It’s Halloween, a time when we revel in ghosts, ghouls, and all things creepy. In the social media marketing world, it’s also a time for tricks and treats. The “trick” is scanning a person’s social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn looking for treats in the form of business opportunities. Social media marketing companies continue to add features that look through an individual’s social network, ingest and analyze the posts therein, and look for information that signals a potential need for whatever the company sells.
Sorry, but this is plain creepy, stalker behavior. It’s one thing to scan the posts of a company’s Facebook page. People who post there know that’s why the page is there—to sell them something through social engagement. It’s why companies hand out coupons on their Facebook page. Scanning individual employee accounts is a different matter entirely. When we connect to someone on Facebook or LinkedIn, the expectation of privacy is different. It is assumed that the posts I allow you to see are personal and not meant to be individually mined. With Twitter you know that you are broadcasting publically yet, I would bet most people would find it unsettling to post something and have an offer from a follower shoot back at them.