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It’s that scary time of year again.

You look at your marketing budget and wonder if you’ve spent too much. But have your marketing strategies given you the ROI you expected? Or have you been stalked by online marketing monsters disguised as great ideas?

Don’t live in fear. Unmask those terrifying creatures so you can see them for what they are.

Social Media Zombies That Want Other Tweeters’ Brains

 

It’s not just the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz who thinks, “If I only had a brain.” Zombies do, too.

Marketers who use social media zombie strategies pass off others’ ideas as their own instead of creating content themselves.  There are many ways businesses take credit for other’s content.  In particularly bad cases, everything from blog posts to infographics can be copied and pasted to a business blog without giving proper credit to the original source.  Copying and pasting content to your website that you can then share as your own across social media channels will not only result in a duplicate content flag from Google Search Console, but will ignite social chatter that could mark your business practices as among the walking dead.

Many businesses known and understand how to share content in a way that gives credit where credit is due.  For example, sharing other’s infographics is a great way of assisting other valuable content with linking and clicks.  However, to do this correctly, you would need to properly embed the infographic onto your own blog post.  When sharing an infographic directly to your social media channels, use the original link to the infographic.  This ensures credit is given where credit is due.

Sharing valuable content is a great way to build your audience.  When building a personal or small business brand, sharing posts that inspire you and content you find genuinely interesting is a great way for your followers to feel they can rely on you for the latest information.  When curating content to share with your followers, you want to make sure the content you share is relevant to your chosen audience and demographic.  Additionally, you want to ensure you’re not only sharing content from others.  Social media is a great way to drive traffic to content, so why not drive traffic to your own? Be sure to occasionally share more about your brand and business among your curated posts.

Twitter is known as one of the most viral sharing platforms on the Internet today.  Twitter can be a very powerful tool to help drive traffic to your business and build a recognizable, trustworthy brand.  However, like any social media platform, Twitter suffers from spammers and fake accounts.  To avoid having your content perceived as a spamming account, you’ll want to make sure your account engages with others and shares original, unique content about you and your business.  Accounts that only retweet other accounts can easily be assumed as fake accounts and will have a hard time growing followers or receiving any engagement.

Good marketing strategies take time. Unfortunately, time is money, so too many marketers turn to “robo tweeting” (automated responses that show customers you’re too busy to reply in person). Such practices are easy, and they save time, so why not?  However, be warned that Twitter is on to this deadly practice and continues to take measures in rapidly blocking accounts that automate replies, Direct Messages, or retweeting without showing any other real interaction with followers.

How can you avoid being bitten by a social media zombie? Work harder to understand your customers’ needs. Design original art (what an idea!). Create unique content. Talk to the end user.  It takes more engagement on your part to receive engagement in return.

Most of all, don’t panic.  If you take the time to interact, you prove you’re among the living.

Content Vampires That Make Your Writing Suck

 

If you’ve spent much time on Copyblogger, Contently, or Content Marketing Institute, you’re probably used to reading articles about why your content sucks and what you should do about it.

Such companies know that the vampire metaphor is apt. Besides, we’ve all read too much sucky web content to need a better metaphor.

Still, content vampires are pretty seductive.

If you’re a copy writer, you’d love to believe that every piece you write is a masterpiece. Content vampires like you to believe this lie, too. They whisper other lies to you as well, such as:

  • “If a little content is good, a lot is better.” (Nope. You can’t cover up bad writing by writing more of it.)
  • “Generalities are okay—the important thing is to have words on the page.” (Wrong! No reader will put up with meaningless tripe. Expect a high bounce rate if you don’t serve your customers’ needs within your content.)
  • “It’s okay to self-plagiarize.” (Sigh. Sorry, but search engines are smarter than you, and so are your readers. Expect your SERP results to take a hit if your content regularly borrows wording from your other pages.)
  • “Use lots of qualifiers.” (Nah, you don’t help your cause by writing things like “We may be able to help you find…” or “We offer very high-quality products.” Be bold. Cut out the qualifying hype.)

Yes, it’s hard to be completely original. But when you cut the fluff, the vague generalities, the massive paragraphs no Internet user will read, and the clichéd content, you strike a fatal blow to every content vampire’s heart.

Ghost Bloggers That Take Away the Life of Your Posts

 

Ah, the outsourced ghost writer. Busy companies love outsourcing their blog posts to professionals who can say things… well, just better.

However, if you use ghost writers exclusively, readers may wonder about your credibility. Also, if you develop a following, those followers may see discrepancies between posts, even if you use your own byline.

A bigger problem with ghost bloggers is the research. How do you know their resources are valid? Sure, they use the right buzzwords, but how can you actually quantify the result?

It’s not a bad idea to use ghost blogs merely for SEO purposes, but if you really expect readers to follow the blog, add personal touches. After all, search engines may like your posts, but ask yourself: what matters most—a search engine’s opinion or a potential customer’s?

Of course, if you’ve thoroughly vetted your ghost bloggers beforehand, feel free to use their posts occasionally. Just remember, it only takes one bad ghost blogger to make you lose credibility.

Maniacal Meme Makers That Clown Around with Your Brand

 

Who doesn’t love memes? Social media is filled to overflowing with “One does not simply” and “What my parents think I do” images.

True, most readers love to share funny quips, twisted quotes, and hilarious gifs and photos with their friends. But does this trend mean that memes are always great marketing tactics?

In a word: No. Well—it depends. After all, Twitter hashtags are a sort of meme, and those hashtags can be gold to marketers if they go viral. As can well-placed memes that readers will only associate with your brand.

Overall, though, memes can make your company look ridiculous. They often tell readers that you’re trying too hard. Does anyone care which company posted the meme? Of course not. Memes are a cheap laugh track that’s fun today, but forgotten tomorrow.

More importantly, memes have a short shelf life. Months from now, people will have forgotten all the hoopla surrounding an event that has BuzzFeed in a lather right now. And memes may not make sense to your target audience. Worse, you may come too late to the game, putting your stamp on a meme that everyone is already tired of.

Some people actually like clowns, but the bulk of your audience might be scared (or is that scarred?) by your clownish attempts at social marketing. Don’t risk harming your brand with even one tasteless, out-of-context meme. In fact, it’s just better to leave memes to professional meme makers.

Banish the Monsters

In the end, you won’t find too many marketing tactics that can replace a well-thought, carefully crafted marketing strategy. Ignore the evil imps that tell you otherwise.

Don’t be afraid—you have the power to banish those marketing monsters that haunt your company’s strategies night and day. Trust that power to lead you out of the dark and into marketing enlightenment once again.

About The Author

Ruth Christensen


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