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5 Social Marketing Tactics That Need to Be Retired

Marketing has, thankfully, evolved since the dark, early days of social media. Back then we were stumbling newborns, desperately crawling and clinging to anything that would get us those coveted likes and shares. Companies just weren’t sure how to market using this new media, and so many committed huge gaffs like hijacking trending tags or blasting updates every hour. Some lessons have, thankfully, sunk in, and most brands now know how to behave on social media. But in researching this article, I found a five hackneyed, tired tactics that are still being used, and that need to be put to rest.

Let’s play a game…

This is starting to die out, but some smaller businesses still use it so I feel it’s worth mentioning. Now, I don’t mean sweepstakes or contests or anything like that. Rather, I can’t stand games created as an obvious, last-ditch effort to create engagement – something like ‘Can you name a business that doesn’t use an A in its name?!’ Yes, I can. But what possible reason do I have for writing it in the comments? How does this have anything to do with your wider marketing strategy? A crummy game is not the way to boost visibility.


I understand that people are split on click-baiting, and I do understand why news and article aggregators like Buzz Feed and UpWorthy do it. They are driving an audience to a light, simple, easy topic, and raking in the ad revenue. But, for most companies, click-baiting makes absolutely no sense. I know it's hard to drive traffic to company blogs or smaller articles, but writing everything under headers like ‘What our CEO says about fiscal solvency will change your life!’ is not the answer. Even if you do see a small uptick in traffic, people are going to catch on and stop clicking.

Look at me!

It is absolutely and perfectly acceptable to post pictures of your office and staff on your feeds – in fact, I recommend it. What’s not okay is polluting your feeds with nothing but these pictures. I think the problem lies in initial reaction, rather than vanity. A CEO will want to post the picture of an office party, and a bunch of people like, share, and comment. Then they say okay, well let’s post pictures of people working. Next it’s the CEO, hanging out in the office, or someone’s kids visiting. Eventually their social feeds are nothing but pictures of people looking exasperated and bored.

Hashtag Overload

#We #all #want #our #content #to #be #seen. But throwing a hashtag in front of every, single word of every, single update is not going to drive traffic. In fact, you are shooting yourself in the foot by using too many hashtags. Hashtags should be used, but sparingly, and only when relevant to the content or status you’re posting. Not only will this help up engagement, but your hashtag campaigns will be way easier to track, and you’ll start to make an impact on the larger social communities built around those tags.

The Selfie

Selfie-based marketing reeks of corporate pandering. I can just imagine a 40 year old executive, telling the boardroom that their teenage daughter takes selfies all the time, and how they should capitalize on that. It’s a desperate, obvious attempt to force people to engage with your brand, and even if it does increase chatter, it just looks tacky. Wheat Thins was actually dealt some heavy criticism for their own, arguably failed attempt to capitalize on the selfie. Selfies are meant to be fun, spontaneous ways to capture of a moment, but when you try to force branding into it, that spontaneity is lost and all you’re left with is a boring picture with an oversized box of crackers.

Now, I know that there are marketers out there who will disagree with my list, and there are people who will be upset that I called out one of their favorite tools. Heck, I admit that I’ve used a couple of the above myself. But one of the coolest things about social marketing is how quickly it evolves, and I’m hoping that, as things change, the above five tactics will finally be put out to pasture. Trust me, we’ll all be better off without them.  

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