Beware the autobots – they could be decepticons.

How many “connections” do you have on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter? I call them connections because, let’s face it no-one has 873 actual friends. If you disagree and think you are friends with the entire 873 people, you’re delusional.

Do you have some “connections” who you’ve never met in person? Or how often do you browse through your “connections” list of “connections” looking for good sorts you can stalk? Talking about you Frosty!!

What if I told you in the last week there is a very good chance you have made a connection with a robot on one of these sites – a robot you think is a real person. A real person with a normal profile who make normal contributions to their normal page about their normal life.

Beware the decepticons

In the cartoon Transformers the good guys were the autobots and the bad guys decepticons, so far in this instancd we can think of all the robots

If you have a robot in your social networking site – is it good or bad?

WTF are you talking about?

Good question.

Developers have built tools that automatically post entries into Twitter accounts. They create a Twitter user and develop profiles for them based on real world segmentation of their client’s target audience. They then seed the fake Twitter user through real users and build a network.

The developers have also designed a software program like a big fishing trawler that sails through other Twitter accounts with similar profile data and copies some of their entries. These copied entries then go into a spreadsheet that automatically posts them into the fake account in a set schedule.

Check it out Twitteradder.

That’s weird, but so what?

Here’s the devious part, marketers then seed these Twitter feeds with subtle links to their brands. Plus to manage ‘real time’ entries such as conversations to other users they have real people to post because the robots aren’t THAT smart. Yet. But how do you manage thousands of fake accounts with real entries? By outsourcing to the Phillipines. At $1.44 an hour. Hhmmmm.

Got an issue with this yet?

Well I do. I’m not sure if I’m more upset that marketers are potentially reaching me with fake users or that Twitter, who know this goes on are letting it happen.

All I can say is beware the decepticons….

Decepticon logo

Tim – CGO


Take a ride with Harley Davidson

Check out this site, thousands of Harley owners submitted a photo with their treasured bike thanks to a simple promo run through Facebook and twitter.

Enter the photo code John1.

If everything has gone to plan the site should zoom into the mosaic and find John’s photo. Cool eh? If that was a photo of Matt Lye astride a huge thumping chopper, he’d want to add it to his Facebook profile as well, fo sho!!

Harley also took this campaign offline by using the mosaic and selected photos from it in their 2010 printed catalogue. Only way to get a copy of the catalogue? Visit a store. The response was immense, with Harley Davidson reprinting the catalogue within the first week of release.

This was a great example of how social can be utilized online and offline (note the Spinifex tagline…)

What made this promo work?

Harley Davidson generated a web of leads and push throughs by asking entrants who posted their photo in the competition if they wanted to share it with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, Picasa….

Harley Davidson got great exposure for their promo due to an excellent online social network and their customers had not only the chance to win some great Harley Davidson gear but also to feature in their next printed catalogue AND they could share their pride and joy with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, Picasa….

The key take-away to understand here is that social marketing like all good relationships must be mutually beneficial. That is to get a little you need to give a little…

Tim – Chief Geek Officer (CGO)

Social marketing is PR on steroids

So, here we are in a bar discussing who did what to whom. In the past the information we discussed would have been gleaned from newspapers, magazines or tv. Now? Facebook, Twitter, sms. Times have changed. Times have stayed the same. Influencing target markets that’s what marketers want to do. It used to be that you had a wall between you and your consumer. Now your consumer is in the same room as you, involving you in a conversation whether you want it or not.

My friend has enough trouble keeping up with the conversations that happen with real people in her life. How will she ever keep up with the virtual conversations? Why would she want to? “I create beautiful gardens, why do I care what people think in Washington?” Indeed why does she?   All that and more will be revealed at Connected Marketing week. Stay tuned for more.

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