Whether we like it or not we live in the social media age. Brands try to capitalise on this by hiring social media experts* to interact with their clients.

These so called experts then decide to run online competitions to drum up some support. You know the ones where you have to follow everyone on Twitter and like everything on Facebook and then you never win? Yeah, those ones. The fact that you have heard of these competitions must mean that they are working?

Well now some of the more cunning so called experts have come up with an even better plan. What if you ran the competition but only people with a massive social media following won? What if those “winners” then tweeted about “winning” and showing off their cool new prizes? What we’ve got here is questionable at best but NOT illegal. (As far as I can tell)

This wonderful scheme gives a brand all the free promotion a competition normally creates as well as an extra boost of promotion when the “winners” post about it. With the same cost equalling more publicity, I don’t blame brands for going for this approach. I blame the social media experts who spinelessly suggest this idea to brands.

In the South African context these are the same people bitching and moaning about “Jobs for pals” in the government and then hitting up their socially savvy friends asking them to win prizes without even entering the competition.

That’s not okay.

* A social media expert is someone who is smart enough not to use the c-word or refer to blowing up cripples in Afghanistan. Looking at you FNB. Oh and they also know a few people with a big social following that are willing to win competitions.