Earlier this year, Jeff Greenspan and Mike Lacher of the popular viral content site Buzzfeed, gave an important talk at the Social Media Week conference in New York, on how to use social media for marketing in a way that’s effective and appealing to your audience. They advised marketers to treat social media like a party and abide by the same rules of etiquette that they would in that situation, including a list of dos and a list of don’ts. The talk had a tremendous amount of useful advice, to the point where, in order to cover it all, we’re splitting it up into two posts. First up is the don’ts. Here’s a rundown of Jeff and Mike’s list of social media party faux pas.
- Focusing on yourself. Social media is about interaction, wherein marketing is a two-way conversation. If all you do is tell people how great your brand is, you’ll come off as self-absorbed and no one will want to talk to you. You can do things like posting pictures of your product, important announcements, etc., but also pay attention to what your followers are saying. Listen and engage them, and you’ll gain their trust.
- Interrupting. Once you’re engaging your followers in conversation, don’t just sit around looking for ways to turn every conversation back to your brand. Much like when you only talk about yourself, that says to people that all you care about is selling them a product.
- Begging people to like you. If people like your brand and your content, they’ll share it with their friends. That’s what social media is designed for. Constantly telling your followers, “Be sure to like this content and share it with your friends!” about every post makes you come off as desperate.
- Saying the same thing you said at the last party. Every social network is different. You can share the same content across different channels, but tailor each post for that specific network. If you make exactly the same post on every network—or post the same thing over and over again on the same network—you’ll come off as repetitive and “corporate” instead of a unique and interesting brand.
- Rehearsing everything you say. On a similar note, you don’t want to have pre-planned cookie cutter responses that take the place of real interaction. People will see through it.
- Trying to talk to everyone. Outbound marketing is about creating a message broad enough to reach as many people as possible in the hope that the people who are interested will see it. But inbound marketing is about finding the niche that your content appeals to and focusing on them. Rather than spreading yourself too thin, find a few smaller groups that your content will appeal to and gear it toward them individually.
- Luring people back to your smaller, weirder party. In many cases, the purpose of social media marketing is ultimately to drive people back to your own site. But at the same time, people are comfortable on their own social networks. Overtly asking them to go to a microsite instead without a really good reason can come off as weird and self-serving.
- Upper Decking. These are things that just make everyone around you feel icky. Things like promising to donate money to a charity in exchange for a certain number of Likes or Retweets. If you have the money to donate to charity, why not just do it? Why make it about soliciting for your page?
Next week we’ll discuss Social Media Party Dos.