September 5, 2023

Protecting ROI on social media: Identifying fake accounts and spam

By Indrė Vaicekavičiūtė - Guest Author
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In today's digital marketing landscape, it is crucial for companies to comprehend and evaluate their social media ROI to analyze the success of their online campaigns.

This process enables them to measure the benefits derived from their social media efforts and determine the investment returns. Concurrently, defending your brand from fake social media profiles is vital in maintaining credibility and fostering trust among your target audience.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of social media ROI and provide actionable methods to shield your brand from deceptive accounts and Spam.

What is social media ROI?

Social media ROI (Return on Investment) refers to the return on investment from the use of social media platforms and the expenses associated with them. It is the ratio of value-generating social media activities to the investment to achieve those actions. If the return on investment is positive, the investment has proved profitable, while if it is negative, it indicates that the value generated falls short of the investment. It is important for businesses to evaluate their social media strategy based on the return on investment (ROI). This allows businesses to optimize their resources and tactics based on what works and what needs improvement. 

How fraudulent social media profiles impact your social media ROI

Fraudulent social media accounts pose a significant risk to businesses. These accounts impersonate your brand, aiming to deceive potential followers and the public. They often mimic your profile photo, use similar brand or product names, and attempt to mislead users into believing they have found your official social media channels.

Defraud followers

Social profiles posing as well-known brands and influential organizations can quickly attract followers. These followers are unaware that the account is a fraud. The audience believes they have discovered and started to follow your brand or organization. Since they recognize and respect your brand, they believe they also recognize and respect the individuals behind the fraudulent account. As a result, false accounts can significantly damage your brand's reputation.

Share false information 

It is easy for information to travel quickly online. There is a tendency for inaccurate information to spread more quickly than accurate information simply because people are naturally attracted to intriguing information.

A wise Internet user knows not to believe everything they read online. They are aware of the importance of determining the credibility of information by its source. Fraudulent social accounts exploit your brand's reputation to gain deceptive credibility, sharing inaccurate information.

Moreover, false social media accounts can generate vast quantities of misinformation and disinformation that quickly spreads through groups where individuals believe they are communicating with a community that shares their values.

Influence asset prices

When it comes to protecting your brand, the implications of fraudulent social media accounts can extend beyond mere reputation damage. Public companies, in particular, understand the significant impact that any major announcement can have on stock prices. However, the rise of false social accounts has introduced a new risk factor. Imagine a scenario where a fraudulent social account makes a false announcement that triggers a flurry of reactions and spreads rapidly across social media platforms. The consequences can be all too real, resulting in fluctuations in stock prices and potentially causing financial harm to the company and its shareholders.

Tips to safeguard against fraudulent social media accounts and spam

Continuous monitoring

Implement a comprehensive social media monitoring system that scans multiple platforms to identify false social media profiles. This system should cover all social media networks, including those where you may not have an active presence. Automated monitoring tools can search for brand names, product names, executive names, and even misspellings or variations, helping you stay vigilant against fraudulent accounts. 

Using smart moderation platforms such as Bodyguard, you can keep your communities and brands safe from toxic content on your social networks and platforms. Bodyguard continuously analyses messages on your social media networks, in multiple languages, and identifies and removes toxic content using AI technology, in real time. 

Reporting imposters 

When you encounter a fraudulent social media account impersonating your brand, report it to the relevant social media platform immediately. Most platforms offer an option to report accounts directly from their profile pages. Additionally, if you have contacts at the platform responsible for advertising, involving them can potentially expedite the process and ensure that your report receives the necessary attention. 

The same goes for protecting your brand accounts from imposters, such as when you receive an email that includes phishing links; mark it as spam to prevent the threat from spreading.

Establish a distinct brand identity and aesthetic 

Develop a strong and consistent brand identity across all your social media channels. This includes defining your brand's voice, visual elements, and messaging. When your followers can easily recognize your brand's appearance and tone, they become more adept at spotting inconsistencies that may indicate fraudulent accounts.

Secure brand addresses

Take proactive measures to protect your brand's online presence by reserving your brand name or alias on various social media platforms, even if you are not active on them all. Claiming these addresses prevents others from using them inappropriately and posing as your brand. Also, having your domain name will ensure that your email address is specific to your brand.

Get verified

Regardless of whether you regularly use social media, aim to obtain verification badges or authentication on all major platforms. A verified account provides higher credibility and makes it harder for fraudsters to deceive your audience. Although some platforms offer verified accounts through paid subscription plans, having a verified presence on each channel reduces the risk of fake accounts appearing without your knowledge.

Establish a crisis management plan

Despite your best efforts, it is possible to fall victim to a social media account impersonator. Therefore, it is crucial to have a crisis management plan in place to handle such situations effectively. In case an impersonator account emerges, temporarily halt any scheduled social media posts and focus on addressing the issue promptly. To manage the situation, preserve your brand's reputation, and alert your followers about possible misinformation and scams, assign roles and responsibilities within your team.

Moreover, integrating a VPN into your Crisis Management Plan can help protect your social media accounts from hackers and cybercriminals. By encrypting your internet connection, a VPN makes it much more difficult for someone to intercept your sensitive information. Consider using a reliable VPN provider to keep your online activities secure.

Finally, if someone does impersonate you online, it could potentially be considered identity theft, which is a serious offence. Whether or not you can sue someone or take them to small claims court for impersonation depends on various factors, including the laws in your specific jurisdiction and the extent of the harm caused. In many places, you can take legal action against individuals who impersonate you online and cause harm to your reputation, finances, or personal life. It's crucial to consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in internet law or defamation to understand the options available to you and to build a strong case.

Conclusion

In today's digital landscape, the importance of measuring social media ROI and protecting your brand against fraudulent social media accounts cannot be overstated. These aspects are crucial for businesses to navigate the complexities of online marketing successfully. By measuring social media ROI, you can optimize your marketing efforts and drive results by analyzing the effectiveness of your social media strategies and, at the same, protecting your brand image by safeguarding it against fraudulent accounts. Therefore, if you want to scale and protect your ROI, it is essential to protect your reputation, maintain trust with your audience, and mitigate the potential harm caused by misinformation and scams.

About the author:

Indrė Vaicekavičiūtė is an accomplished SEO Specialist and Content Manager at CyberNews. She is responsible for optimizing website content and enhancing its visibility in search engine rankings. With expertise in cyber security, SEO, and content creation, she is a renowned author, providing readers with insightful and accessible perspectives on the ever-changing landscape of digital threats and protective measures.

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