Online marketing misnomers

ONLINE MARKETING MISNOMERSI find it really quite bemusing at times sitting on the swings of the online marketing playground. I mean, I can see the standard play equipment and I know what it is for. But I just don’t understand why businesses or marketing managers don’t realise just having the same old, same old will not work.

Humans like things that are new, approached differently. Sure we like a little bit of the same old same old (hence the appeal of re-runs and leftovers) but for crying out loud, what’s with all this re-hashed marketing?

My online marketing rant list in no particular order…

  1. There’s a Magic Formula…

If one more social media expert answers the question “How much should I schedule on Facebook?” with “There’s no magic formula but you should try to blog as often as possible and have a Facebook post every day and schedule your Twitter in 2 hour blocks and…”

I think I will pick up the complimentary bowl of peppermints in front of me, suck ‘em all down and fire them off like sugary little bullets into the speaker’s forehead. I may also fire my pen at them via rubber-band catapult if it is their second offence of the presentation.

There isn’t a magic formula of frequency.

It comes down to one simple thing- quality. Spend some time studying what works via your social media analytics and take that as a guide of what content works for your social media channels and what may be a good time frame between posts.

You have 2 to 3 seconds to make an impression, make it count. Don’t write posts that don’t help you gain an impression that lasts. Don’t just use social media for the sake of using social media.

Oh, and social media experts, don’t start a sentence with there is no magic formula and then proceed to define the terms of the apparently indefinable.

  1. I’m a social media expert…

Actually, unless you’re down with over 100 based forms of internet communication and I suspect downloading more App’s to your phone than Steve Jobs had skivvies, you are not a social media expert. You may be awesome at Twitter or Facebook or really get into YouTube, you might dabble with StumbleUpon, love your Instagram or run several Tumblr accounts but you are not an expert on social media. Social media encompasses sharing of content across multiple platforms through multiple means to a multitude of audiences.

There’s a big arse pile of web 2.0 happiness out there. You can’t tell me there is a person alive who has mastered all of it.

  1. I’m a Twitter Magician coz I have all the Twitter Tricks you need to know…

Yes, I click through when someone on Twitter says “Top Ten Twitter Tricks You Need to Know” and yes, I am severely disappointed when it is the usual “learn terms like RT, shorten your links, keep your tweets short, listen- don’t broadcast”.


Guys, this is great info if I have never ever seen Twitter never ever before but if I am on Twitter, I am using Twitter.

This is like telling me how to open the door to your office after I’ve already sat down inside your office, at your desk, and eaten your unguarded sandwich.

These are not tricks, they are not secrets- they are just a cheap excuse for you to re-badge stuff everyone already knows. If you are going to raise your trumpet to the sky and herald an amazing as something a user must know when it comes using a particular social media platform, make it useful.

  1. Top 5’s and Top 10’s improve your SEO

Here’s a little applied logic. If everyone is blogging about the same subject in the same format using the same lines, it doesn’t improve your SEO.

Think of it this way- remember the girls behind Robert Palmer for the Simply Irresistible film clip with the slicked down hair, matching dresses and doing the same dance moves? They are all using the same format, creating the same lines and being a part of the same subject. Do you remember each of the girls and what they looked like, or do you remember them just standing behind Robert Palmer as a very attractive, striking yet amorphous blob of female sexiness?

My point is what you do when you all do the same thing in the same way on the same subject is you don’t differentiate you, you just differentiate the subject. No one will remember you for that content; they will just remember the content.

You are not only forgettable, you’re also directly competing with the 17,000 other bloggers who have written the same thing for a position on page one. That defeats the purpose.

Make it original, or forget about it.

5. Clickbait headlines are the way to go

Disco Stu predicts if these trends continue, disco will be an amazing franchise opportunity.

Clickbait headlines may have been popular for a while, and yes, Upworthy uses them and Upworthy pulled some amazing growth stats last year. But it reminds me of the time Marge goes to the franchise fair in the Simpsons and Disco Stu has his sweet little graph of how well disco was predicted to do in 1976. We all know how that ends now, don’t we?

Gimmicks are not sustainable. They’re novel, but they die. That’s why we’re not all running out to download Alf, wearing Wham tee shirts or perming our hair anymore.

Facebook has been making changes to ensure clickbait doesn’t get much oxygen, and no doubt Google will do something similar soon. So it’s counterintuitive to decent online marketing.

From a customer perspective, the hyperbole and over extension of the potential for amazement is ultimately disappointing. You don’t want to disappoint your customers. It dents trust and makes you unbelievable.

What should you do with online marketing?

The first step to understanding what to do with your online marketing is working out the kinds of customers you have. From here, think about the kinds of marketing activities would appeal to them. Experiment with the kind of conversation you want to have with your customers. Play around a little and see what you can figure out.

Marketing is ultimately a form of creativity. By combining knowledge of your audience, bringing together a great story around your business and making things appealing, you create great online marketing. Use it as an opportunity to woo your customers and make a connection by revealing a little of what you do. Bring that together with a little story and whimsy and you’re onto something.

AND you’ll have a lot more fun with your marketing in the process.

Want to talk about your marketing? Drop me a line.

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