The changing landscape of social media marketing has led to some dark places in recent years with the proliferation of spammy clickbait headlines. It’s gotten to a point where many once-credible marketers are recommending to their clients that they get on-board with this cheesy tactic. Look we get it, clickbait headlines worked for a while; but their exaggerations and misleading headlines may be coming to a close soon.

Facebook announced on May 17, 2017 via a media release that they were implementing changes to their algorithm with a focus on spam headlines. The release explained that they were working to reduce the frequency of misleading or over-exaggerated headlines that are presented in the News Feed.

The social media site specifically released three changes that are helping to authenticate content:

  1. Clickbait content is being evaluated within the individual post as well as the domain and page level.
  2. Headlines are now evaluated to determine if information is being withheld or “if it exaggerates information.”
  3. Multiple languages are being tested.

Clickbait changes for Facebook

Authentic Content is the Objective for Facebook

Facebook is looking to understand if a post is intentionally withholding information in an attempt to mislead. Examples they cite in their news release include:

“When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS…” and, “WOW! Ginger tea is the secret to everlasting youth. You’ve GOT to see this!”

Both of these examples are clearly clickbait posts that over-exaggerate their content.

How Clickbait Use May Impact Your Posts

You should have little-to-no impact if your posts are focused on quality content that are not designed to mislead. If however, you do employ the use of misleading headlines in an attempt to garner higher click rates, then you are likely going to see some changes from your referral Facebook traffic.

The best way to deal with this is to fix your article titles and get back to producing quality content that is authentic.

Looking to boost your social media engagement results? Perhaps you need to take a closer look at how micro-influencers help driver better results.

Social media managers have long understood that improved engagement across platforms yields higher conversions. A brand that effectively engages its followers through social media benefits from improved lead conversions. This is why marketers have long pursued celebrities to hock their goods. Do you honestly think that Beyoncé loves the shampoo she’s pushing on social media?

What is a Micro-Influencer Anyway?

Micro-influencers are those individuals on social media with a base of followers typically below 1,000. Some marketers consider that threshold to be as high as 30,000; but the exact number isn’t really what’s important.

The important thing to understand about micro-influencers is that while they have a smaller following, their fans tend to be far more engaging with content. Think back to our Beyoncé example for a moment. While she may have millions of fans, those fans are diluted across countless interests and markets. A marketer seeking to sell an organic shampoo, for example, would potentially do far better by engaging a micro-influencer that focuses on organic personal care products. There may be far fewer people following this person; however, they are going to be well aligned with the brand and have a common set of interests.

HelloSociety, which is owned by the New York Times has done extensive analysis and determined that engagement through this method is typically 60% greater than through promotions done with massive social media brands.

Likewise, Digiday conducted an Instagram influencer survey to dig deeper into this phenomenon. They evaluated accounts with 1,000 or fewer followers and discovered that those accounts yield a like rate of 8% versus only 4% for accounts with between 1K – 10K followers.

Micro-Influencers get better engagement results.

Why is Social Media Engagement Such a Problem

The social media landscape has literally doubled in the last few years. There are more platforms than ever as well as more content. Vendors like Hubspot have been heavily promoting inbound marketing techniques in recent years which have resulted in a tremendous swell of content being pushed down the throat of consumers.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re a big supporter of inbound marketing where it makes sense; but it has certainly become a more saturated environment. The result is such that consumers have too much content coming at them. All this content turns into forgettable noise.

While the level of noise has gone up, platforms such as Facebook have been concurrently effective at diminishing their own organic value by limiting the available organic reach of your own followers. Posts that historically provided a reach of over 15% may now be limited to between 2% and 6%.

So now consider the options as a small business. You can increase your investment to expand your total number of followers, pay to “boost” your posts to sustain your reach, or you can leverage the loyal following of micro-influencers that align with your brand.

Micro-Influencers as a Solution to Engagement

People with a concentrated and loyal fan base are an ideal option for improving your own social media engagement. These people are typically seen as experts in their area and bring with them a higher level of credibility. In short, an endorsement from one of these people can carry much greater weight than someone that was clearly paid to push a product.

Brands with millions of followers can come at an astronomical price. A brief campaign can easily start in the range of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That same campaign pushed through a micro-influencer with a highly engaged following can run for a little as a few hundred dollars. Further, a small handful of these targeted supporters can yield far greater results at a fraction of the cost.

How to Leverage Micro-Influencers in Your Next Campaign

Seek out those influencers that are well aligned with your mission, brand, or products. When you see one, ask yourself if their social media following matches the people you would like to see following your own brand. Are those followers actively engaged in discussions, page likes, shares, and comments tied to the posts?

Next, engage them as a fan. Support their content, and share posts relevant to your own followers. Basically, you need to be an active fan of their brand.

Once you’ve established a relationship, feel free to reach out and be more direct about developing a more significant partnership between your brands.

You can certainly skip straight to the third step; but it’s much easier to develop a meaningful partnership when a relationship has been established.

Social media noise pollution isn’t going away anytime soon, so think about whether a micro-influencer relationship can help cut through the mess and extend your brand’s reach.

