2014 has been a year of great moments in social media, as well as more than a few not-so-great moments. For PR and marketing professionals, perhaps the most encouraging trend we’ve seen is that “social media management” is no longer simply a job assigned to a junior employee in the bowels of the corporate marketing department; it’s increasingly become part of everybody’s job.
Of course, as we welcome in the new in 2015, it’s also time to say goodbye to the old. We asked some of our marketing friends – including industry colleagues and Idea Grove team members – what social media phenomena they most hope will die a quick death in the New Year.
Here are some of their answers:
Doug Haslam, Senior Consultant, Stone Temple Consulting
I would like to see the practice of failing to disclose sponsorships and compensation stop. There is too much out there that I cannot be sure is sponsored or not, because some bloggers probably are not told clearly what to do and others who should know better are blatantly ignoring FTC guidelines. We need enforcement and best practices in 2015.
Tagging friends in images to ‘win’ prizes. Social users are duped into tagging a friend in a picture detailing a prize draw for a company. The more friends you tag, the more chances you supposedly have to win said prize. Companies think it’s a win because tons of people end up checking out the certain brand because they’re tagged and get a notification about it. Turns out that we don’t like being tagged in these nonsense competitions. Facebook has actually started to regulate this and says it will suspend company pages that hold such “contests.”
Guilt trip chain posts. You know the ones that start out saying something interesting then turn in to: "I doubt any of you will ... so I dare you to... this post." To me, it truly cheapens the whole intent of the message.
Save them from their selfies. I have a few friends (grown adults) who post selfies to social media on a weekly basis as if we all need to be updated on their photogenic beauty status. Some of these friends are perfectly nice people who must not realize that these posts make them seem like self-absorbed narcissists. I suspect this epidemic is even more widespread among teens. Someone please make them stop. They know not what they do.
Less brand-bashing over mistakes - especially when they aren't a big deal. At this point, we all get that there are logistical issues in running social for brands, and not everything moves perfectly smooth. I think we'll see more acceptance that serving consumers is the most important thing, and, as long as brands are doing that on a reasonably consistent basis, that's what matters.
The video bandwagon. Is amateur hour over yet? Two and three years ago corporate marketing departments reinvented themselves around video. George Lucas wanna-bees were running around with video crews convinced they could produce two-minute, academy award-caliber “shorts” that would go viral and deliver brand recognition beyond their dreams. While, thankfully, the bloom has faded off that low-return rose, marketing research has continued to tout that video is more engaging than text. But let’s not forget rule number one: know your audience.
Video can be a great tool to introduce, clarify or further define a concept or an offer once you already have engaged a target. Tech companies can really leverage this to help push prospects along the buyer path within the B2B web site. In this case, the prospect has moved beyond general awareness, knows a bit about what he’s looking for and has already made the decision to deeply engage and commit time to learning more. But blasting video content on social media and in banner ads on general consumer sites to capture clicks misses the mark. That’s real estate that is best suited to capturing attention and generating awareness – marketing level one.
People are wising up and getting tired of clicking the play button without some understanding of what they are committing to for the next two (or ten) minutes. Hopefully 2015 says goodbye to the overuse and misuse of video.
Auto DMs and tools like Just Unfollow. If someone had Just Unfollow or a tool like it installed, I'm not trying to follow them. And about 90 percent of the time I'll unfollow them if I find out they've got it. I don't want to be monitored in that way, and I also don't want to be connected with people who are putting that much emphasis on when someone unfollows them. As for Auto DMs, they're just annoying and stupid. I tried it for about a week (inadvertently at first with some new tool I was trying).
The mindless promotion of hashtags like the #AlexfromTarget, which has led to death threats to the kid and his family. The #AlexfromTarget thing was given extra steam by media and social and the poor kid just showed up to work looking cute and caught the eye of some foolish tween. It has gone to Hell in a handbasket for the kid and his family. Not sure how this could be framed for a marketing piece, but I am personally appalled at how out control things got without the kid having done anything.
Hashtagging every word. Enough already! Hashtags are designed to categorize tweets, so you need to stick to one or two carefully chosen words or well-known acronyms. Going overboard makes your tweet look spammy and defeats the purpose of hashtags.
Trust expert Scott Baradell is CEO and founder of Idea Grove. Idea Grove helps its clients secure trust at scale through its unique Grow With TRUST approach. Scott is an established authority on trust and editor of the online publication Trust Signals, as well as author of the upcoming book Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World. Idea Grove celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020, earning honors including the 2020 Pegasus Award for Small Agency of the Year, being named a Top 200 B2B service provider by Clutch, and ranking in the top 25 tech agencies in the U.S. by O'Dwyer's. Scott has an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and speaks on PR and marketing topics at industry events nationwide.