Why Hashtags SUCK & 4 Other Social Media Scandals

Everybody loves a good scandal, so I put my
sassy pants on for this one, come along with me as I share five social media practices
that I believe are absolutely sabotaging your social engagement and street cred. Hey guys, it’s Alex, and this week, I’m going to
share my honest thoughts on some outdated social media practices that many people are
still hanging onto despite the massive changes in the way audiences are engaging with brands
online today. Now the first thing I’m gonna say is this,
no one you care about, cares about the size of your following. Yes, I said it. Think about
it, who do you care about? Your family and your friends obviously, they don’t care if
you’re a social media star, and if they do, you might wanna consider getting some new
friends. But I am talking about your audience, your
customers, your devoted fans and your students. You care about them, right? Hint, you better.
But do you think it really matters an ounce to them whether you have a hundred or a hundred
thousand fans if you’re adding amazing value and support? I mean, sure they might care in like a “Way
to go,” supportive kind of way, but trust me, their likelihood to love you or leave
you has nothing to do with how many people smash that follow button. Follower count is no longer a measure of how
successful your social media channel is because it is common knowledge that you can actually
buy followers. Shady! Instead, social credibility is all about how you engage and interact with
your audience. The truth of the matter is, the only people
who care about the size of your following are other businesses who are actually trying
to get front of it. Do you know how many emails I get every single week from brands and companies
trying to offer me a paycheck for a video review? And I say no every single time. Why? Well because I care about you and I would
never do a paid review, unless I really really really believe that it can help you or I’ve
personally used it and have gotten results. Now I’m not saying that influencer marketing
is dead, it’s a huge and lucrative business, but it is not sustainable if it’s your only
intent or strategy, which makes it even more important for you to follow the steps that
I’m sharing in today’s video. Those of you who know me know I’m all about
creating copy that both connects and converts, and today I’m sharing how this applies in
the social sphere. So if you’re not already part of my global posse, join us by clicking
the subscribe button below, I release a new video every single week on copywriting, marketing
and branding techniques that are working today. In the meantime, here are five social media
scandals that are ruining your reputation with the people who actually give a s***. Scandal number one… Ah yes, social media in the 2020s, welcome
to the world of fake followers. Did you know that fake followers cost brands over 1.3 billion
dollars last year? Which is why there are tons of tools out there that will actually
audit an Instagram account’s engagement, growth and credibility by telling you the percentage
of real followers they have, and plenty of these tools will allow you to run a free report
before you need to pay. So I actually did mine real quick, and you
can see the growth of my average likes, followers and my engagement rate. You can also see my
credibility score, which is around 94 percent, so yes, I do have a few fake followers, it’s
unavoidable, but for the most part, my account is fairly squeaky clean. Now I ran another account through that tool
and saw this. Yeah, no bueno. The truth is there are a lot of ways to get more followers
guys, some shadier than others, but if you’re so hung up on these tactics that you neglect
to actually show up and engage with your audience with a genuine personality, that’s like basically
inviting a whole group of new friends over to your house for dinner and then staying
locked in the bedroom the entire time. Eventually they’re gonna wonder what the hell
is going on and leave. The goal of growing your audience is to create a community and
the best, in fact the only way to do this is to actually engage and connect with your
followers. They are real people too. Now more than ever before, people are seeking
authentic experiences and holding grams accountable for their content. So you shouldn’t just be
all about selling your product or service or somebody else’s product or service for
that matter, you should also inspire your followers, evoke their curiosity, start meaningful
conversations and get them to have more fun. So mixed up with content that’s relevant to
your brand and your audience, such as an awesome quote or an interesting fact, a funny meme
or free training. In fact, there are three ways that you can add value online. The first is entertainment value, the second
is educational value, and the third is inspirational value. So before you post, ask yourself “What
kind of value am I providing, here?” and if you can’t answer that question, you might
want to rethink it. When you focus on adding value first, you make your brand relatable
and memorable and that emotional connection is gonna influence a buying decision more
than anything else. And if you want to incentivize engagement
through a contest that’s cool, but consider whether your contest mechanics will actually
create a valuable experience for your followers that will make them wanna check back in with
you. We have all done it, you’re scrolling through
