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Every brand wants to extend their reach online – and some may even latch onto the popular trend of clickbait headlines to attract attention. The problem is, attention alone isn’t enough.

Look at me, look at me!

Brand awareness is super important, of course. It’s impossible to make a sale or build a loyal customer base if no one knows who you are.

On social media the goal is “reach” – or as AdWeek explains, the number of people who see your content. This goes along with “impressions” – or the number of times your content is displayed; and “engagement” – which is all about interactions, likes, comments, shares, etc.

For blogs and other online publishers, clickbait offers a potential advantage. Social users can’t stop themselves from sharing sensationalistic headlines that are too good (or bad) to be believed – so reach is high.

But most online publications have nothing to sell but their stories. If you click the link, and view or click on – even accidentally – their ads, they’ve gotten what they need from you: traffic.

Brands with actual products and services to sell, however, have different needs. And while clickbait is great for grabbing attention, it’s not great for converting. And there are a few reasons for that.

Awareness doesn’t equal value

For starters, clickbait rarely delivers any value. It’s almost never as clever or worthwhile as its headline suggests, which is annoying. Not a great tactic for endearing yourself to consumers.

Beyond that, social marketing demands a personalized touch – and anything that smacks too blatantly of advertising is often ignored. And think about it… Could there be anything more “salesy” than an over-exaggerated headline proclaiming your brand or product to be the most amazing thing ever? You’re just asking for people to respond by telling you how wrong you are.

If what you’re sharing isn’t about your brand or products, it’s even worse, because it has nothing to do with your audience. It’s simply an attention grabber – which makes you look 1) desperate, or 2) like it’s all about your brand. Both are huge turn-offs for your audience. So why would they explore your brand further?

Engagement should be the goal

For brands to succeed, they need engagement based on real, human connection to consumers. Sure, a site like BuzzFeed might generate a lot of traffic, but look at the comments section of most clickbait posts and you’ll see a lot of derision and negativity. There’s no trust being built there, and no connection – and you need both for consumers to stick with you.

Screencap from the BuzzFeed Facebook page

Instead of using clickbait to wave your arms frantically online, hoping consumers will notice you, apply your social media listening tools to notice them. What do they care about? You can learn by paying attention to all they talk about on social channels – not just how they talk about your brand.

Now let’s say your social sentiment analysis turns up an audience of people who love to make fun of clickbait? Then you can certainly bring it into the conversation, and offer up messaging that pokes fun in a way that delights your audience and makes them fall in love with you.

The point is, it takes that level of knowledge and caring

about your audience to inspire them to take action – whether that be following you, sharing your posts, or making a purchase.

Making wild claims about your brand – or anything else – just distracts from the one thing they want to know about: the real you. The best way to show them what your brand is all about is by taking an interest in them first, and building an authentic relationship. When you have that, you won’t need marketing tricks like clickbait to win them over.

Reach out to learn more about how sentiment analysis tools can bring your brand results!

Image from Forsaken Fotos

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