Clickbait? What about real bait. Image by Ryk Neethling via flickr

Done Right, These Hated Social Media Tactics Can Benefit Your Business

Much like “synergy” in the business community, social media has come to have a set of bad words, tactics hated by people within and outside the industry. These techniques get a bad rap because of their widespread use and because they are often associated with negative examples rather than positive ones.

But there are positive examples of their use, of course. The reason these tactics become popular is because of the successes that spawn them. The following are four hated social media tactics that can positively contribute to your business if you use them correctly.


You can’t blame people for thinking of clickbait as a bad word, since most people don’t like to be baited. Everyone wants to be the fisherman, no one wants to be the fish. Coupled with the fact that clickbait has come to be characterized by Tweets and headlines that misrepresent the content of a post, and this has become one of the most despised concepts in social media.

That being said, in its essence clickbait is just an appealing headline. Even if you hate them, Buzzfeed and Upworthy have risen to power as masters of pulling people in with extremely appealing social messaging. All content producers try and promote their pieces with the most engaging message. It’s essentially creating a film trailer for your content. Like in a trailer, you don’t want to give away everything, but you also don’t want to make the movie out to be something it’s not.

The key to positive clickbait is simply not making a false promise. Don’t lie or exaggerate about what people will find once they click. Also, don’t ask a question in a Tweet or Facebook post that’s answered in the headline of the actual piece; then people have no incentive to continue reading and you’re liable to find yourself with a @HuffPoSpoilers style parody account. Find ways to capture attention and spark curiosity and then actually meet those expectations with great content. Then you can wear your clickbait proudly.

News-jacking/real-time marketing

Real-time marketing might just have been 2013’s biggest social media buzzword. Much of this can be attributed to Oreo’s fantastic Super Bowl Tweet which capitalized on a power outage at the event.

  This Tweet has since come to represent an ideal of real-time marketing, also often called news-jacking, that countless brands have tried to replicate. Unfortunately, therein lies the problem. So many brands have sought to recreate that Oreo Tweet that far more have failed than have succeeded. Now, whenever there’s a big event in sports or entertainment, countless businesses force out social media posts that are only slightly related to whatever is going on and lack the real spontaneous punch that made Oreo such a winner. See the Oscars:

  And the superbowl:

This trend has earned much disdain from social media users, even spawning the tumblr Real-Time Markerting Sucks. Bringing real-time marketing back into the positive realm is a matter of simply not forcing it. If you can think of a truly clever way of joining a major conversation, one that naturally ties into your message, then don’t hesitate. But don’t seek out connections when there aren’t any. Be spontaneous and forthcoming, and your followers will appreciate that their interests are colliding with your own.

And the most important rule for real-time marketing? Never, ever market during an emergency or natural disaster. It’s a really bad idea, and brands have paid the price.


Viral entered the popular lexicon a few years ago, but has now started to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. This is mostly because brands and businesses have begun using these words to describe their own content.

Virality is not something you can self-assign and it’s not something you should be including as a KPI. That’s not to say you don’t want your content to go viral, but virality is entirely at the beck and call of social media users. In this new era of media, they decide what they skip, what they watch and what they share.

If your boss tells you they want something to go viral, just work on creating something that’s shareable. Create something that tells a story and connects on an emotional level with people. If you put in the work to build something worthwhile, your followers will do the rest.


Many among us have come to hate this term. The selfie. That vanity shot that has flooded our Instagram and Facebook feeds, right?

Well selfies became popular for a reason: they perform well. Instagram photos with faces earn 38% more likes. People tend to like and share lifestyle content, and more and more marketers are turning towards this type of content.

So why do people hate selfies? Often the problem is one of frequency. If every photo you post, or your business posts, is one of people smiling at the camera, people are going to get bored. Space out your selfies, using them sporadically to show company culture. And when you do take a selfie, add context. A picture of your face for no other sake isn’t going to get the same reaction as a selfie at the Grand Canyon or a selfie with Santa at the Christmas party. Also, try and avoid the selfies with your Lamborghini at your mansion, unless you want to end up looking like the Rich Kids of Instagram. You’re not trying to show off, just share a bit of your experience with the world.