The Abuse and Misuse of Social Media Marketing

If you have tried your luck with marketing your business on the various social media platforms available, you have likely felt some frustration when your hard efforts haven’t paid off as you hoped they would. You’ve done your research and yet in your pursuit of faster follower counts, higher engagement, and the ever elusive “going viral”, you’ve tried every tactic in the book but nothing seems to be panning out.

This lack of apparent success can be attributed to a very important factor that most marketers tend to forget about social media: the social part.

People have started to lose sight, as with any thing that becomes exploited for marketing purposes, of what social media is all about. Social media is about building and maintaining relationships with people. If you think that simply by having a profile on Twitter or Facebook and blasting content through that channel is going to bring you fame and fortune, you will be sorely disappointed. An automated Twitter account that you touch every now and again does not make a successful social media campaign. Social media is about engagement and conversation; if those elements are missing in your campaign then you will never see any payoff to your efforts.

Reasons Why Social Media Marketing is Being Abused:


Social Media is Automated

The concept of an automated social media calendar (using a platform like Hootsuite to pre-schedule posts) is not inherently bad. It can be a lifesaver many a times; the trick is using the tool correctly. Consistently managing social media does take a lot of time and for those who have to worry about running the rest of a business or those not wanting to be a slave to social media after hours, automated social media is a valid tactic. However it is one that can is easily abused.

Anyone can find content and schedule it to post throughout the month but you will just blend right in to the rest of the crowd of social media “experts” and “gurus” if that is all you are doing. Most of the content you will ever find has already been shared to death and provides no new insight. If all someone sees when visiting your profile is a list of links, you will come across as disingenuous and robotic. That is why it is imperative to create your own new and fresh content, providing your own insights and wisdom to create something novel to your following. It is also important to make candid posts, talk about relevant news or simply what is on your mind at the time. Sharing content is okay! But make sure it’s mixed with a variety of original content. Remember you are allowed, and in fact it is encouraged, to put a little humor and a bit of your personality into your social media accounts. We use the word “social” for a reason. People want contact with a person, not an automated computer.

The Folly of the Follow for Follow Method

It is normal to feel a certain satisfaction if a social media account has a large following. The larger the number the more important we seem to others. The easiest way to pump up a social following is to follow others. People will most likely reciprocate the follow and if they don’t you can just unfollow them in a few days. Simple, right?

The reason why this is flawed is because it fails in creating a true sense of community on social media. Reciprocating every single follow you receive will not lead to an increase in engagement. Your dash could become flooded with content you are not interested in interacting with and this leads to a lack of communication from both parties.  You want your accounts to be followed by people who are interested in what you have to say, interested in connecting with you. You don’t want your followers who clicked on your profile once to never return to it again simply in attempts to get more followers.

Numbers Aren’t Everything

What is frustrating for a lot of business to comprehend is how do you measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy without looking at the numbers? Higher followers mean a more successful social media marketing strategy, right? The problem with this logic is that social media isn’t about numbers it is about people. You can have a following out 20K people but if only one or two of the followers interacts with your account, the rest of the followers don’t really add up to anything.

Don’t Trust The Experts

CS Designworks has talked about this before but many accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram resort to buying followers to quickly appear more popular. The followers being purchased are not actual people; their only function is to follow the account and nothing more. That means no future interaction with that account, which if this hasn’t been clear before interaction is the main focus of social media. As mentioned above, quality of your followers matters a lot more then the quantity of your followers.

Ironically you see this often happening with self proclaimed “Social Media Gurus”, “Experts”, or “Professors”. In fact, I often expect this whenever I see those buzzwords in an accounts title. It’s easy enough to spot; if you go through a person’s followers and see tons of accounts with no cover photos and/or an egg as their profile picture (on Twitter), little to no posts, and an account name that’s their name plus a string of numbers, those are all telltale signs. There are even websites out there that will tell you how many followers of a person’s account are fake or not.

This tactic is a fast track to losing any reputation as a trustworthy company you may have cultivated. The worst case scenario of buying followers is that no one real will follow or interact with your account, you’ll lose respect of your clients, and you’ll eventually lose those fake followers once the algorithms have discovered them. Best-case scenario is nothing happens; you have an impressive looking follower count but no engagement.

Sometimes fake followers will follow your account without any prompting in order to spam and promote their services. You can learn how to deal with them in this article.

The Takeaway

If there is any point to this article it’s that if you’re going to put the time and effort into social media marketing please realize that you will not get anywhere with “growth hacks” or spamming or minimal effort with automated calendars. The tactic that will get you the most results is being human and interacting. Reach out to those who seem genuine. Add your sense of humor and personality. Create original content that serves to help your following. 


Most importantly, just remember it’s called “Social Media” for a reason.







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