Many of you who know me know that I am really big into social media. Not only do I utilize it on a personal basis, I also utilize it to make a living as social media is a huge part of my job. I love social media so when I see it being abused, I get a little defensive. I have made up my mind that I am going to devote a few separate blog posts on what to avoid with social media. These posts will not be in succession of each other but will be spread out over a couple of months. One of these posts will deal with ex-significant others and ex-flings who try to get back at you/play games with you via social media. I can’t wait to lay into that one. So honestly, stay tuned to my blog because you won’t want to miss it. I feel like probably everybody in my reading audience is going to be able to relate to that slimy practice.
Tonight though, I want to talk about a social media practice that is less personal and more on a professional/business level but is also done by cash hungry individuals as well. I want to talk about the practice of businesses and individuals using ambush marketing on Facebook pages of other entities.
I promise this will be a very quick marketing lesson. Ambush marketing is when an advertiser tries to profit and feed off of an entity (such as a business, organization, famous person) it has no contract with. Basically, they are attempting to make money off of something or someone without giving that something or someone any type of initial compensation. Examples of this include using a logo of a company on your own product to try to get it to sell, infiltrating an event sponsored by a competing brand and trying to push your product, or flat out lying that your business is associated with another entity when it really is not. You get the picture, you envy someone’s success and you want to get a piece of it by capitalizing off of them and not paying them a dime.
Ambush marketing on Facebook is when a business/organization/dumb person decides to push their name on the page of someone else. From here on out, I will refer to it as Facebook ambushing. For my job, I am in charge of a Facebook social network that has garnered over 80,000 likes. Our brand is very popular and unfortunately it has gained the attention of many Facebook ambushers. But I do not want to focus entirely on my work in this post. Facebook ambushing is a problem that is very prevalent on the Facebook walls of many successful businesses and brands across the world. I know all of you have seen it over and over. What is the big deal you ask? Bottom line, it is an unethical business practice. By engaging in Facebook ambushing you are soiling the name of the entity whose wall you are posting on, ripping off the other companies who have a legitimate presence on that entity’s wall, and demonstrating that you are the laziest business/organization/individual there is.
Okay, so obviously you have an admiration for the company you are about to ambush. But does that mean that they have an admiration for you? Hell no! Just because you think the chick who lives next door to you is smoking hot does not mean she will feel the same way about you. So how disgraceful is it for you to climb the fence, trample in the yard, and then kiss her? This is what Facebook ambushers are doing when they randomly post on the wall of another entity. They are trying to make it look like they have a relationship with the entity they are ambushing and, even more maddening, they are trying to look like they have a relationship with the fan base as well. Okay, you all know I work for Grizzly Athletics. It really hits a nerve with me when some random business posts on our wall by saying “Hello Griz Fans, we hope you are excited for this Saturday’s game…(enter pitch right here).” First off, don’t post on our wall with your sales pitch PERIOD. Secondly, do not make some lame attempt to reach out to our fans. It is incredibly tacky. What is concerning though is that with 80,000 fans on our Facebook network, there is bound to be a healthy chunk of individuals who see the random company’s name on our wall and think there is some type of relationship with our department. This is damaging. When a marijuana legalization group decided to spread their propaganda on our wall I just about flipped out. You can’t have a green leaf next to Monte. I know that is an extreme example but you get the point. Don’t go on someone else’s territory and try to fake a relationship with the mom and then make a run at all the kids too.
Another reason why Facebook ambushing is harmful is because it cheapens the investment other companies have made to have a rightful spot on the wall of the entity that you are hijacking. Many innovative, savvy companies have recognized that it pays off to advertise and/or run promotional campaigns on the social media platforms of their partners. These companies who are advertising on the Facebook and Twitter pages of other companies have paid good money and have taken the time to plan a well thought out, tasteful campaign. For some flea market store from the planet Pluto to come out of nowhere and paste their company’s name all over the wall of the advertising company’s partner is highway robbery. While running social media for Grizzly Athletics I want to make sure our wall is sacred space and not some dumping ground where anyone can post their garbage. I want to keep our Facebook accounts in tip top shape so our guys who sell for us can assure partners who want a social media presence through Grizzly Athletics that they are going to be getting a good deal.
My third reason for disliking Facebook ambushing is that it is just plan ol’ lazy. What moron couldn’t hop on a computer and copy and paste their company’s crap on Facebook page after Facebook page? Please tell me you are paying your advertisers and marketers to be a little more creative than that. By unfairly capitalizing off of someone’s social media audience you are just making yourself look bad. I said that a good chunk of people are going to see what you write on the wall of other entities and believe that you have an affiliation with them but there is also going to be a good chunk of people who see right through what you are doing and realize that no official relationship exists. And you know what? These people who are smart enough to figure this out are usually those who are making a bit more money than the others and whose opinion carries with it a little more pull than the others, so in essence they are the people who you want to put your best foot forward towards… not the people you want to feel that you are lazy.
If you are interested to know what I do about Facebook ambushers or if you have any other questions regarding social media please ask me sometime, I am very passionate about this new type of communication that has taken over our society. Remember, respect the territory of others and only climb the fence when given permission. Don’t Blink.