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There are a lot of agencies working for brands trying desperately to “capture” the social media user. Many are stuck in the mentality that they need to extract leads from their social media efforts.

We’re no longer leads. We’re not rats running through your sales funnel. Here’s some breaking news. We’re in control!

This video should be mandatory viewing for brand marketers and their agencies:

Social media has moved beyond simple conversation. Conversation and engagement as the Holy Grail of social are like so 2012.

Unfortunately too many brands and agencies haven’t even mastered those basics and have jumped into the fray of activation still seeking metrics that mattered two years ago. Now what matters most is activating an audience. Compelling your community to respond requires you to know what your community actually wants.

Hint, if you haven’t at minimum learned how to converse and engage with your audience, don’t bother trying to activate them.

I can always tell when a brand or agency doesn’t understand the basic tenets of social media.

They go from having less than 50% engagement rates right to wanting to run a contest and promotion because everyone tells them how cool they are.

Problem is they haven’t learned to walk before they run and they screw it all up. Take a close look at the next landing page or shudder to think, Facebook tab, that you see a contest residing on. There’s something that jumps off of the page that will be a great “fail” indicator.

Nothing screams neophyte more than the word NEXT.


Here’s what I mean. You’ve seen social media contests and promotions that work and you’ve seen those that people just ignore.

The difference between the two is striking. On one hand you have a promo that says retweet this for a chance to win 1.5 million dollars, and then you see another that says fill out these 10 form fields then hit next to enter to win a gift card.

Which promotion are you going to enter? Of course, you’re going to enter the promotion that doesn’t treat you as a lead! You’re going to enter the promotion that’s not treating you as a potential customer. You’re going to participate in the promotion that is based on the knowledge that today’s social savvy audiences seek scrolling simplicity.

You know who puts next on contest forms? Brands and agencies who don’t understand what today’s social audiences want.

Here’s another hint as to who they are. They still call people on social media potential consumers. Maybe consumers fill out long ass forms and hit the dreaded next button. But social audiences just want to be entertained and delighted.

The social media neophyte agency types haven’t learned that. Perhaps they never will. Which might be a good thing as they create opportunity. One of the problems that may be the underlying cause as to why they act this way is because many of them aren’t even immersed users of social media themselves so they’re guessing and experimenting with their client’s money.

The standard for promotional simplicity has been set. If you truly want to engage today’s audiences

a. don’t treat them as consumers

b. forget trying to capture data

c. make it easy and fun and give people what THEY want. Which may not even be your product or service.

I recently returned from a vacation to Hollywood. I won that vacation from Thank you Evite!

I won for “entering” a promotion on the night of the Oscars. How did I “enter” you ask? I merely retweeted a hashtag. That’s it. No long form. No lead capture. And certainly no next button anywhere. And as far as I know, Evite doesn’t sell vacations.

But what do you know. I’m talking about them right now. I’ve told everybody what they did for me. I tweeted about it. I took pictures, I made a video, I told my family and friends, posted on Facebook,  and I’ve written articles about my experience.

And guess who now has my invitation business. Yup…

All because they didn’t treat me as a consumer. They found a way to engage and activate me on a fun night, and I’ve become a brand ambassador. Value that!

So before you expose your agency as not having a clue and putting that form on a landing page with a big neon sign of social incompetence also known as the next button…think again.

Barry Cunningham

Author Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Check out our case studies. They will give you an idea how we help brands & businesses amplify their conversion and lead gen campaigns by deploying digital advertising campaigns at scale. And I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.

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