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You can’t fake it on social media

While talking over a potential site redesign with a client, the subject turned to blogging.  We both agreed that they should have a blog for their site, as it would make perfect sense for their market and they have tons of great content to write about.  However, they are convinced they don’t have time for it and wouldn’t be able to be active enough on it.  I agreed that having no blog is better than having a dead blog, and I’m glad we made that decision.

However, I’m finding more and more companies that (apparently) don’t have time for social media so they decide to fake it instead.  A prime example would be the 18 car dealers that aren’t listening on Twitter.  Despite not listening and not actually doing much on Twitter, I’m sure they’re proud of how “hip” there are to be on there.

Fake Followers

Another local company that I’ve worked with in the past has nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter, but they were all purchased through shady means (buying Twitter followers isn’t difficult).  It’s rather amusing when they pose a question to their 10,000 “followers” and get zero responses.  It’s worthless.  Much better to have 100 real followers than 10,000 fake ones.

Fake Foursquare Deals

All of that said, what inspired this post was a “deal” that Great Clips offers on Foursquare.  Some restaurants offer fun specials on Foursquare (like free chips & salsa every time you check-in at Chili’s), though most businesses don’t.  Great Clips decided to try for the best of both worlds by posting a “special” that doesn’t require them to actually give anything away.  What is their special?  Every time you check-in, you unlock the following special:

Visit and register to win FREE haircuts for a year! (link)

What?  That’s awful!  Every other deal I’ve seen has been legit — free chips, free drink, etc.  This doesn’t have anything to do with you visiting their location; they just want the orange button next to their listings. This seems to have been a corporate decision, because every Great Clips on Foursquare is running the same “deal”.  When questioned about it, the very personal “Customer Service” gave me a very carefully crafted generic response:

Thank you for your feedback. We will foward your comments on to the approrpiate people. Customer feedback is important to Great Clips as we diligently work to keep our promise of serving our customers with the highest level of quality. We apologize for any inconvenience that you were caused.

Customer Service


One last funny bit was the closing of their email.  First they say “sincerely” (meaning genuine, earnest, real) and then don’t even put their name.  At least write “Sincerely, Jill” or “Sincerely, Bob”.  At no point in the various interactions I had with them did they do anything to try to seem human.  Such a shame.

Social means social

Never forget the “social” in social media.  If you’re trying to fake it, or figure out a way to automate it like you did your radio commercials for years, you’re in the wrong game.  Be human, get to know your customers, and it’ll take you a long way.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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