand that you want to grow and you want to focus on the social aspect of the social media, rather than the content creation part, then I can see a company like 99dollarsocial be very convenient for you.
After all, consistent content creation is one of the biggest reasons why many people fail at leveraging social media successfully. This could be the right solution for many people.
BONUS: One More Super Social Media Hack That Quickly Builds Up Your Email List
As a bonus, I’m including one more social media hack that will blow your mind.
Since, I reserve my best and most exclusive material for my inner circle, to get this super hack, just enter your name and email address below.
Which one of the social media hacks is your favourite? Will you be trying it out? Do you have any other social media hacks that you can share?
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