What cowboy hats and rubber duckies have to do with social media

In honour of CFR in Edmonton this week and the induction of the rubber duckie into the Toy Hall Of Fame, this week I want to talk about white-hat vs. black-hat techniques of growing your social media community. And also ducks. 

Wear the white hat when you're on social media. Image in the Creative Commons.

Wear the white hat when you're on social media. Image in the Creative Commons.

When we talk about white hats and black hats in digital marketing, we're talking about using strategies that are totally above-board vs. doing things that may be technically legal or doable, but are really about gaming the system. 

Let's face it: we're human and we want what we want right now. When we translate this to businesses on social media, we stare at our accounts and silently will those followers, likes, re-tweets, comments, shares, or whatever to grow, grow, grow. 

Yes, you can buy likes from like farms. Yes, you can get quick gains from sharing inane content and less-than-scrupulous methods. But these gains are only short-lived.

Recently, Facebook changed its newsfeed algorithm to deemphasize "low quality" content, which includes memes and the sort of super-easy, cute-puppy-goes-viral stuff that makes your "Virality" score go through the roof.  No longer.

Facebook's not the only one making changes; Google has introduced a menagerie—literally: Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin—of updates to its search engine. Hummingbird encodes keyword data, which makes it hard to optimize content for keywords, because you no longer see which keywords bring your users to your site. 

It's easy to think that those who control the Internet are doing everything they can to prevent you from gaming the system. In reality, they are doing what they're doing to ensure that users get  more of what they want from the Internet.  

So don't try to game the system, and stop making everything about you. A long-term, strategic content strategy that is focused on your audience is the only win-win-win. You'll make the Internet happy, and more importantly, you'll make your customers happy. And when your customers are happy, you'll be happy, too.  

Oh, right. I promised ducks. If you need help getting your social media ducks in a row, NikComm can help. Contact us.