Marketing, Social Media

Are You Guilty? The 8th Sin of Social Media Marketing Revealed.


Mashable recently posted an article entitled, “7 Sins of Social Media Marketing.” Evil acts that topped the list included one-size-fits-all strategies, talking to yourself, and ignoring customer complaints. Agree, agree, and agree. But, as I made my way to the last of the seven sins, I was surprised to not see what I consider as the most serious social media blunder to date.

So, today, I would like to take it upon myself to formally name “infrequency” as the 8th sin of social media marketing.

Brands that are considered to have an “infrequent” social media presence tend to fall into one of two camps:

Squatter – The squatter believes showing up is good enough. He sits behind the screen, taking up cyber space, waiting for fans to flock. The squatter will occasionally post or tweet, but his scant and unpredictable frequency falls on deaf ears. His behavior is the result of either ignorance, shyness, time deprivation, or all of the above.

Purger – The purger recognizes that just showing up isn’t enough. He understands the need to engage with his audience through regular posts and tweets. But, alas, time gets the better of the purger. Before he knows it, five days have flown by without a single post or tweet. He curses himself, then makes up for lost time by expelling a litany of content all at once. Newsfeeds suddenly become clogged, followers can’t keep up, and everyone’s left confused and nauseated. After the whirlwind settles, the purger sits back for another few days until he is next compelled to violently shove content down the throat of his highly irritated audience.

If you’re a squatter, your audience will forget you. If you’re a purger, your audience will hate you.

Neither a good outcome.

If you’re reading this post in horror after identifying yourself as one of the above, I suppose now would be the perfect time for me to divulge to you the secrets of dominating the social media frequency game. Luckily for both you and me, Buffer already developed the Guidebook. Read it, print it, and execute its teaching daily. Frame it on your wall and toast to its awesomeness with your favorite Chianti.

If you take nothing else away from the Buffer Guidebook, remember this:

To ‘know’ the BEST frequency for posting on social media is an impossibility. You can only predict and measure.

Predict. Measure. Repeat.

At this point, you may be thinking that in this day in age, only “rookie” brands could be classified as squatters or purgers. You’d be mistaken. Even supposed “well known” brands can fall into the trappings of infrequency. With established brands, however, we more commonly see what I call misfrequency – posting frequently enough, but the strategy is all wrong. They’re misfiring.

It’s likely we’ve all committed a social media sin at one time or another. So, if you’ve identified yourself today as a social media sinner, consider yourself saved. Because the most damning sin of all, perhaps, is never recognizing the wrong in the first place.

Is there another social media snafu that you believe deserved a spot on the “7 Sins” list? Comment below!

Cassie D’Arpino is a freelance Marketing Communications & Strategy Specialist, helping brands better connect to their audiences in meaningful, emotional and effective new ways. Her experience prior to working as a freelancer includes six years in strategic planning and senior account service at a shopper marketing agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Cassie received her MBA from Missouri State University, and currently resides in Springfield, Missouri with her husband, Steve, Pekingese puppy named Bella, and two Persian cats, Garfield and Cubby. She is a lover of Sriracha, a neuromarketing nerd, and obviously, a fan of animals with short snouts.

For more musings on marketing, follow Cassie on Twitter: @Cassie_DArpino



How to be human.

I read an article the other day about “how to be more human” with your social media strategy.

How to be more human?

Has the proliferation of “screen” consumption and contribution – texts, tweets, posts, and likes – finally choked our capacity for basic human connection?


In Sherry Turkle’s 2012 TED talk “Connected but alone”, the cultural analyst argues that cell phones and social media are shifting the way in which we relate to each other, and to ourselves – and not for the better. Over time, our attention has become fragmented, sporadic and fleeting; our ability to hold meaningful conversation has diminished.

Sherry’s insight into technology and social media’s affect on the human psyche had me pondering the implications for brands. My thoughts began to formulate by way of rhyme, because, what better way to channel your firing neurons than to the catchy beat of “There Was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe”?


There once was a brand,
that lived in a screen.

Thousands of fans, likes, and followers,
so popular, it would seem.

The brand thought it was connecting,
but should have known,

When you live in a screen,
you’re connected, but alone.


While technology is hailed as a great way to “connect”, studies continually find that it’s actually making us feel more lonely and isolated than ever. A poignant yet haunting observation by Jonathan Safran Foer from the New York Times perfectly summarized the disturbing affect of technology on our ability to be…well, human:

“Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat. Each step forward has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.”

Feeling connected to others is a basic human need. But if you believe you’re 100% connecting with consumers through social media and technology alone, you’re actually only about 50% there. There’s a huge emotional component that simply can’t be fulfilled through a screen.

And now, time for a disclaimer, since I can already envision a heated social media manager formulating his retort to this seemingly counterintuitive way of thought. I’m not discounting the various benefits of your brand engaging with consumers through social media, apps, text, online, and the like. In fact, I’m an advocate of their use and firmly believe in the value and real ROI of actively engaging through these channels. But if you believe your engagement strategy is fulfilled through this alone, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with current and potential customers on a more meaningful level. An emotional level. A human level.

So, for a moment, let’s put down the phone and step away from Twitter to identify three ways in which your brand can do just that.

Be where your customers are (outside the screen). Besides on their phone and online, believe it or not, people do have lives outside 5” screens. Know your audience well enough to understand where they spend their time, and then show up. The more you can physically get out into the community, the more word-of-mouth traction you can gain and the more brand awareness you will create.

Buy some stamps, get nostalgic, and use USPS. I don’t care who you are, or how old you may be, receiving a handwritten letter or pretty invitation in the mail is kinda’ fun. Not email, I mean, goes-in-that-box-that’s-outside-your-house MAIL. Do you have a customer that is discontent with your company? Why not put pen to paper and connect through a personal letter? Opening my mailbox to a handwritten note from the CEO would surely make me feel more appreciated than a generic email *ding* to my inbox. What about if you’re a company that’s about to throw a new product launch party? In addition to announcing on Facebook, why not send a nicely printed invitation to your top fans? There’s no better way to feel like a VIP than when you’re holding what feels like a golden ticket right in your hands. That same feeling just can’t be replicated through an e-vite. Sorry.

Create opportunity to gather. A Springfield, Missouri high-end clothing and accessory company, Staxx, recently organized an educational event focused on the various benefits of their new essential oil products. Hosting social and educational events that tie with your brand are smart ways to connect. I’d also love to see more brands solicit feedback from customers not only by way of email survey or Twitter chatter, but through in-person meetups. Customers want to know that you’re listening. They want to know their voice is heard. Accomplish all of this while building invaluable rapport by inviting a handful of customers to your office for camaraderie over coffee and donuts on a random Wednesday morning. It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a scientific tabulation of feedback results. Just listen. Be human.

Used in tandem with technological engagement, face-to-face interaction is still the best way to connect with consumers, addressing the emotional void that can’t be filled by status updates, wall posts, likes and tweets alone.

We shouldn’t have to work to be human. We are human. Peer out from the veils of technology and start acting it.