What Every Brand Should Avoid

October 18, 2016
6 mins read

This situation is somehow still surprising how brands pretend they understand social media and they prove every day; they don’t. No one should be surprised that so many brands are meaningless for people.

Recently I published a post about Havas Media study from which you can learn that if 74% of top 500 brands disappear no one will care. OK, not exactly no one, because brand owners will cry loud. But customers don’t.

The other numbers I showed in my post was the number of marketing messages person gets until is 18 years old. OK, so I found another example:

Jon Miller (co-founder of Marketo) saying that average American is:

  • Exposed to 2908 ads daily
  • Noticing only 52 of them
  • And remembering only 4 of them

You should watch from 4:14

During 18 years is less than 21 million, but let’s leave it. It’s still a huge number. No, it’s incredibly huge, immense, vast, enormous, tremendous number of advertisements. And simply billions of dollars thrown out to thrash. As simple as that.

Two or three months ago I took part in some test, what makes put my attention more to what I see during driving from home to work and back. During the test I realized two things:

  • How much advertisements disrupting are
  • How many ads I was exposed to during 15 minutes of driving

For both, I can answer – too much and too many.

If we dig into the internet it’s the same. Many of publishers don’t care at all about IAB guidance’s and best practices, so no surprises when you open a website and you are attacked by self-starting advertisement or video. Or you just see the floating ad that it’s extremely hard to close. And then publishers a little bit concerns about a number of users with adblocks.

That’s one side of the coin. Second is brands activity in social media.

People say openly – we want brands in social media. According to Sproutsocial.com data, 86% claims so. What’s more important, 75% responders claim that they purchased something because they saw it on social and 57% are more likely to buy from a brand they follow.


71% have unfollowed a brand because they were embarrassed,  57% responders said they are annoyed with too many promotions by brands and last but not least and even the most important – 41% will unfollow a brand that doesn’t share relevant information.

What are the other problems? Here we are:



These above tells a lot of mistakes brands to do online, and it shows how much still brands don’t understand that we are living in XXI century, not in the times of one-way communication.

I know that there are still some people (many of them, and you know what, they will stay forever) who believes that sharing post gives a chance to win a brand new car or at least brand new iPhone. But for many more people, competitions, and some standard promotions are nothing exciting. Valuable content is much more appreciated. If you don’t deliver what your audience expects but you are just trying to sell (promotion is nothing more than another way to sell something) it means that you don’t know your customers and you don’t understand social media.

Using slang and jargon is a longer story, and I will write about it in a different article.

Last three tell brands what people expect. They expect personality, not a PR agency and social media agency which preparing content. They expect truth not implemented a marketing plan. That’s why it’s so hard. It doesn’t mean that you should never use an agency. In many cases is more than needed as in many cases people from agencies know their industry, understand platforms, know the native language of platforms and they know when something is changing. And the only one thing you can be sure about social media is constant change. But in many cases you know your brand much better than any other person from agencies, so without allying together it will be extremely hard to succeed.

Last but not least, users reminds about the fact that we are living in XXI century. In the times that customers have the possibility to ask you directly about everything and you have to react in some way. Another way your fans respond, and they will do it not necessarily in the way you want.


And we have results. Something that annoys also becomes a reason to unfollow your brand. Something which is interesting for you not necessarily is interesting for your audience. Quality over quantity, etc. In fact, people say the same all the time. They give a clear instructions: please provide content that is interesting to me, in the language that I understand (I don’t care that you are an expert and you know all that jargon), find a balance a deliver it in proper time, but not too often as I have also much more content to consume, not only yours!

So if you want to give something and get something in return learn also about what your customers expect. Like Activision did with Call of Duty and Snapchat.


And here is the catch. From one side people complaining about too many promotional messages and too much content published too often, but they need more than one contact to buy. Over 60% of responders said that they need to see something on social media between 2 and 4 times to buy. Now it turns to ask a question – if you know how to do it?

Just a small example of two brands that produce the same thing. And let be honest, it’s far away from being easy to lead this kind of brands in social media:

How shouldn’t you do it? Like that:


And how you should do it? Like that:


One of the best advice is to give more than you get. If you share relevant content with people than you can try to sell. Unfortunately, there is no receipt and every case is different. You have to remember also that it’s not something you can easily plan – every 2-4 post and someone buys. No, it’s not. Sure, there are some brands who are more successful and they can do it, but it’s minority. The most successful brands that sell thanks to social media give a lot, tell compelling stories, share valuable info and what is most important – they know to whom they are talking. And this is the key. You know it’s like you try to catch in the conversation about hockey someone who is declared football fan. Theoretically one not excludes the other but the chance that you find common language are small. But if you talk about hockey to avowed hockey fan that’s different story. He will listen to your stories, watch the movies and there’s a chance that he will buy something from you.

Second is to use all the platforms where your customers are (and you know this, as a brand owner) and use it in native platform langue to deliver the best value for customers. For some of them, it will be funny engaging content, for some of them relevant information. Like it’s in the case of KLM – they even use the headline to inform how long you need to wait for a reply.


And these are examples how brands care about customers. But many brands making mistakes assuming that:

  • People care about brands (if you also thinks so, read this article)
  • Individuals who like your FB page, Instagram account, etc. will buy something from you
  • Your followers on social media want to engage

Let’s be honest, people doesn’t care about the brands, not everyone or rather less than more will buy something from you and not everyone wants to engage. People are people, not everyone wants to be engaged, some of them wants to be passive observers only, they have a right to be and you have to respect it as well. Some of your so-called fans want something from you only occasionally and you should be better prepare for that moment. For you this person is one of many, for that person is the only contact with you. It’s the same like with music stars. You are tired after signing 5000 copies of your latest record and here it is another fan. You want to tell him to fu** off because you’re tired and you really don’t want to sign this 5001 copy. But for the fan, it’s that moment he expects that you will put all attention to him. At that moment. It’s your choice if decide to win him forever or lose him forever. What’s even worst this unsatisfied will share his negative feelings with many of his friends in an emotional way and you can be sure that he will get big reach. It’s the same in social media, with that difference that mentioned music star can ruin only his career in the eyes of a fan. In the case of the brand, it can be also a frustrated member of your team. So you should also be very careful when  you are creating a team and you should never stop observing your team.

Everything looks different if you know your audience perfectly, you know what they want and expect and what social media platforms are native for them. And you obviously know the native language of given platform. Then, you can do campaign like this:


Marek Molicki

Marek Molicki, since 1998 in the online industry. Extremely motivated to reach goals. Ideas deliverer, problems solver, finder of new ways, the doer. Social media fan, public speaker, trainer. Constantly looking for new skills to learn. Impossible is nothing, it's only the question of time and being consequent.
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