Chances are you’ve got social hucksters in your networks. They’re often hiding under the guise of being social media experts, ninjas, gurus or influencers without every really being specific about their credentials. They’re often the people you see the most frequently in your social streams and if they’re not posting about what they are doing they’re making motivational statements that are designed to make you think their lives are better than yours.
The problem is that most of their posts are the result of some kind of ulterior motive. They’re at restaurants, bars, parties and appear to have access to things that you don’t and use these things socially to feed the need to use social media to tell everybody about them. But the truth is that the brands or companies that are providing a product or service, or extending the invitation are using them to get at you. They want you to aspire to be part of the ‘in’ crowd or to tell you how great a product or service is, without ever having subjected it to serious consideration or critique.
These people are seen in some circles – both brands and consumers – as social media influencers, when in reality they are social hucksters, being use to hawk a product or service because they have a large audience, rather than a critical eye or considered opinion. They move from brand to brand without consideration of conflict or confusion and will sell on behalf of a third-party simply because it strokes their egos.
So, next time you see something in one of your social feeds that covertly promotes a random company or product and service consider whether it’s a legitimate fan comment or whether it’s a social huckster hard at work hawking in the hope that they inflate their own perception of their social importance. Most importantly, consider whether engaging them will deliver any noticeable value to your organization – or whether you’re just stroking their ego.