Your Strategy Checklist: Is Your Social Media Outdated?

Staying up on trends and continually evolving a plan are essential to a successful social media marketing strategy. Therefore, it follows that an outdated social media strategy is an ineffective social media strategy. But what makes a social media strategy “outdated”? While there are plenty of things you shouldn’t make part of your social media strategy, there are a few techniques that once may have been considered effective but now, well, now we hate them.

Here are 6 outdated strategy tactics that every content marketer should avoid.

  1. Asking for a like or retweet. Coming right out and asking your followers to like, retweet or share something is an outdated social media strategy that users see right through. Instead of asking for basic interactions from your fans, provide valuable content and then ask for their opinion. Change your copy from “Like this if you agree with our theory on the Flying Spaghetti Monster!” to “Do you think a Flying Spaghetti Monster can exist based on our research? Share your thoughts!” Not only will you receive more interactions, but they will be higher quality, with your target actually providing valuable insights into how they think and work.
  2. Setting up an automatic direct message on Twitter. If you’ve automated your entire social media strategy, you have a problem. Social media is meant to be personalized, fast-paced, real and in real-time. Sending automated tweets can be bad enough… sending automatic direct messages is even worse! Instead of setting up a direct message system that will undoubtedly annoy new followers and possibly cause them to unfollow, why not take the time and reach out to new followers individually with a tweet or question that seeks to get to know them a little better. Ask what kind of content they’re following for or just thank them for following with a direct tweet as opposed to a direct message. Your followers will appreciate the time you spend on personalizing your relationship!
  3. Using outdated and annoying buzzwords. Things move fast online with new ideas constantly being shared and elaborated on. So it makes sense that a lot of these trendy buzzwords can lose their punch pretty quickly, especially with so many marketers including them in their regular, everyday vernacular. Avoid using outdated and annoying buzzwords like “synergy” and “crowdsourcing” in your social media strategy. Present new ideas and new words that we can use until they’re no longer cool!
  4. Sending everyone who follows you on Twitter a LinkedIn invitation. You just got a new Twitter follower. Great job! They deemed your account worthy of including in their daily feeds, on Twitter. Don’t take followers away from your Twitter feed by sending a LinkedIn invitation. Chances are, your LinkedIn strategy and your Twitter strategy are very different… or at least they should be! Don’t overwhelm new followers by asking them to follow you somewhere else. Instead, focus on providing the quality content that encouraged them to follow you in the first place!
  5. Using your personal Instagram as your business/brand Instagram. In real life, most people try to keep business and personal lives separate. While this line is certainly being blurred by the startup movement, the philosophy still holds true on our social media checklist. Particularly Instagram. By combining a personal and brand account, you’re diluting your message and confusing your followers. Create an Instagram account for your brand where the updates are strictly related to your business or company philosophies. If you still want an account where you can post pictures of Saturday night beers or your family trip to Disneyland, make a completely separate account.
  6. Overusing and misusing hashtags. Hashtags are one of the most overused and abused marketing tools on social media platforms Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook. Many people think that adding 10, 15, 20 tags is a great way to generate interest in a post. And sure, adding hashtags like #love, #peace or #tranquility will probably get you a few likes, but it won’t actually create real interest in your posts OR brand. The best way to use hashtags is to promote specific events or to aggregate updates regarding a particular topic, like #SXSW2014. Look at hashtags as a way to find people talking about your topic of interest, not to generate likes or shares.

Using social media specifically to generate buzz is a mistake. Instead, be honest online and approach social media how it’s meant to be approached: in real-time and as a tool for discussion, not promotion. Double check your strategy with our social media checklist and make sure your techniques aren’t outdated!

4 thoughts on “Your Strategy Checklist: Is Your Social Media Outdated?”

  1. We aren’t explaining asking for a like or a retweet isn’t effective, we’re just explaining it is an outdated strategy. Strategies like these are a bit juvenile and overdone these days; that’s all were saying.

    Thanks for the comment!

  2. Regarding #3, coming soon on the (global, collective) @PRConversations blog is a joint post by (Italian) Toni Muzi Falconi and (Kiwi) Helen Slater on “buzzwords” (in public relations). Very first on the list? “Advocacy.” I am so, so, so tired of marketers (with zero experience in internal communications, HR or employee engagement) jumping on the “employee advocacy” (or “employee brand”) bandwagon when it comes to social media. Especially the expectation that younger employees want to do nothing better on their personal social media accounts than fawn all over the place with praise about their (current) employer and, in the process, help to sell, sell, sell stuff!

    Those young people will likely be gone within 12 months, on to their 2nd, 3rd or 4th position. And when they leave they will transfer their #businessselfies and “advocacy” to the next employer who pays them more…..

    1. Judy, thanks for your insight, and interesting point. To play devil’s advocate, maybe a quick turnover in employees could mean even more praise, since there will be more bodies, and thus new News Feeds, filtering in and out.

      But to your point of employee advocates, some major brands like Dell and Dunkin’ Donuts are enhancing the “praise process” (if you will) by adding incentives. Maybe that will deter younger employees from leaving companies so quickly? Thanks again for your comment!

      1. Employee attrition levels are almost always correlated to the company culture and values–high when it is toxic/bad, low when it’s a workplace employees embrace (or at least are content with) BEYOND the salary and benefits. I actually think adding “incentives” to the praise process sounds incredibly shallow…and cheesey.

        BTW, I wrote a mega-post on the topic not that long ago, calling upon subject experts in the process. The comments section was also incredibly lively and informative…and gratifying for me.

        See: Social sniff test: engaging employees as advocates or treating them as commercial commodities?

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