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A Social Media Reminder from Tony Hawk

       Like a lot of you reading this post, I follow brands, athletes and celebrities on social media. I pay attention to tweets, Facebook status updates and Instagram posts. I occasionally comment, retweet or repost on Instagram, and I like statuses that make me laugh. Lately though, I’ve found myself bored with those I follow. The more I think about it, the more I realize why; brands aren’t engaging on social media, they’re broadcasting.

       I see the same tactics used across various social media platforms. Promotions and announcements on Twitter, cheesy “like this status if you’re excited for Friday” style Facebook updates, and shots of coffee cups with vintage filters on Instagram. This isn’t engaging. This isn’t social. This is boring.

       So when I saw a giant donut with the words “Randy’s Donuts” in my Instagram feed last week, I didn’t think anything of it. When I saw it was posted by (skateboarder) Tony Hawk, I didn’t think anything of it. When I read the caption, “Just hid a signed skateboard under the white dumpster here,” I became interested.

       Roughly 30 minutes later, Hawk posted another image of an Instagram user holding a skateboard with the caption, “Congrats to @easyuno! That worked quite well. To all future seekers, UNDER the dumpster doesn’t mean IN the dumpster. Ew.”

       The posts did well by Hawk’s Instagram standards. Hawk’s first post generated 441 comments, much higher than his normal updates, which fluctuate between 80-200 comments. The two posts also averaged 1200 likes, higher than the average of the previous five posts, which was roughly 970 likes. These numbers say something, although the sample size is small.

       I include the numbers, because people will ask about them, but this story isn’t about numbers. I can guarantee you Tony Hawk isn’t worried about the numbers. Businesses and brands, however, are worried about the numbers, and that’s part of the problem. Lately, social media professionals have become increasingly obsessed with ROI and measurement. Marketers have become so concerned with numbers that in some cases, they’ve forgotten that social media primarily exists so people can be…well, social.

      I understand the obsession with numbers. If you run a business, numbers matter. Sometimes though, the numbers get in the way of what social media was created for in the first place. Have some fun on social media. You might make an impression on a few hundred fans. You might only make an impression on one fan. The number doesn’t matter.

      Only one fan won a skateboard from Tony Hawk, but I guarantee you that fan is a fan for life now. For those followers who didn’t win, no doubt they can’t wait for another giveaway, and I’m sure they’ll be paying closer attention to Hawk’s updates than they did before.

      Don’t lose sight of what makes social media so much fun. Engage with your fans. Have fun with your fans. Stop broadcasting. Stop talking at them. Start talking with them. Be social. It’s what these platforms were made for.

      We can thank Tony for reminding us of that.


Join The Conversation

  • Ryan Riley's picture
    Aug 24 Posted 3 years ago Ryan Riley

    Excellent post! I know it's been almost a year since this post but I'm glad I came across this article. You made some really solid points in regards to engaging with the fans. That's so crucial yet so many brands basically whore themselves out for likes when they really should just create better content that engages fans and makes the fans feel as if they matter. I am so incredibly tired of the "like this" or "share this" posts. Fans WILL share it if it is good content! I do think there are times when it is okay to request such things but when every post concludes with something of that nature, I'm done. You've lost my interest. This article was especially relevant to me because I follow skateboarding pretty closely and I have been one of the ones to race to find free goodies that pro skaters have tweeted about. When I saw those tweets, I felt so engaged, like I was on the inside, and it really did make me a fan for life for a lot of these skaters. I wasn't even the one to get any of the giveaways but the fact that I was called to actively engage beyond a favorite or a retweet made it so much fun for me. Again, really great article. Keep it up.

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