March 22, 2017

4 of the Worst Social Media Marketing Strategies (+ What I Do Instead)

A strong social media marketing strategy is essential to building a strong brand, but finding what works takes lots of trial and error and, sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone. Some tactics feel sleazy, often because they are (let's skip the beating-a-dead-horse monologue about follow/unfollow), and others simply do not feel right in the context of your brand and business model.

There are some social media marketing strategies that I love, some that I really like, some that are just okay, and some that I think are just the worst. This post highlights the "strategies" that fall into that last category. I type strategies in quotes because whether or not these tactics are truly strategies is debatable. I'm not here just to rant, though. I'm telling you why I don't like these four strategies and what I do instead.

+ Commenting on random Instagram photos.

I mentioned in this post that this tactic is a pet peeve of mine, but I really do not get it. Why take the time to comment on someone's photo when you have no intention of following them and do not want to connect? Even worse: what is the point of leaving a single emoji underneath a photo? Someone please tell me.

Assume I notice your emoji-leaving. That's why you commented to begin with, right? So I'd notice you. There is a very, very good chance that I won't even click on your profile, never mind follow you, because you've done something that makes me 😬. Commenting on a random person's Instagram photos does not help you market yourself as an engaged or interested connection.

Instead I...

Only comment on photos posted by accounts that I follow. I'll occasionally like a photo that I found via hashtags (isn't that the point of hashtags?), but I'm not going to comment on your picture if I don't follow you. When looking for new accounts to follow, I tend to scroll through the comments on photos posted by accounts that I already follow. These commenters are more likely to be people that I can connect with and that share content that I want to consume.

That works both ways. Someone could be doing the same thing and find me, a commenter.

+ Automating Twitter DMs.

Yes, I know that I just followed you. You do not need to tell me/thank me in a DM and link me up to all your socials. I know where to find them if I'm interested. I think I speak for more than a few of us when I say that these automated DMs are sort of spammy and are not an effective social media marketing strategy.

Instead I...

Do nothing. If you follow me on Twitter (shameless plug), great! I'm happy to have you. But I'm not going to single you out. I sincerely hope that you find my content useful, and I'd love it if you reply to my Tweets, or even DM me so that we can connect further, but I'm not going to slide into your DMs come after you directly. While this may lead to organic engagement, I feel that, on Twitter, building an organic relationship should start with content-sharing and through unfacilitated interaction, not from a direct message with the intent to grow my following across platforms.

+ Posting old (or really old) content on Instagram.

I can't be the only one who is bothered by Instagram accounts that post almost exclusively latergrams (or way latergrams, as I'd like to think of them). The only thing worse, in my opinion, is posting exclusively regrams, stock photos, stylized photos, or a combination thereof. I follow accounts on Instagram because I want to see original content that I can't get anywhere else, and if you're one of those people who is consistently 'gramming photos of last summer's fabulous trip to Greece while you're actually sitting at a 9-5 desk job... well, your content isn't that original. You're not marketing yourself as an account (and thus, brand) that people will want to go to for new, fresh content. #SorryNotSorry

Instead I...

Don't post old content! Don't get me wrong: I know full well how hard posting new content to Instagram can be, especially when your days consist mainly of everyday, less-than-exciting things like going to class, work, and Trader Joe's. That's why I've become very aware of what is photographable. Cute sign? Could work. Cityscape looking especially Insta-worthy? Did your toast look really nice today? (I could not believe that this picture got almost 200 likes. It's a piece of toast.) If done right, Instagram can be a powerful tool in your social media marketing toolbox.

+ Having a weak bio.

How you market yourself in your social media bios is critical because it's often the deciding factor in whether or not a potential community member or client hits the "follow" button. If you blog about a specific topic, or you offer a service or course, I should know that from reading your bio. If all that's in those 140-150 characters is something like: "Chocolate lab owner and doughnut aficionado," yeah, that's cute, but like... what do you do? Unless your blog or business is about chocolate labs and doughnuts, positioning yourself as someone who loves dogs and fried-and-frosted dough rings is not a very effective social media marketing strategy.

Instead I...

Mix the professional with the personal. Or I've at least tried to. I've read many a blog post about crafting the perfect Instagram bio, but is there really any magic formula? You need your mission statement, a fun tidbit, a CTA, other handles, an email address... but all these elements don't always fit comfortably in your limited character space.

I've settled on an abridged version of who I am/my mission statement and a bit about me as a person aside from blogger/entrepreneur. I do lack a CTA, yes. I could have omitted my personal line (some variation of enjoying black coffee and live music), but I felt that it made my profile and me more "approachable," for lack of a better term.

What are your favorite and least favorite social media marketing strategies?


  1. Some good tips here! I definitely like the idea of following other commenters who follow similar people to me.

    1. Thanks, Holly! I've found that this is a good way to find new people to follow.

  2. Yesss. I'm equally as turned off/sick of these social media "strategies" (I'm using quotes, too! haha)

    I think I've tried them all at least once at some point, and they didn't work for me AND they made me feel sorta...icky. No bueno.

    Now, I've come to realize (as with a lot of things) that you should ultimately do what works FOR YOU. Because that looks different for everyone. So, right now my social media strategy is kind of all over the place, and I'm making it up as I go along based on what feels good for me and my brand. We'll see how things go. :)

    Latest on the blog: Spring is Blooming with JORD Watches (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

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    2. Exactly, Bria! If there's one thing I could go back and tell myself before I threw everything into building my brand and community online, it would be that everything is very "learn as you go" around here. A strategy that works well for others could be the worst strategy for you. Doing what people say you should do is not always the best measurement to go by. Good luck!


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