How to NOT Use Social Media


By Kris Aguilar

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Google "how to market on social media" and you'll get about 345,000,000 results. Google "books on social media" and you'll get 144,000,000 results. Despite an overabundance of knowledge and instruction out there, companies continue to do social media all wrong.I am reading "What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How To Guarantee Yours Succeeds" and seeing how some companies are simply wasting their time and money on marketing. While I'm learning there is no exact RIGHT way to do social media, there is definitely a WRONG way. Here are three wrong moves companies–and possibly you–are making, as well as some suggestions on how to achieve social media success.

  1. Don’t Shamelessly Comment: "Check Out My Page"

Time and time again, companies and people will comment on a person’s post, or even worse, other companies’ posts, telling them to check out their page or website. This is like walking into a restaurant and going up to the manager and customers and telling them to go try another restaurant instead. If you go on almost any YouTube video, you'll find these types of comments. You’ll also notice that while most other comments have a 'like' or reply, this one will likely be ignored AS IT SO RIGHTEOUSLY DESERVES TO BE. While a big part of advertising is raising awareness, this is not the way to do it.

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Remember that the point of being social is to be social. Post helpful tips and advice, add creative content, and, ultimately, give back to the social media community.

  1. Don’t Post Boring Questions

When posing questions on social media, make sure you’re asking the right questions. It’s not uncommon to see companies with posts like this:

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Now asking questions is not a bad thing, it just needs to be engaging. Sometimes asking something funny or controversial like "Who would win in a fist fight: Han Solo or Captain Kirk?" (assuming your brand is related to geek culture) will result in a high number of responses. Provide content like a clickable poll, picture, or video to go with your post to make it more attractive and hopefully more engaging. Here's an example of a good question post:

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  1. Don’t Post Just to Sell Your Product

Yes, social media is supposed to build your brand and ultimately help make sales–that’s practically what marketing is all about! But that doesn't mean you can just throw ads at people all day. Again, the point of being social is to be social, not “salesy.” People follow brands on social media to stay up to date on news or because the brand posts great content. Below is a screenshot of Nike's Instagram. Notice how none of the shots are of products, but instead simply allude to them:

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Figure out who your audience and followers are. Post content you think they will like that isn't product-centric or sales-based.

One last thing to remember: social media isn’t rocket science. Most people are there to be entertained as well as informed. So if you're a serious company, be a little less serious. And if you're a creative company, then be even more creative! The social media landscape is a fun place, so have fun in it.