Social media can easily be the strongest tool you yield to engage your customers and fans. When done right, it can provide a rich mechanism to enhance service and garner valuable customer feedback. However, social media will bring your business to its knees if managed poorly. This was the case in the most recent United Airlines blunder.

Passive Social Media Management – United Airlines’ Epic Blunder

Passive social media management can result in a complete disaster for your business. Just consider the impact to United Airlines following their repulsive handling of a physician trying to get home. The airlines elected to drag him by his arms off the flight after they bloodied his face on an armrest… all the while countless phones were raised to capture this moment for social media. These videos became the fuel for a social media firestorm.

Passive Social Media Management Will Kill Business – Ask United Airlines

Rather than use the medium to their advantage, United’s CEO released a memo to all employees where he said the following:

“While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right. I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident.” – United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz

Munoz’s asserted that the airline had done the right thing in this situation and turned what was already a mess into an even more toxic situation once the memo reached social media.

The airline attempted to regain control of the situation a day later. Munoz tweeted a highly sanitized statement:

This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.

A terrible situation has been made immeasurably worse through poor communications – “re-accommodate” became one of the top trending topics on twitter not to mention a cornerstone topic for late night talk show hosts.

Now consider the financial impact from poor social media management – United Airlines lost $255 million in market cap. Sure, the airline didn’t lose that money; but the shareholders sure did.

Don’t Let Your Business be Passive on Social Media

Obviously the situation with this customer could have been handled better. There are an infinite number of possible approaches that could have been used to provide a better outcome; but we’re not going to get into that. Instead, let’s focus on everything that took place following the initial customer videos being posted online.

It’s easy to see that a black and white statement from the CEO stating how appalled he was with the situation would have been more helpful. Additionally, the airline could have been very direct that they will be immediately conducting their own investigation as well as holding those responsible for this mess accountable. Next, they should have extended an open arm to the passengers that remained on the flight; but were still impacted. An apology is clearly due for the stress that they had to endure. Finally, a very personal and public (and private) apology needs to be provided to the customer forcibly removed from the flight.

This represents just the tip of the iceberg on what should have been done; however, United instead to take the road less traveled and this blunder is going to cost them in the form of lawsuits, lost customers, and a severely damaged brand.

Don’t Forget that Social Media is a Two-Way Street

Companies forget all-too-often that social media is a two way street. Social media is about sharing and engaging. In this case, United Airlines allowed consumer outrage to drive the conversation rather than take an active role. This isn’t to say that the airline should attempt to censor what’s being said on their Facebook or Twitter accounts; but instead take full ownership of it.

Many of our customers share with us that they’re anxious about taking their business online or onto social media. It’s a significant step and it’s easy to understand why entrepreneurs would be nervous. But there’s one thing most businesses (including United Airlines) keep forgetting. Even if your business is not on social media, it’s on social media.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Even if your business isn’t on Facebook, it’s been discussed on Facebook. You may think that you’re staying clear of the medium; however, that’s not true – you’re simply staying in the dark on what people are saying about your business.

Remaining passive on social media can do just as much damage as saying all the wrong things as United is learning. You can stay offline if you want; but your business is probably already there. Take ownership of your social media presence and always remember to engage.

Want help running your business’s social media? We can help – just give us a call! Our social media management services are very affordable and will help keep your brand on the right track.

Social Media Optimization should be about building your brand through engagement on your social platforms.

Things like aligning social media keyword usage with your SEO strategy are somewhat important; but engagement of your followers is what you really need to focus on for an effective social media optimization strategy.

There are plenty of brand-destroying recommendations out there. Here are some of our personal favorites.

Best Ways to Hurt Your Social Media Optimization

Ignore Having a Strategy

Who needs a strategy – right? Defining a strategy would require you to think about how you intend to use the platforms – will you post daily, how will you engage your followers, how will your social media voice be branded, what theme will you use in your images, etc…

You can sit and define an effective strategy; but think about the time you lose in that process. Instead, think of the head start you get by jumping right in!

Images & Video are Overrated

Anybody can use images or video to make their social media posts stand out. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then feel free to skip the imagery altogether.

Sure, images can nearly double the reach of your social media posts; but do you really want followers that judge you based on your images?

#Hashtag Everything

Hashtags can certainly help extend your reach when used in proper moderation.

If moderation will get you a modest lift, then you should stick a #hashtag on #everything #if #you #really #want #to #extend #your #reach.

Brand Destroying Social Media Optimization Strategy Tips Market First – Engagement Second

Your followers will appreciate informative posts; but if you want sales, then it makes sense to push the marketing hard and often. Sure, pros will tell you not to push marketing posts over 20% of the time; but you’ve got bills to pay!

Ignore Engagement

It’s called social media for a reason; but engagement takes time, effort, and a strategy. Since we’ve already decided to skip the strategy, we might as well skip this piece as well. Professionals will tell you that you should be engaging your followers regularly across platforms, so you need to decide how this piece of your social media optimization is going to be handled. Will you use the classic approach of ignoring your following, or will you decide to engage… Only you can decide.

Brand Destroying Final Thoughts

Look, there are plenty of ways you can sabotage your brand on social media. This list simply represents some of the more impressive ways you can destroy your brand.

Does all of this still sound like too much to take on – give us a call and we can help you sort things out.