Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Stop Putting Social Media Buttons on Everything

Published in Blog, Fairly Trill. Tags: .

Social Media Icon Advertising

Until inanimate objects become connected to some evolved inter-dimensional future-net, slathering social media buttons all over non web-based advertisements will remain a silly and useless strategy.

Until that day comes, the world will be divided into two groups of people: Those who believe that branding on magazine advertisements, peanut butter jars and barbecue sauce labels are all better off for the appearance of social connectivity, and those who tap Facebook ads on bus stop advertisements, only to be trapped in a stream of infinite buffering, unable to connect to the web. When it comes to marketing and social media, we all need to start asking “why” more.

Like, until people can press Pinterest buttons printed on cereal boxes, only to then be directed to the brand’s “Good Eats” board, then why do these sort of offline ad placements exist? So that brands of ill-informed strategy can show some shred of hip-with-it-ness, or to bank on the massive what-if of having a customer pay attention enough to actually notice an advertisement, only to then search that brand’s name, track down a social media page, and maybe somehow then “engage” online in some sort of meaningful way? Seems like a bit of a stretch.

Let’s say adding a Facebook button to the bottom of a heart-friendly butter substitute container worked, and a health-conscious customer ended up “liking” that brand’s page. How many steps are there between customers “connecting” with one of that company’s many social media accounts, and that company actually making a sale? Or are sales even possible? “Why” is social media even necessary then?

Boosting Twitter followers and Facebook likes for the sake of having more Twitter followers and Facebook likes isn’t always useless, because they can actually embellish authority. Does having more followers make someone a better Presidential candidate? Maybe not, but it might be a significant indicator of popularity relative to a brand’s competitors or contemporaries; which is something virtual passers-by might pay attention to (a well-populated party is always more attractive than an empty room). But if the perception of authority is all that’s important, why clog up paid advertisements with useless third-party buttons when tossing a few handfuls of quarters at vendors on Fiverr will “enhance” your fanbase metrics just the same.

If a company’s bottom line has anything to do with increasing income though, more social connections are largely meaningless unless those followers can be converted into customers. This brings us back to “why?” If the goal of using social media is to boost perception of relevance, then including Instagram buttons on your company car’s vehicle-wrap might make sense. All that ultimately says, however, is that your company is aware Instagram exists, but has little to no idea how to actually use it.

So when creating that next above-the-urinal print ad spouting the advantages of a newly constructed downtown parking garage, maybe it’s worth asking “why” you’re adding instructions for pissers-by to “follow you” on Facebook. Then the next step might be asking “why” you’re investing time in maintaining a Facebook page for a parking garage, in the first place.