Instagram, you see some contest online for a brand you loosely follow, and it tells you
to tag five friends, and you’ll get entered to win something. So what do you do, you tag
your five besties, you know the ones who have all implicitly agreed to be each other’s Instagram
contest tagging crew. And you know what they’ll do anyway, they’ll
see it and they’ll likely ignore it. Now I’m not saying this isn’t a great strategy to
get impressions, but how many of you actually end up following those brands unless they
immediately get your attention with something that you really care about? Now there is a better way to do it. So take
Dunkin’ Donuts for example. They used a Halloween contest to get participants to create a donut
inspired DIY costume that they actually had to take a photo of and post online to enter. Now yeah, it sounds like it would be a lot
of work, but the experience itself really incentivized their followers to create a fun
and creative post that they would have totally ended up posting anyway, and the results were
pretty impressive, look at all that donut-inspired Halloween art. How committed do you think those people are
to the Dunkin Donuts brand? Yeah, you get the idea. All right, so moving on to escandalo
number two… Yeah, you were waiting for this one, weren’t you? Now relax. I know, I know, Instagram hashtags
can be super helpful especially if you’re just starting out and wanna grow a following.
I mean, how else are you gonna get everybody’s attention, right? Here’s the problem though.
If you do grow a following using hashtags, most of those people are just gonna pop in
and then pop back out again, without ever really engaging with you because there was
nothing memorable or meaningful about how they discovered you. Not to mention if you are stuffing your captions
with as many hashtags as humanly possible, you might actually turning off the people
who are genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say. Yeah, nobody likes clicking
Read More, only to have that caption expand into, meh copy and then exactly 30 hashtags
underneath. Now guys, I have been guilty of this too,
so if you have done this in the past, don’t feel bad, it used to work a lot better than
it does now. And because everyone’s always looking for a shortcut to do everything, many
people use hashtag generators that just spit out a collection of random ass hashtags that
literally have nothing to do with the subject matter. Yes, we have all seen the left field hashtag
pop up under a photo, so no wonder real people hardly ever search for content using hashtags.
It’s totally a hot mess. And therein lies the biggest reason why hashtags suck. They
are bot magnets. In fact, they probably attract more bots than genuine followers. Bots go, “Great, I’m gonna go follow and engage with every single post with the hashtag… Then you get all those
fake comments like “I love your content,” and “Great photo,” when it isn’t even a photo,
and you’re like, “What?” Yeah, those are bots. Then most of the time they just unfollow you
anyway if you don’t follow back. Now you might be thinking, “Yeah, whatever, I actually am growing a following using hashtags, so I have a really hard time seeing why hashtags
suck.” Well in case you weren’t aware the Instagram algorithm now only shows your content
to a small percentage of your followers’ feeds, to gauge engagement before showing it to more.
So if that initial engagement rate is low, that content is dead and it is not being shared
to any more of your followers. So if your following is full of bots who actually
don’t engage with your posts, you are desperately hurting your chances of your content being
seen by real people. One of the best ways to use hashtags is to
use hyper-targeted or hyper-personalized hashtags that make it easy for people to share and
find your content. So use one or two hashtags that are like, a million percent related to
what you’re talking about and stay away from hashtags that everyone is using because it’ll
just get lost in the mess anyway. Or you can create your very own hashtag, for
example my buddy Mark Groves, the human connection specialist behind @createthelove grew his
audience to now over 570,000 followers without relying much on hashtags at all. Yet, his
engagement levels are through the roof because he focuses on valuable content that resonates
so well with his audience that they absolutely love sharing it and recommending his stuff.
And all he uses is one branded #CreateTheLove hashtag in every single post, and that is
it. All right guys, next up, scandal number three… If you expect your followers to leave comments and start interacting with you, you best make sure you do not leave them hanging. I have seen so many brands make this mistake. They put all this work into creating a compelling and visually appealing
post, and a great caption, but then they pretty much ghost their community. You guys gotta take the “me” out of social media.
Comments are not a one way street, it is a two-way communication channel, so unless you’re
Beyonce and you don’t need to follow anybody, I mean if you’re Beyonce, you shouldn’t even
be watching this, unless, unless you are… Hey Beyonce. But if you are not Beyonce, you
need to actually get in there and facilitate conversation. You don’t just wanna make your users feel like they can relate to your content, but
that they actually belong in the community, and the best way to do this, is to speak to
