In recent years, organic social outreach seems to have been declining. While there is some debate over what is directly causing this phenomenon (algorithms! Too many networks! More paid social networks!), All social marketers can agree that this is a challenge that requires creative problem solving.
Some brands take a direct approach and ask for followers and likes in exchange for something else. The Sacramento Kings, for example, have turned this tactic into a regular Friday ritual, in which fans can only get feedback from their favorite team after retweet and like a tweet.
🚨 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 🚨
RT and like this in the next 𝟏𝟎 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐬 to get an episode! pic.twitter.com/9eNDyw61sz
– Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 26, 2021
However, asking for followers can attract people who aren’t really interested in your brand, and requesting likes or retweets can artificially increase your engagement metrics. While these ideas can generate quick profits for marketers and help get goals across the finish line, these social media gimmicks should be used sparingly, if at all.
Let me finish …
When you rely on short wins and social media tricks, it becomes harder for your brand to build lasting communities and create meaningful engagement with your real fans.
Brands sometimes use social stunts, like a quick peek or a reward, to increase their number of followers. For example, a brand can share a teaser of an upcoming show or host a giveaway when it hits a certain milestone for followers. While this can help brands grow their audience quickly, it’s also likely that some of their new followers were only interested in the giveaway and won’t follow that brand after the contest ends.
Another social trick brands occasionally use to increase awareness and engagement is the Shock Score – a potentially risky move due to the backlash it can create. Posting a controversial statement is sure to get a lot of attention, but it undermines the trust you have already built with your existing followers. Take into account the fact that social algorithms tend to prioritize content that creates conversation and (occasionally) controversy, and that you may suddenly find your brand in hot water.
Honestly, I’m tired of brands thinking that using social media shock value is a great way to send a message
– 𝙠𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙯𝙚, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘈 𝘑𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘳 (@Killimaze) March 8, 2021
That’s not to say that certain quick wins should never be part of your social strategy. When used strategically, these tricks provide brands with a quick boost in visibility and make a name for themselves with potential customers. Triscuit, for example, more than doubled its audience in 24 hours by promising to give their social media manager a three-day weekend if they hit a certain milestone.
But it’s one thing to use gimmicks sparingly and another to rely on them to achieve your social goals. You don’t need a deep understanding of your audience’s preferences to get a sudden influx of followers. The Triscuit example makes it clear that sometimes all you have to do is ask. However, you need to know what your audience likes and what they don’t in order to build a lasting community and create content that will get people to buy from your brand. More than half (51%) of consumers define the feeling of being connected to a brand when a brand understands them and what they want, while 45% no longer follow brands on social networks that post irrelevant content.
Consistent use of these social tactics is a good sign that something is not working in your social strategy. If you’re struggling to reach your audience, take a step back to analyze what content engages your followers the most and what content is simply glossed over. If you find your audience growth is stagnant, tools like social listening can help you identify the topics and conversations that are attracting more prospects.
Ultimately, brands that are successful in the social arena always show a deep understanding of their target audience. Leave the quick wins behind and invest the time to get to know your audience on a personal level – social media gimmicks won’t save your strategy in the long run.
Looking for more inspiration on how to remove gimmicks from your toolbox and improve your social strategy? Read our article on building your social marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.