People are inherently trusting. A child will believe anything he or she is told until they learn, the hard way, that you can’t DO that! Adults, while more savvy, inherently are still that little boy and girl inside.
Bitdefender, a leading provider of security software for computers, conducted a study in social media to see how easy it was to compromise one’s account. In their article, Be Careful Whom You Befriend on Social Networks, found 100 people that were supposed to know better. The criteria? They were either professional IT (information technology) workers or hackers. Over a period of a few weeks, they got them to divulge all sorts of information that made it easy for someone to use to take over their accounts.
What does this study show? We can learn two things: a) one should not trust anyone they do not personally know online and b) why social media marketing is such a powerful tool. Let’s look at these.
I remember being told by a trusted friend that in his lifetime, he could count his TRUE friends on both hands. One may think, “What a loser; he only knows 10 people.” However, the reality is that out of the many hundreds of people he knows, there are only 10 that he can count on in any circumstance, because they are true friends.
If this is true, what makes anyone believe that they can meet someone online, never meet them physically nor spend REAL time together and that they would become a true friend? The Internet is HUGE, and while the truly bad guys are probably a small percentage, when you have a small percentage of over a billion people—the number can be quite substantive. Since
you DON”T know the people you meet in social media, DO NOT reveal private information nor post anything that can harm you!
What kind of information am I talking about? A savvy would-be thief would love to know when your birthday is, your mother’s maiden name, your dog’s or cat’s name, your children’s names and birthdays, and so on. Why? Because they can use that information to figure out passwords! Moreover, they can use that information to fool OTHERS into believing they are really YOU!
So a HUGE red flag that someone is not as friendly and trusting as they would lead you to believe is when they start to ask questions of this nature. If you have children using social media, teach them these things and use Norton Online Family, which I wrote about in my article, Do You Know Who’s Watching You Online?
I use Norton Online Family and it shows me where my children have been, when they try to access something prohibited, who they chat with, etc. It even sends me these updates to my cell phone, where if they are blocked from a site that is harmless and they need access for homework, I can grant permission from wherever I am. I can extend time usage, shut down their computer and really be aware of what’s going on. So I highly recommend it!
Because people are so trusting is why a properly organized and implemented social media marketing program is powerful. You see, if you care about your followers and provide good content, they will come to trust your advice. They will even refer you to others, and if they ever need what you have to offer, since they already know your level of knowledge and you’ve earned their trust, they will most likely come to you.
If you read my article, Is Your Organization Part of the Conversation?, and you follow that advice (especially the part about caring for your followers and that it’s not about you), then you will have a powerful trust level that will bring you an effective program. And, a social media marketer who truly cares about his followers will NEVER ask them for information that would compromise their security. Therefore, when you have a message to deliver, they will receive it and accept it, because it came from a trusted source.
So if you are not doing social media marketing for your organization, church or company, you need to be! Have fun online, meet new people, share funny stuff and make virtual friends; but remember what Jesus said to his disciples when he sent them out two-by-two, “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” There’s a reason why He’s the master communicator. Well said!