your followers like they’re right there in front of you. Respond to comments on your
post, tap that heart icon and be a real human. That’s it. Make them feel heard and make them
feel included and ultimately you will make them feel valued. Now I try to respond to every single comment
I get on my YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Try it out guys and
put me to the test, comment below and let me know you’re here. To me it feels so great
when I get to interact with you and acknowledge the time that you’ve taken to give me feedback
or show me some support. And it’s also the best way to find out what your audience finds
helpful and valuable which is fuel for your business. I also take the time to personally welcome
every single new follower I get on my Copy Posse Instagram account, by tagging them in
my comments, and yes it does take time, but to me it is more than worth it to let my followers
know that their presence is known and that I value and support them. Okay, next up, scandal number four… Guys, you have heard me say it before, the future is video. There
has been an explosion of growth in video traffic in the past few years, whether it’s a series
of Instagram stories, IGTV, Facebook Live, Snapchat or YouTube, it is no secret that
branded video content has become a staple in our everyday lives, and that’s not even
taking into account Netflix and Hulu and Prime and Crave. Views of branded video content have increased
99% on YouTube and a whopping 258% on Facebook between 2016 and 2017. Even on
Twitter, a video tweet is six times more likely to be retweeted, compared to a photo tweet.
Guys, the numbers are huge and undeniable, and by 2021, it is estimated that 82%
of all web traffic will come through video, and 13% of that will be live video. Just take a look at the amount of engagement
and shares on the Tasty recipe videos. They’re short, they’re sweet, they’re easy to understand
and you cannot take your eyes off of them. And then of course, yes, you knew I was going to
say it, there is TikTok, the social media video sharing platform that has become a global
phenomenon for interaction and engagement. It is addictive. So if you’re looking to grow your brand well
into the 2020s, you need to be using video period. And lastly, scandal number five… If you think you can just curate a perfectly posed, pretty
feed and call it a day, think again. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t put some time and
effort into coming up with a cohesive brand look and feel, but if that is all you care
about you are dead in the water. I mean look at the meme accounts, like @LADBible and @TheFatJewish that do so well. They provide unlimited value in the form of entertainment
and their galleries are messy as hell. You know what I mean. But the point is that a
great social media account isn’t just about the visual appeal, it’s also about how you
engage and incentivize your audience. Remember, you need to provide entertainment
value, educational value or inspirational value. While a pretty aesthetic may be inspirational
for a hot second, it will lose attention fast when it’s no longer a novelty. The great news
is, you have so many tools at your disposal to help make this a reality and keep your
followers’ interest. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are
constantly updating and rolling out new features and tools to help you with your engagement
and marketing, like polls and filters and Q&A and gifs and countdowns and quizzes
and the list goes on and on. Guys, this is not something they do just for the sake of
it, Facebook spends millions of dollars on market research every single year and creates
these tools because they know the users will use them. Facebook’s entire M.O. is to create a better
user experience, so take the guesswork out of your marketing and use the features that
are available. It’s also no surprise that most of these features are being rolled out
to the video side of the apps, like Instagram’s stories, and smart brands get it. Recently, Elle Magazine used Instagram story
polls to engage their readers about an article that they wrote on Netflix’s rom-com, “To
All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” In a series of polls they engaged their readers and provided
cues for their followers to swipe up and read the entire article, it was absolutely genius,
so I recommend you check out how brands are using Instagram stories and related features
to engage their audiences. And there you have it guys, my two cents on
what you need to stop doing if you want to engage your audience and stay relevant on
social media. So give me a thumbs up if you found this video helpful, and if you wanna
see what else is in store for the future of digital marketing, check out my video on the
Top 4 Social Media and Digital Marketing Trends. You can watch that next right here. And thank
you so much for watching and subscribing. Until next week, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!

  1. Yup, Alex, you've done it again. I feel totally schooled and I'm loving it. Thanks for providing real value to this humble Copywriter.

  2. Well done! Duly noted. One hashtag. #PowerStrat. Note how I Oh so cleverly worked my favorite guitar into a hashtag with my last name Can I get an Alex “genius?? “ 👍✅🙏🏻

  3. I have been waiting for this one. Love it and love the reiteration that a follower number is just a number. ALSO " Use the features that are avaibale" YES!

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