Are You Misusing Your Social Media Marketing?


Social Media is a relatively new medium, and advertisers are still trying to wrap their heads around the best ways to utilize its unique characteristics. And, as is the case with any new advertising medium, some of them are tripping over their own feet in their efforts.

Take, for example, American Airlines. American Airlines utilized a social media management software that generated an automated response to any message levied at the airline, thanking the contributor for their support. The problem was, not every message levied at them was supportive. When a Twitter post slamming a company is responded to with a ‘Thanks for your support!’ message, it doesn’t just make the company look disconnected; it makes them look foolish.


Another example of social media mismanagement comes from food website Epicurious. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Epicurious posted tweets promoting breakfast recipes that attempted to piggy-back off the tragedy. Twitter users were outraged at company for attempting to profit off of such a horrific incident.


While both of these examples represent different paths towards alienating and enraging your social media followers, they both commit the same cardinal sin; attempting to pass pandering off as genuine engagement. American Airlines clearly understood the importance of responding to customers comments, but didn’t put the effort into actually doing it. Epicurious knew that the Boston Marathon would be a trending topic, but showed all the sensitivity and human decency of a claw-hammer in attempting to exploit it.

The best way to utilize social media in your marketing strategy is to not approach social media as a marketing outlet. It’s a confusing dichotomy, I know, but one that must be acknowledged in order to develop an effective social media marketing plan. Genuine engagement and organic discussion is the highest form of social media marketing, and a post that encourages and fosters discussion will always engage more followers, generate more shares and likes, and have a broader impact than even the most veiled of sales messages.

According to Neil Patel of Quick Sprout “The simplest way to stand out is to respond to people and help them out. Most people are too lazy to respond to a tweet… by doing simple things like this, you will stand out. ”

Don’t tell followers about your new product, ask them what they think about your new new product. Don’t post a picture of your product, ask followers to post pictures of themselves using your product. Don’t deliver a message, start a conversation.

And in that spirit, we’d like to start a conversation with you! Drop us a line and weigh in. Have you ever attempted social media marketing? What strategies did you employ? What level of success and engagement did you achieve?

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