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The KBG. Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti. The Committee for State Security for the former Soviet Union was one of the most feared agencies in history. Thankfully, this post isn’t about them.
Here, we’re going to talk about a different type of KGB, the type that is plaguing social media on pages across the internet, hurting businesses and striking fear into the hearts of knowledgeable internet marketing professionals around the world. It’s the type of bad posts that were once thought to be effective but that have been debunked time and time again, yet so many businesses (and even vendors) continue to post them.
Today’s social media KBG is this:
If you or your vendor are still using these things, stop immediately. They aren’t helping. In fact, they are hurting the cause of using social media as a proper advertising venue through which to increase business. Here’s why:
Don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against felines. By “kitties” I’m referring to the type of posts that have absolutely nothing to do with business but that are designed to become popular on social media for their general appeal. They are often funny, sometimes cute, and almost always fluffy (not in the feline way).
Do they work? If the goal is strictly to get more likes in an effort to improve Facebook EdgeRank, then technically they can be effective. The problem is two-fold. First, they turn many people off. They get enough kitty posts from their friends and family. Many people don’t like it when they see business pages post irrelevant kitty pictures because it is insincere. “You’re a business, not a buddy.”
The second and arguably more important reason is that your business has plenty of relevant content to post. Stay focused. A car dealer should be posting cars. There are plenty of awesome cars that work just fine to get engagement. Local businesses have a world of potential content surrounding them in their community and within proximity to the store. Kitty images are simply not necessary for driving engagement and the risk of turning people off as a result is simply too high to dismiss.
Just as with kitties, games and giveaways intended to inflate the fan counts on the various social networks (Facebook in particular) can be effective in achieving its goal. Just as with kitties, it’s not necessary and can have dramatic negative consequences.
Who wants fans to like their page so they have a chance to win something? What are the chances of getting any engagement from that person? How many people do not win the great prize and get a negative sentiment about a business right from the start?
Most importantly, it’s just too easy to acquire high quality fans through transparent advertising to give games or giveaways any consideration. Through transparency, pages are able to grow at a much better pace. Is it faster? Sometimes, but not always. That doesn’t matter. I’ll take 100 fans who came in for the right reasons and with the right expectations over 1000 fans hoping to get something for free any day.
Of the three components of KGB-style fan acquisition techniques, this is arguably the most annoying. You don’t care and we know it. There, I said it.
No business outside of a movie theater cares what their fans’ favorite movies are. It’s so apparent to anyone who’s been on Facebook for more than a month that companies who ask irrelevant questions are doing so to get you to talk to them. It’s a desperate move that is apparently so to the people who see the questions.
If you’re going to ask questions (which is a good thing when done right), keep it relevant. Keep it in line with what your business does. Ask questions that you might ask a customer if you were sitting with them in the waiting room or met them at a party. Don’t ask questions that are simply there to drive engagement. People know what you’re doing and they don’t like it.
Will some people respond to any question? Of course? Is this a good thing? No.
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There are too many transparent and effective methods to get fans and increase engagement. Using these types of techniques is so antiquated that I can’t believe there are still companies that use them.