“Reading between the lies”: how social media misinformation can damage brands


By John Elkaim

The news that researchers across Europe are developing a tool to tell when someone is lying or spreading rumours via Twitter should come as no surprise. It highlights a problem with social media which is unfortunately all too prevalent at the moment.

‘Social media lies’ can have a potentially severe impact on British businesses and marketers. For example, if a social media user spreads false information about a particular brand – whether innocently or maliciously – the sales and reputation of the business involved could suffer huge and even irreparable damage.

While the tool being developed by European scientists is a way to prevent damage to a brand from rumours or lies spread on social media, a much more critical issue for marketers is the understanding of tone on these platforms. Ironic and sarcastic comments about a brand following a bad customer experience are commonplace on social media platforms.

This highlights a key problem, as without this understanding, brands and marketers could easily be analysing false data for their campaigns. Like a house built on sand, if a marketing campaign is built on false data, it will crumble away with no acceptable return on investment.

Therefore brands need to be aware of the readily available social media marketing tools, such as social login, which can dig deeper into social media identities, and thus bypass the problem. By analysing user identities – through strict permission-based access -, brands can understand users by traits such as their interest, activities, political beliefs and social graph as well as through those users’ sharing and commenting activities.

These new tools have opened up an unprecedented depth of understanding into target audiences that marketers have been waiting for. The rich, concise data provided by this technology, also ensures platforms such as Twitter and Facebook become truly valuable for marketers.

About the author

John Elkaim is VP of marketing at Gigya.


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