If you're working on a deal that hadn't been made public, the last thing you'll do is announce it to your friends on Twitter. And yet, warns Rohit Bhargava in a post at the Influential Marketing Blog, savvy online observers could use a variety of tidbits to gather information you never meant to share. Here's his hypothetical scenario:

  • You tweet about a business trip to the West Coast with a friend who is known to be a lawyer.
  • She updates her Facebook profile, mentioning a client meeting in Redmond, Washington.
  • Media outlets quote a Microsoft executive about being in discussions with companies in your field.
  • A Microsoft engineer blogs about a new company in your town.

"In four small updates from unrelated people," says Bhargava, "a smart social media surfer could get a very direct sense of a deal about to happen and some inside information [you didn't intend to share]."  To combat online "spying," he recommends the following:

  • Educate employees on the potential ramifications of sharing information online.
  • Teach selective friending.
  • Monitor comments made from within your company to head off inadvertent "leaks" before they become major problems.

Says Bhargava, "It is only a matter of time before Social Media Espionage becomes a concern that some businesses will need to have a preemptive strategy to fight against." Your Marketing Inspiration is to be prepared.

More Inspiration:
Elaine Fogel: Gay Tourism Ad Creates Havoc
Ted Mininni: Newly Minted Expressions?
Paul Dunay: Marketing Metrics: Rethinking Them... Again!

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