Last night I had an interesting conversation about social media, and it did take a surprising turn at one point. Someone who follows me on Twitter, and apparently also on LinkedIn, wrote me a message saying, “Can I ask you something?”. I jokingly replied, “You just did” – it was a long day, and my sense of humor isn’t at its best at those moments.
The question and conversation that followed intrigued me and to be honest, still does. “Why are you not sharing my posts?” and I replied by asking if there is any reason that I should share the posts of that person. “Yes, I tag you in pictures and mention you in posts, and you should like and share them.” So, I kindly explained that I get so many notifications that I simply can not check them all. And that most of the time I only look at mentions from people I follow, and even then, I only share posts I agree with or consider interesting.
“No, no, that is not true, you should share my posts because you are tagged or mentioned.” surprised me a lot, so I asked who decided that I should share them, and by that time I was curious enough to check the profile and the posts. Now it really started to become interesting! Someone working at a marketing department and the posts are a mix of the usual popular videos we have seen a million times already and advertisement for the company he worked for.
“We have a list of people who should share our posts, and you are on it.” Oh wow, that is great. I am on a list of people who should share commercial posts and boast the exposure of marketing people for a company? No, I will not mention the name, but it is a biggie with a huge marketing budget! I became very curious about the source of that list, so I kept the conversation going.
“We have an influencer team, and they have a list of people who share posts for us.” OK, let me get this straight. You have a team of influencers? “Yes.” I assume the company is paying them for their services? “Yes”. And those paid influencers put me on a list of people who share posts when you mention or tag them? “Yes”. And now you want to know why I do not share your advertisement for free? “Yes”. Are you kidding me? “No”.
I briefly explained that it doesn’t work like that for me and recommended to have me removed from that list. I also explained that I will keep an eye on this and when I notice that it continues, I will block all involved accounts, and remove all tags in images I find. It is a pity that you can not remove mentions on Twitter, but at least you can on LinkedIn.
This is not the first time that I experience this. Earlier this year I was told by a huge Multinational Corporation that I am a “volunteer influencer” and that I am “managed” by a community manager, and am expected to share their advertisement. Last year, at least a handful of companies with big marketing budgets tried to involve me for free in their campaigns because their commercial influencers had recommended me as a freebee. Another bunch had come up with that brilliant idea themselves…
You could of course think that this is no problem, and it leads to free exposure, and I have to admit that when I started to actively use social media for B2B purposes, I might have agreed with that. But there is always a but, right? Last year I was told by an agency that they could not collaborate with me because they found that I collaborate with a competitor. I didn’t, that competitor just kept mentioning me in their posts. After becoming aware of that, and with support of my B2B social media team, we discovered quite a lot of “hidden associations” with companies I have no dealings with.
I am a professional service provider and whomever wants to work with me can contact me directly. When someone tells you to include me in commercial content without discussing that with me first, you might end up on the block list.
The influencers who keep those lists of “volunteers” should really rethink their methods. Let’s play fair!
When you want to understand more about what I do and do not share, please read my explanation here: