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Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

More Social Media Gimmicks That You Need to Stop Using

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If you are using any of these gimmicks, you need to stop…

by Jon-Stephen Stansel

The social media marketing blogs are full of gimmicks promising to increase engagement and grow followers quickly. Most of them are bunk. There are no shortcuts in social media. Nothing can substitute for quality content and genuine engagement. It's time for some real talk. These social media hacks and tricks don't work and are making you look like an amateur. If you are using these shortcuts to create content or generate buzz, it's time to stop.


The Ever-Changing Banner Image

How often do you go to a brand’s Facebook page? Really? My guess is pretty rarely. So why do so many folks insist on changing the banner image, which will only be seen if you go to page, every time they have a new event or initiative? Does your graphic design team really have time to waste creating content that won’t get seen? 

And often the graphic is text heavy, which means it’s next to impossible to read on a smartphone and not accessible to those using screen-readers. Sure, the banner probably needs to be updated from time to time, to provide a current and up-to-date image, but find one good image and stick with it. 

Preaching to the Choir

Several companies provide social media employee advocacy programs. These programs will inform your team of brand content that they should retweet in order to get the word out. Apps like the now defunct Thunderclap would allow your follows to opt-in and send the same message from all connected accounts at once.

Here’s the problem. Are your employee’s friends and family your target audience? Probably not. These tools might get you some retweets, but they will likely only get your content in front of people who already have some connection to your brand. I’m sorry, but likes from your mom don’t count.

Group Photos

Sure it seems like easy content. All the important people in your organization are in the same room, perhaps it’s your board of directors, maybe a donor is there too. Let’s make them feel important. Someone snags a group photo on their phone and sends it to you with the message, “Could you put this on social?” 

A big part of our job in social media is to tell stories. The only story a group photo tells is that a bunch of people awkwardly stood in front of a camera, wearing suits, while someone took a photo.

I get it, sometimes we need to post photos of the VIPs. But instead of a group photo, let’s get something that tells a story. This could be as simple as folks shaking hands or speaking to the group. Sure, you might not get every single person into the photo, but isn’t that better than an awkward and possibly blurry photo of the entire group?

My 3rd grade class picture. Not a story here, other than late 80’s children’s fashion.

My 3rd grade class picture. Not a story here, other than late 80’s children’s fashion.

Cardboard Instagram Frames

We’ve all been at events where they have these; cutouts that look like an Instagram post for you to pose for photos with. They often have your social handles on them. Honestly, when I first saw one of these, I loved it. That was more than five years ago. It’s been done. It’s over. They just aren’t interesting to anyone anymore and it’s time to let them go. In the words of Marie Kondo, they don’t spark joy.


So, what gimmicks would you add to this list? There are even more gimmicks here.

Jon-Stephen StanselComment