How Social Media Could Steal Your Brand Identity
MIGUEL CONSTANTIN on 26 December, 2016 at 10:12
Social media is becoming a marketplace for scammers who use various techniques to steal your brand or identity, discredit you, or disrupt your business.
The power of social networking sites to connect people is, no doubt, becoming a major force in social media marketing. In fact, a number of companies today have dedicated social media teams to monitor and manage their accounts, given that there’s so much activity going on in these platforms in any given day—whether it’s a general inquiry about the company, a customer feedback, or online selling of goods and services.
These very same reasons, however, can make your social media accounts the lucrative target for scams, hoaxes, and other illegal practices. You have probably heard of posers pretending to represent someone else for some nasty ulterior motives.
The bottom line is, social media is becoming a marketplace for scammers who use various techniques to steal your brand or identity, discredit you, or disrupt your business.
How do scammers (mis)represent your brand?
1) By creating fake accounts
Con artists are skilled at creating accounts that mirror your own. If your customers are not paying enough attention, they might be tricked into following the account—thinking that it is a legitimate one belonging to your company.
The danger of following fake accounts may be something as simple as getting a bigger number of followers to increase the fraudsters’ social media profile to something more damaging such as phishing scams.
You might think your brand is not going to be directly affected by the hoax, but you need to remember that you need to keep the integrity of your brand and protect your customers from any form of fraud.
2) By completing a survey
Just like in the Philippine Daily Inquirer incident, scammers can use your brand name to circulate surveys that may put competitors at a disadvantage or collect personal data from your customers who were promised some prize after completing the survey.
Whatever the motive is, your image could ultimately be labeled as something that leans toward unfair or dishonest business practices.
3) By offering bogus promos
Scammers are aware that your company may turn to internet marketing promos to promote your brand, and they’re all ready to take advantage of this strategy. They might cook up something really legit-looking as far as placing your or your third-party business partner’s logo on the mechanics and offering valuable freebies that eager customers would likely fall for.
Again, the scammers are just out to further any possible gain on their end, and you know how people hate false advertising and how negative publicity is bad for business.
4) By making solicitations
Legitimate solicitations almost always promote a good cause, and you can be sure that illegitimate ones will resort to this tactic as well under the guise of your corporate identity to add credibility to their sinister plan.
Surely, being identified with scammers has never crossed your mind. But, you’ll need a lot of good PR to save your image and turn things around for the business.
5) By sharing false news
It’s so easy nowadays to share just about anything on social media—some promote positive vibes, while others are fabricated to spread ill, trolling included.
Heaven forbid, but competitors in business can orchestrate such mechanisms against you given that censorship in social media remains a debatable issue up to this very moment.
How to Avoid Social Media Scams
– Make use of verification badges and tools that social media platforms offer. The authentication process basically entails giving a short description of your business, as well as the size of your base followers and linking your profile from your website.
– Educate your customers about the importance of background and fact checking. If something does not sound like coming from you, encourage your customers to reach out to you, and make sure you address their qualms right away.
– Keep your website updated. It should be your customers’ main source of information about official promotions or other worthwhile undertaking launched by the company. Let your customers report any kind of fraud or scams through a website’s contact us or an email address that is solely for fraudulent cases.
– Engage with your customers regularly. By constantly interacting with them, they’ll be more familiar with your activities, beliefs, and values, putting them in a better position to recognize your true identity amid any uncertainty.
It’s been said that social media is both a good and dangerous place to be. Since scammers are everywhere, it’s your responsibility not to let anything come between you and your customers by fending off such scams. It only takes a sense of awareness, vigilance, and resolute action to make sure that scammers fail in taking advantage of your business and customers.