How Social Networking Can Blow Your Cover As A Mystery Shopper

Social networking started out as something teens and those in their early 20s did. What began as a very age-specific fad has transformed into a new dimension of daily lives for those of all ages. Social networking through websites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and others, has crossed the age boundaries. Now it is common to find even those in their 50s, 60s, and beyond keeping in touch with friends and family via these social networking platform.

While social networking has its many benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. Many professionals use social networking as a way to keep in touch with business professionals and expand their reach. This may be a great way to expand your business horizons with other professions, but mystery shoppers should be weary of divulging too much information on social networking websites.

Keep Mum! Mystery shopping by definition is largely a job that needs to be completed incognito. What this means is that you should not post on Facebook that you are heading out to do a mystery shopping assignment at the grocery store down the street, or even that you just completed an assignment. While you may have the story of a lifetime to share with your on-line friends, it’s best to keep these activities a secret. The world is a very small place, and telling your own little section of the cyber-world that you are about to head over to XYZ to do some mystery shopping can be disastrous if you bump into someone you know there while you are working. Your cover could be blown just by your “friend” asking you how your mystery shopping is coming along.

Tweet Anonymously. Some mystery shoppers have actually been approached by industry professionals asking them to tweet (or post comments on the Twitter website) about mystery shopping. There is no way of telling who sees your tweets once they have gone out into the world. Yet your name is very much attached to your comments. If you do choose to tweet about mystery shopping, tweet anonymously. You will be much safe to tweet under an assumed name.

Do You Really Want To Spread The Word? Social networking is great for keeping in touch with friends, family members, business professionals, and more. And while some of your friends and family may know what you do for a living, it’s best not to broadcast it out to the whole world. Picking and choosing who you tell about mystery shopping is fine. But announcing it on a social networking website is like screaming it out with a megaphone in the middle of busy downtown streets. Many people who aren’t in this business don’t even realize that mystery shopping is a legitimate way to make money. And most mystery shoppers prefer to keep it this way. The more people who learn about mystery shopping, the less competition we will have for assignments. For the sake of not having to compete with your third cousin, your great Aunt Sally, that girl you went to high school with 20 years ago, and your neighbor’s step-son for your next gig, keep comments about mystery shopping to a minimum.

With just about everything in life, there is an appropriate time and place. Before you make a big announcement on a social networking site about mystery shopping, take a moment to consider the ramifications.