What NOT to do on Social Media
Written by Joy Beachy
The Internet is atwitter with the news that Facebook is cracking down on click-bait links, or links with provocative titles and text that excites people into clicking without providing any real information about what the reader is going to see. You may have seen examples of this, such as “You won’t believe what [X Celebrity] knows about [Y Celebrity] and swore not to tell,” or “This video will change your mind about everything you thought you knew about [hot topic].”
When scrolling through your social media feeds, you might see click-bait articles getting thousands – or even millions – of clicks, and you might feel your marketer’s heart quicken a little at the thought of doing something similar. (Doesn’t “You won’t believe the response they got from their customers after applying this little trick” sound intriguing?) But Facebook’s crackdown on click-bait stems from reports of users’ frustration at not knowing what they were getting into when they clicked the link. A frustrated audience usually bounces quickly, and they leave with a negative impression of the brand. Because of this reaction, using inflammatory, misleading, or confusing link copy is a terrible social media practice.
There are other damaging social media practices, however, that Facebook hasn’t announced they’re filtering out… yet. But if you’re relying on social channels as a touchpoint between your brand and your audience, steer clear of some of these other poor social media choices:
1. Non-strategic Quizzes
Perhaps you’ve seen them: “Can you name a business that doesn’t have an E in its name?!” or “What’s your cubicle style?” They’re polls and quizzes designed by a to prompt a quick-reply in the guise of an engagement campaign. The trouble is, they provide no value in either the B2B or B2C end-user, which means there’s no reason for him or her to contribute a click, comment, or answer. A quiz or poll like this doesn’t usually fit into a wider marketing strategy, and might actually hurt your rankings or future posts’ chances of of appearing on feeds. Quizzes and polls do have play, so long as they are part of a wider campaign, have a defined goal (which cannot include “get clicks!”), and a stated value for the quiz taker.
2.Text. Text. Text.
Social sites are meant to be visual. Even social sites that cater specifically to professionals, like LinkedIn and Google+, allow for adding visual appeal to posts. It helps to boost interest in the surrounding content. On Facebook or Twitter, having an image helps your post be more eye-catching in the midst of a full feed. Avoid becoming so concerned with what the message, post, or article says that you miss the opportunity to grab some attention with a little visual flair.
3. Attempted Commoditization of an Internet Meme.
Similar to click-bat, you’ll likely see memes getting a lot of love on your social channels, with enough Likes, Shares and Comments to tempt even the most stoic marketers to start brainstorming how they can make the meme work for them. Unfortunately, the kinds of content that usually take the Internet by storm are rarely corporate efforts. Usually, they’re about creative expression or entertainment for the consumer. It’s a selfie. It’s a flashmob. It’s a prank of leaving an incredible tip for a diner waitress. They’re not meant for corporate commoditization, and they tend to receive ridicule when a company tries to hijack them for marketing. (NOTE: Some exceptions – such as the ice bucket challenge – do exist. They usually involve a direct benefit to someone other than the company, such as a charity or support of one in need.) If your marketer has an idea of how to tie an Internet sensation to a campaign, proceed with caution. Make sure the idea is actually clever, benefits the end-user, and can be executed well. (Not like this selfie campaign by Wheat Thins.)
4. Posting Non-Relevant Content
Most social media Don’ts lists say, “Don’t forget to be social!” And that is critical in the consumer space. But, whether your B2B or B2C someone will only interact with your brand on your social channel if they’ve found something that relates to them. Posts should look to promote some interaction, but it should also be focused on meeting a need for one of your followers. That might mean answering a common question (which you’ve used metrics to identify) or promoting a sought-after product. Re-posting content from industry-related sites to provide followers with key information is a plus, as is giving shout-outs to fans. The key is to always challenge if your followers will find your posts “spammy”. If it is too off-topic or too focused on the corporate agenda, you risk losing your fans.
5. Avoiding the Game Altogether
Whether it’s fear of what others will post or fear of making mistakes yourself, you avoid posting to social media sites at all. Unfortunately, that means you’re missing out on prime content channels for recruiting, for establishing your brand, and for creating gravity for your main online channel: your website. If you’re still concerned about the ramifications of opening social media channels, consult with a marketing firm that can demonstrate how best to monitor social channels, how to set up a content calendar to regulate what is being posted, and how to respond to potential issues.