When it comes to distributing content on social channels and getting engagement, marketers are still trying to figure out how to connect with their audience in a genuine way.
At times, it can feel like dredging the bottom of the ocean to come up with new, clever ideas. Such ideas have the potential to set a brand apart in the crowded space, but creativity tends to run dry quickly and easily.
Some marketers continually rely on certain detested, albeit effective, tactics for success. Others cringe, criticize the questionable tactics and vow never to stoop to such levels. And yet they find themselves longing for a quick win to gain social traction with their content.
Here are four such social media tactics that marketers hate to love:
Whether it’s asking to “like” a page, “share” a post or “retweet” a tweet, when you spell out the action you want your followers to take, it feels like you’re letting them control the game. Instead of letting them naturally decide how—if at all—to engage with the content, you tell them exactly what you expect.
The interesting part? Followers actually do what you request. On Twitter, promoted tweets that ask for retweet see an increase in retweets by an average of 311 percent. Asking for follows and replies also increased engagement.
— Domino’s Pizza (@dominos) June 25, 2014
Referred to as “like-baiting”, Facebook is trying to keep these types of posts out of the newsfeed. To keep your cringe level down and your organic visibility up, use these types of posts sparingly. Try offering a specific incentive for sharing the post, too, such as entering participants into a contest.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it never really hurt a person. Readers can’t resist fulfilling their need to find out “what happens next” or what it is that they’ll never believe.
Most people crave the unexpected. They want to be surprised. Curiosity may not kill you, but it can definitely entice you. And once your curiosity is piqued, the only satisfaction comes from getting the answer. Click-baiting capitalizes on this need and gets users to click on the article.
Websites such as Upworthy and Buzzfeed often get called out for creating click-bait titles. Some social platforms are trying to discourage marketers from using this tactic by keeping these types of posts from having a good organic reach.
This tactic, despite its ability to drive traffic, should also be used sparingly. When you use click-bait, be sure that you are sending people to content that they are actually going to care about and find valuable, or else you face the possibility of penalization.
For example, in a 2014 update, Facebook started taking into account how much time a user spends away from Facebook after clicking a link to determine rankings in the newsfeed. Do they stay because it’s valuable, or bounce because it’s not what they thought? Click bait works, but only when it’s not chipping away at your audience’s trust in you.
The selfie has gotten a bad wrap. With countless apps and filters available to make sure that every photo is perfect, many have started to wonder about the authenticity of selfies and other visual content designed for social media.
Consider the 2015San Diego Comic Con where actors from future superhero movies appeared on stage with Stan Lee to take a picture.
In one day, the 20th Century Fox account saw 11.9 thousand likes and 211 comments on this single image. A different angle of the same shot on Channing Tatum’s Instagram account has 219,000 likes and 1,155 comments.
Many remember Ellen DeGeneres taking a selfie at the 2014 Oscars that became the most retweeted image of all time.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
With that kind of engagement, any marketer should be dying to get a selfie on their page, too. While some loathe this trend, a well-placed selfie can help drive significant engagement and increase followers. The key is to find the appropriate time and place for the selfie to occur. For many brands, an event with a large gathering of loyal customers is a great place to start.
The selfie helps to capture a specific moment with a distinct group of people. By sharing that on social media, you allow your followers to feel like they’re a part of the picture, as if they were the photographer looking through the lens.
The most deadly sin of social media marketing is to use money to buy followers. Any social media expert will tell you that a purchased audience will only result in a mass of fake followers. Many will advise that it’s more important to focus on producing quality content and to just let the followers come.
Sometimes, though, it may actually be beneficial to spend a little money to kick-start audience growth. One data scientist experimented and found that spending even a small amount to gain some followers can benefit you in the long run.
A brand’s follower count is often used to determine its credibility. The data scientist found that while he did indeed gain many fake followers, having an increased number of followers helped his authority, which in turn improved his ranking.
When Google and Twitter announced their partnership to index tweets, brands were excited. Twitter now has an effect on SEO thanks to a focus on indexing tweets from accounts with more followers and a high “social authority.”
Again, this tactic should be short-term and only utilized to get you to a specific point or meet a certain goal. It should never replace the industry-wide best practice of sharing great content consistently to build a genuine audience and following.
Marketers are always in search of the next great tactic that will help their content find the right audience and build an engaged community, but it’s never a quick or easy process. While some may discourage these tacky tactics, when used with the right content at the right time, these ideas can help you gain traction on your social media channels and supplement your greater content strategy.