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The Mindful Entrepreneur

How The Metro got Clicks by Stretching Reality

Categories: Social Media

News.. But Not as you know it is somewhat true

“News… But not as you know it”; Probably the most valid tag-line I’ve come across, especially in this instance!

I was perusing Facebook yesterday, enveloped in a fairly ordinary social media procrastination zone, when I noticed a post which stood out to me;


Now the reason this post stood out is mainly because I spend a lot of time surrounded, writing about and making videos about nostalgic items from the past. But equally it’s likely to stand out to the average social media user, because many of us have old items knocking about the house which we don’t use, and frankly the idea that there could be £££s tied up in these items is a tantalising thought.. who doesn’t want what is essentially free money?!

Being a frequent patron to this area of nostalgia through ebay and other selling sites, I immediately however, noticed that something was amiss, in fact a lot was amiss. Take the associated text posted with the article for example “Your Nokia 3310 is worth £200″….. Now, you’re either the kind of person that has a 3310 knocking about in an old drawer, and suddenly thinks “SHIT, I could sell that on eBay right now”… in which case they’ll click through to the article. Or, you’re the kind of person who thinks “What the fu$k are you guys smoking?!”…. In fact, I bought a 3310 a month or so ago from eBay for approximately £10; that’s a far cry from the £200 promoted here.

So What’s Going On?

If you haven’t worked it out already, then here’s the secret.. “It’s Social Link Bait!”… Shock, horror!

Here’s how it works;

1) People who are subscribed to the Metro’s Facebook page (or any other social media account) see the post.
2) Those who believe the inflated prices, quickly click through to find out if they have anything of value and what they can do about it
3) Some even share it, so their friends can reap the benefit of all their unwanted goods
4) Those who know the reality of prices click through as well, as they’re flabbergasted at the article (I sure did)
5) These people in the know then comment like crazy to slate the article and mock the writer ‘Ollie McAteer‘ for being an utter moron
6) Those same people then share the article to other groups and friends for humorous purposes. Here’s an example from group I’m in called “Retro for Show“;


You can see that some people, such as Graeme have sussed out what’s happening here.
7) This spiral continues, until the article has been shared 664 times and liked 1,062 times (as it stands, and just on The Metro’s FB page).

So there we go. An article of utterly stretched reality has turned into a lovely piece of click bait; so maybe Ollie McAteer isn’t such a moron (he’s probably fabricated himself). Sure, the Metro may lose the odd subscriber from this little feat, but it’s likely to gain a lot more in both new subscribers and publicity.

It’s worth noting as well, that the article is very short and probably took about half an hour to put together. So maximum return from minimal input.

Worringly the article states that the information has been sourced “according to Endsleigh Insurance which collected its data from eBay.”. So I guess Endsleigh insurance has some overinflated insurance policies.. but hey, at least they pay out a shed load if your house burns down. “What’s that sir? You had 40 Nintendo 64’s in your property……”

Re-create your Own Article

So, you can probably see how easy this would be to do yourself. All you need is some outrageous claims, which a lot of people know are untrue (this creates the social commenting & buzz), and make sure that same fabrication provides a hook for people who are unaware of the reality. It’s also useful to have a scapegoat (in this case Endsleigh insurance), so that you can claim the research was out of your hands and absolve yourself of the entire matter once your social campaign is done and dusted.

Then share it on your social accounts, drop it into a few hand picked Facebook groups and wait…


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About the author: I’m the Founder of Own the Web (aka. Mindful Marketeer), & I’m passionate about helping good causes, local & small businesses grow by bringing clarity to situations. I do this through my work at Own the Web, whilst practising mindfulness & blogging about it here. Other quick facts also include I’m a vegan, an individualist, equality champion & a mindful free thinker. Connect with me on Twitter or Peter Leigh on Google+.

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