There is Too Much Promotional Content on Social Media #DonotABC

#DonotABC is the hashtag for Do not always be selling. Businesses need to remember that social media is called social for a reason. 

This article is for the small to mid-size businesses out there. This is not for the Macy's or the GE brands or Walmarts. And it is not because they don’t need this advice as much as the small and midsize businesses. But they're so big their marketing team probably doesn't look outside of their own ideas to bring in new concepts. My only hope is to encourage change to the small and mid-size businesses to where large businesses will see what can be done and done well. And then change how they do things. 

I want to start off by saying that this is not a wag my finger at you type of article. I am genuinely concerned about the type of content that a large majority of businesses are posting on social media. And I'm not talking about the blurry images that are used I'm not talking about the lack of cohesiveness of all their posts or new any of the minute details that are often overlooked or just forgotten about. Those will be addressed later.

This article is about how over used promotional posts are by businesses. I can take a look at most local or regional businesses in my area and I can bet that a majority of posts on any of their social networks are promotional. Now most of the good advice that has been written about what should be posted on social networks by businesses usually includes saying to do exactly opposite. It is recommended that you should be rarely post promotional content on social media. A majority of posts should be focused on your consumer, your audience, by posting content that they want to read and engage with. Ask yourself, do people want to engage with a post that is trying to sell them something?

So, this begs the question. What is happening?

If all of the advice that businesses are reading and consuming on how to post and best practices are saying one thing, how does it end up that they do the exact opposite? And the answer is pretty simple. Most businesses that are small to mid-sized are focused on selling. And they have to be. Because many of those businesses have relatively small margins and selling is essential to the life of those businesses. They listen to experts telling them not to sell on social, but the need to sell product is so high that it consumes and overwhelms that advice.

I want all of these business owners to really look at what is happening on social to their businesses. One of the common things that people point to about social is that there is no ROI. And that is relatively true in the short-term usage. But if you look at social usage in the long run, 1 to 2 years, you can start to see some correlations. And what I would recommend is for these owners to look if they see a positive or negative correlation between how often they post promotional content, engagement on social media, and then ROI. I would bet that this is going to be negative.

This should be the end of the story. After seeing in the negative correlation business owners should change how they post on social media to better engage and improve their ROI. However, we won't see this happen. Maybe because business owners believe that there are other factors that influence ROI and it isn’t the type of posts at fault. Maybe the business owners will take this advice but like before life gets in the way and they will fall back into old habits.

But for those that want to take the advice and want to succeed in improving how they do social, please read this next paragraph over and over again.

The hidden problem is that you are posting promotional content when you don't even realize it. You will post a humorous image and then in the text with that post you will go in and put in a one liner encouraging people to buy your product. What you have now done is take that humorous post and made it promotional. You need to stop doing that.

When a person sees a post like this it is equivalent to food leaving a bad taste in their mouth. That first bite might've been awesome but by the end of it all they wanted to do was try to get rid of that taste. What will happen to your business on social media is that the algorithms will slowly realize that the content you post is not appealing to your audience and they will see it less and less. Facebook has been doing this for a while and is increasing more targeted, and the algorithms that Instagram and Twitter are starting to use look to be headed in a similar path. The social networks are doing this because businesses are posting promotional stuff too much. They need to keep the consumer happy, and one of the ways to do so is to keep their feeds clear of promotional content.

I am ending this article with a plea & a threat. Please post better content on social media. I am a consumer of social media. I am annoyed by the large number of promotional posts by businesses. Please make my feeds be filled with better content, or I will have to do it myself by removing your business from it.