social media marketing crimes small business owners should be aware of

Nigerian entrepreneurs do the most social media in the name of marketing and advertising their brand. I’m tempted to think that the majority of these entrepreneurs don’t have any legit marketing strategy to grow and build their brand. If they do, they will be mindful of their online activities and how it affects their brand.

If you are an active user of social media, you’d have been aware of and familiar with the rape stories that were flying around some most ago. As more people got vulnerable enough to share their stories, hashtags were generated to coordinate and track these stories. I was, however, taken aback when I noticed that vendors were using the popularity of these hashtags to sell their products and services. How can you just pick a popular hashtag and start using it to sell your human hair or designer shoes because its the rave of the moment? The truth is nobody is going to notice your content except its interesting enough to also get people talking.

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Don’t get me wrong, jumping on trendy topics is usually a good way to grow your brand’s visibility, it is, however, important that you carefully choose the trend you are jumping on. Even after selecting, you have to decide on how you will adapt this trend to suit your business.

As a small business owner that has growth in mind, ensure that there is a system in place that allows you to evaluate your strategies for improvement.

So here are a few things I consider an online criminal offense for a business owner;

  • Hashtagging Every Word

This table has most Nigerian entrepreneurs that are new to social media marketing on it, but I’ve decided that today is a day to break this table. My stomach rumbles every time I see a post that has every word hashtagged. Aunties and uncles, I have come to inform you that, over hashtag does nothing to your post except making it look like a market place. I understand that you’ve been told by lots of online marketers that hashtag increases the visibility of your posts and even exposes you to new followers but tagging #every #word #like #this #makes #your #post look so untidy.

Pro Tip: Don’t use popular hashtags that have more than 1 million users because your post will eventually get drowned and unnoticed. Instead, make use of location-based hashtags. So instead of using #bakers use #Lagosbakers

why hashtagging every word is counter productive

  • Stealing People’s Photos or Graphics 

Just last month, there was an outburst in a group I belong and the cause of the outburst was simply because someone from the group infringed on another person’s image copyright. For the sake of better understanding, the image owner will be known as Ms.A, while the copyright infringer will be called Ms. B

Ms. A discovered that her image was used by Ms.B without acknowledging her and to make matters worse, her watermark was cropped out of the image. Ms.A left a comment under the post, requesting to be given due credit as the owner of the image or the post be removed. Ms.B saw the comment, deleted it and went as far as blocking Ms.A. Ms.A got furious and therefore reported to the group’s Admin but Ms.B’s defense was that she saw the image on Google so she didn’t think there was a need to give credit.

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This clash made me realize that most Nigerian entrepreneurs don’t know that it is a criminal offense under the laws of Nigeria and even the laws of other countries to lift and use images without giving due credit to the owner. We might not be taking it seriously in Nigeria yet, but don’t be tempted to Google up images of people to use them for promotional and advertising purposes. I usually advise business owners to invest in product photography and if you must use people’s images please tag them appropriately.

Where to get free images from

Pro Tip: To get free images that will not land you in copyright issues, you can check Unsplash, Pixabay, and Freepik. Canva is also an easy and creative tool to use to create your brand graphics. 

  • Commenting “KFB” on every post 

You must have read somewhere that leaving comments on your followers’ posts is a good way to increase your visibility but typing Kindly follow back on multiple posts is spammy. Please genuinely read people’s posts and leave real comments because that is a more effective strategy to get your followers to notice you. Do you want real followers? then you have to stop treating your social media account like a robot.

How to get your followers to notice you

  • Advertising Your Business Under Other People’s Sponsored post

In case you don’t know this, its all shades of wrong to advertise your business under another vendor’sand you should come down immediately if you are on this table I’m shaking before you fall. Henceforth, when you see a sponsored post, do[‘t be tempted to post about your business in their comment section. I feel it unfair to be doing that because they paid their money and spent time researching about their target audience before sponsoring their post so please respect it.

If you want a lot of people to see your post too, please pay for a sponsored advert and stop this act of wickedness.

What you should not include in your marketing strategy

  • Dropping Derogatory Comments on Gossips Blogs With Your Business Page

We all love gist and so we’d sometimes try to source for them on our own but visit these gossip blogs with personal social media handles. So that when you want to start comment war, you can comfortably do that. Dropping derogatory comments on gossip blogs or illicit websites with your business social media handle is bad for your overall brand image. People rarely trust brand owners who they find via gossip blogs, porn sites, and the likes. I’m sure that you don’t want your business to trend for the wrong reasons. The truth is bad publicity is an image killer so don’t make your business trend for the wrong reasons.

In conclusion, remember that social media is first a social platform before a marketing tool so, interact with your followers. 

 What other crime did I forget to mention that you feel like online business vendors need to stop? 


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