No, I don’t really mean that. It’s a Facebook page (press “like” if you agree!!!!!!!).
We talked today in class about some of the issues that make social media marketing a little scary, and one of them was the increasing number of security concerns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. One student (thanks Lisa!) has posted a recent New York Times article that discusses viruses and other harmful social media activities.
Another issue that I think is just as worrisome is the increasing number of Facebook sites that ask you to go to an external website, and sometimes even enter personal information, if you want to “like” something. Some of them are fairly harmless, like the sites that take you to a place where you can sign up for a daily inspirational quote (which seems reasonable, considering you liked the inspiration that got you there in the first place). But there are other sites, and I’m not posting links for these, which say things like “you won’t believe what a girl found in her McDonald’s Happy Meal!!!!! (apparently, multiple exclamation points are necessary to get your attention). When you click on that one, you have to click “verify” and then “share” to get to the information. I really don’t want to know what happens behind the scenes while I’m clicking on these things.
What does this mean to our social media marketing? Part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that some social media activities, like playing games and posting a page where you collected people who wanted to see if a poodle with a tinfoil hat could get more fans than Glenn Beck started out innocently but then exploded in popularity really, really quickly. When people start seeing things happen really, really quickly online, it doesn’t take a huge leap to realize that there are people with something to sell who will try and take advantage.
People are naturally trusting, and millions will jump right into the social media waters without thinking too hard about the consequences. What could be so bad about playing Farmville? Not a lot…unless you start to get addicted enough that you need to start buying Facebook credits or signing up for subscriptions to things in order to keep playing. What could be bad about “liking” a Facebook page? Nothing…unless it’s a hoax, like the guy named Woody who said he needed to collect 500,000 Facebook fans to get Wendy’s hamburgers for life. There was no guy named Woody, it was all set up by Wendy’s. Talk about Happy Meals…the backlash for Wendy’s has cost them a lot of friends, both virtual and actual.
Of course, we all know that community arts organizations would NEVER, ever, in a Million Years do anything like that. I want to think it’s because we have scruples, but it may be because we aren’t smart enough, or that we don’t have the resources to deal with even a positive reponse, much less a negative one. But here’s why we should care. If people start getting so jaded about social media that they stop liking things, it decreases our chances of being successful. At what point do people just reach “like” burnout and refuse to like anything else? At what point do they stop relying on social media at all? I already have one friend (still my friend in real life) who has deactivated her Facebook page because of security concerns (Gerri, click if you “like” this).
Here’s my question for the day. Do you have security concerns on social media? How are you dealing with them? And most importantly, how can nonprofits shield themselves from the backlash and the problems?