Have you ever gone to the shops and come home thinking right where did I put the milk? You are positive that you took it out of the fridge at the Supermarket, certain you placed it in your trolley, paid for it, put it in your bag and deposited it into the car. Only to get home and alas it is not there – the veritable Scarlett Pimpernel of the dairy world. Well that is really Ghost Banning in a non technical form. Let me explain a little further.
Ghost banning is a phenomenon which affects your social media outlets. Ostensibly as a user you are invisibly banned. Thus with Ghost banning you are sending/posting tweets to promote your business, or otherwise but unbeknown to you, your twitter account has been “suspended” (for loss of another word) but you know nothing about said suspension. Therefore, you think that your tweets are in the public social domain, whereas in fact they are nowhere to be seen, your twitter account has become a complete figment of your business imagination, which seems to be happening more and more these days. Moreover, it would appear that twitter are doing very little to assist businesses who have been ghost banned and have absolutely no reason why!
Therefore, what this blog intends to offer is a very quick dos and don’ts in regards to the various reasons behind Ghost banning and what you have to do to avoid becoming invisible:-
Spamming – This is probably the most common, if you are repeatedly tweeting the same content, which for a small business is not particularly uncommon as you are promoting your own business. However, I am afraid this may be the prime and predominant factor in you ending up in front of the Twitter police! However and more worrying, is the suggestion that you could actually be reported by another twitter user for spamming and then simply be invisibly banned without any investigation, or indeed being informed of same. This may be so, even in the latter case and your tweets could be completely different which would go against why twitter would ghost ban you in the first place. This ironically goes against the policy in respect of the Regulations concerning spamming where a company can send out electronic mail (direct marketing in different forms) if they believe that what they are sending are of a business content and interest. Although, once again said company can only do this unsolicited to companies, whereas they can’t to a Sole Trader where their account is looked upon as the same as an individual. I will be publishing a briefing paper on this in the coming weeks so if you would like more information please get in contact with me www.myretonconsultancy.co.uk
Frequent Retweeting – This is relatively straight forward and touched on in the above. Simply put, if you retweet too often, or indeed post the same tweet you will be seen (which I think is important to note) as spamming, or a spammer. Furthermore, there appears to be very little information to be had on what exactly is permitted in respect of retweeting. Would it simply be that if you retweet once would you come to the adverse attention of the twitter police? Well, as stated above no-one really knows, maybe not even Twitter! Moreover and as stated above it could be that another user reports you and you are ghost banned for no other reason than this.
Sharing Platforms – This is where you allow access to a third party sharing platform that post tweets on your behalf. If the tweets become regular, then this can place you on the twitter radar and will investigate (loosely speaking) whether you are indeed legitimate. This can cause you no end of problems, especially if you are a Small Business promoting the same or at least similar material. Furthermore, if you become ghost banned, other social networks will no doubt also start to monitor your behaviour and investigate your account. It is also the case that once you are on the radar you may never be able to effectively engage on Twitter again. This has been the case for a number of small businesses who have made contact with me stating that they have been ghost banned for a few days, weeks and in some instances months. This clearly has a detrimental effect on their business interests.
So the next and important question is, how do you prevent yourself from being Ghost banned?
Every social network has their own opinion on what “spam”. However, here are some hints, tips and tricks to avoid being ghost banned. Although, I would stress that these are only hints, there appears to be very little in terms of absolutes:
- Follow and interact with twitter accounts that appear to be genuine and bona fide. Clearly large companies and recognised brands will be your safest bet. Althouhg, avoiding Yahoo as present may be a wise decision!
- Never post the same link twice, in a short period of time. This may sound common sense but it is amazing how a link can be posted more than twice. As a Small Business person you are busy, believe you me these things can happen.
- Don’t always share your own links, think link-building.
- Don’t associate with spammers. This is paramount and try avoiding autobots (twitter accounts that simply RT).
- Be creative, mix it up a little! You want to share the same post, but make them different in narrative and picture aids. Like and retweet different post from your customers and/or ambassadors.
So if you follow all the above points, you should have a twitter marriage made in social heaven. Now go and find that carton of milk and make yourself a lovely cup of coffee before #elevenseshour starts!