Digital marketing firm LandingNet joins the social media malpractice debate and calls for the ASA to intervene

Channel 4′s recent Dispatches investigation “Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans” exposed how brands are buying social media interactions (  “likes” ) on Facebook and how celebrities are being paid to endorse products on Twitter. The documentary in particular exposed the practice of “click farms” in Bangladesh which involves companies using low-paid workers to develop fake Facebook “likes”, Twitter followers and YouTube views.

social media scams

The practice of celebrities endorsing products and brands on social media was also highlighted, with the Dispatches undercover reporter paying £1,000 to a company called Dynasty Media to entice celebrities to publicise a fake watch. Channel 4’s Dispatches also established links between Coca-Cola and Dhaka-registered Shareyt.com, which acts as a broker to connect companies seeking to boost their profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Dominic Sterland, Managing Director of Nottingham digital marketing agency LandingNet, points out: “In a week where social media like Twitter and Ask.FM have come under the microscope for ‘troll abuse and bullying’ by individuals, we now discover that commercial abuse of Twitter and Facebook appears to be rife. Channel 4’s Dispatches exposure of the high level of scamming that goes on within social media marketing is a worrying development”.

He continues: “Worshipping false social media gods and idols will only undermine the credibility of the digital marketing industry as a whole and discredits this relatively new online platform. However Channel 4 highlighting how brands can unnaturally grow their online engagement figures and the practices that rogue agencies and celebrities undertake to promote products, will hopefully now put a stop to this malpractice. For blue chip companies, brand integrity and reputation is everything and they will be very keen to put their house in order and distance themselves from any hint of social media impropriety”.

Dominic Sterland adds: “The reality is that commercial social media abuse is almost certainly practiced by a minority of rogue players, but to protect the majority of honest digital marketers, we need a thorough investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority ( ASA ), in order to achieve total transparency”.

10 Ways To Make Google Fall In Love With Your Site

Is your romance with Google’s listings losing its spark? Here are a few ways that are a sure to get the butterflies back!

  1. Engage In Conversation – No one likes someone that’s all talk. Encourage customer feedback, responses, and comments on new projects!
  2. Be eloquent – bad grammar and spelling is a no-no in Google’s books. You want them to notice you? Then you better grab a dictionary (or at least a spell-checker).
  3. Be unique – Create original and fresh content, make yourself stand out. Don’t be a bore!
  4. Don’t be too clingy – We’ve all had the partner that was a little too keen, and just as repeating ‘I Love You’ every 5 minutes gets boring, Google feels this way about Keywords. Don’t keyword stuff your content!hearty1 300x222 10 Ways To Make Google Fall In Love With Your Site
  5. Clean yourself up -  Get rid of all of your dormant links and dodgy link farms.  Everyone loves a well groomed gentleman…
  6. Get connected – use social media networks to spread the word! Google’s a sucker for the popular crowd.
  7. Unlike Cilla, Google doesn’t like blind dates – Consistent and Quality content over time will help Google get to know the real you (and rank you).
  8. Be Spontaneous – Surprise Google with videos, images, slides – don’t be bland.
  9. Be reliable – make sure you update your content regularly. Don’t blurt it all out at once, and then be inactive for a year. Google needs a stable relationship.
  10. Read it from Google themselves – for more tips on how to woo Google, check out their guide to search engine optimisation.

If your love for Google is unrequited then contact us for relationship counselling

How To Use Twitter To Win New Business

People ask me all the time ‘Does Twitter really work?’ and ‘How can you use Twitter to get new business?’. Well the answer to the first question is a very definite yes and the best way to answer the second question is to tell you about a phone call I have just received which has to be one of the most impressive uses of Social Media I have seen.

Twitter you either love it or hate it

Twitter you either love it or hate it

Unfortunately yesterday our hosting company experienced some serious connectivity issues. I immediately went onto their Facebook page and left a comment and tweeted them and credit where credit is due they responded exceptionally quickly. Something that I hear said a lot is, ‘I don’t want to use Social Media because of the potential for negative feedback’ , to which I’ll always say that to err is human and as long as you don’t ignore the comments and respond in a timely, professional manner then people will see that you have high customer service levels and this will turn that potential negative into a positive.

Although I wasn’t overly impressed with their answer to my tweet the speed of the response especially considering they were in the midst of what I can only imagine must have been total mayhem put them in a positive light. But although this shows good use of Social Media this is not the scenario that impressed me most, but rather the phone call I have just received.

A few months ago a hosting company cold called me. I said I was very happy with my current provider and wasn’t interested in changing unless their service levels dropped but would keep their details on file. Then today the same company rang me up and said that they had seen a tweet from me yesterday about the problems I was experiencing and would now be a good time to go through the services they offer. Presumably they added my twitter account into a pospect list on twitter and then have a search on that list for any tweets with associated hosting keywords.

This is very simple to do and as you can imagine provides you with red hot leads. So if you are among the millions of people taking the scatter gun approach of shouting as loud as you can into the twittersphere to a group of people who are probably only following you in the hope that you follow them back then you should rethink your strategy and start to box clever. I have booked them in for a chat on Friday because not only is the timing right for the chat but they are obviously a company with an impressive grasp of innovative technologies and how to use them. (Update they haven’t tweeted me about this blog and didn’t ring me today – Friday!! But the moral of this tale still holds true.)

twitter boxing How To Use Twitter To Win New Business

Don't take the scatter gun approach - Box clever on Twitter

Now of course I will tweet this blog and I presume they will see it. So if you are watching Big Brother this doesn’t mean I will definitely move but I’m certainly open to listen to what you say and I’ll be waiting to see if you guys tweet me about this (don’t let me down!) and I also wonder if my current providers will pick up on it!?!

Now THAT is how you use Twitter to win new business.

If you want to find out more about Social Media and how you can use it to grow your Business then you can leave a message on our Facebook Page, send me a tweet, connect with me on linkedinemail uscontact us from the site or go proper old skool and ring us on 0115 896 7715.

Now THAT is what I call a call to action!