Social smackdown: ask your Community Manager these questions before hiring them

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by Tieja MacLaughlin

Last week a high-profile CEO from Toronto followed me on Instagram.

She’s got an impressive resume, has built several success companies and had a fairly interesting social profile on top of it all. 

I followed back.

And I even engaged through likes and comments (boosting her social media metrics - you’re welcome).

Now through my work in Community Management, I’m afforded the opportunity to extrapolate/catch on quite easily to the idiosyncrasies and behaviours of people online. 

Over the course of a week, she followed at least a dozen new people every day. Most sharing similar hashtags, interests or mutual followers.

Ie. Follow me, I follow back, and then you follow like-minded individuals on my followers list, who are now more likely to follow you back because of the vote of confidence I’ve given them by following you too. Logic: “I like Tieja’s posts, so if she follows X account, I am also sure to like it as well.”

It’s a classic technique for increasing your following.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se.

The problem comes in what happened next.

She unfollowed me.

But not just me. Dozens of others. That she had been following earlier in the week.

The classic “bait and switch” technique to pad your stats online.

It’s tacky. And very distasteful. And done sheerly for personal gain.

I mean, had she unfollowed because she genuinely didn’t like my content, or because I wasn’t adding value to her feed, no problem.

But that wasn’t the case.

I would also be tempted to say she herself was not the culprit behind this. Rather, it was likely a Community Manager she hired (most CEO’s do this, it’s common practice). 

The primary problem here is, I associate this selfish one-sided behaviour with the owner of the account. And quite frankly, I think less of her now. 

If you’re a public figure, or brand, I encourage you to ask your Community Manager these types of questions before employing their services:

What techniques do you use to increase followers and engagement?
Have you ever purchased fake followers/bots?
Which metric is more important - conversion rate or reach?
Do you believe ethics have a place in social and community management? 
What do you consider to be a vanity metric?

If you need help answering any of the above, please feel free to reach out to me. 

Her followers may have increased, but her trustworthiness hasn’t.

What, truly, affects your bottom line more - Followers or trust?

I’ll let you decide.

Tieja MacLaughlin