How to avoid one of the biggest mistakes in social media marketing

December 1st, 2021 | Shazia Khan, Social Media Strategist, Globe Content Studio

Social media is no longer a fresh-faced rookie on the marketing scene – a fun, easy and effective way to get your name out there – it’s now a primary business engine. We rely on it to generate leads, push sales, provide customer service and analyze complex data.

Globe Content Studio, as a division of a major news outlet that reaches 20 million Canadians a month, has worked with a broad array of advertisers across every industry. We’ve learned how they think about, execute and extract value from social platforms, which means we’ve seen a lot of what works …and what doesn’t.

Many brands both large or small, in fintech or flower arranging, online or IRL, tend to make the same social media missteps. Which isn’t surprising, especially in 2021. But here’s the biggest one – and how you can avoid it.

Don’t forget who you are

“Know thyself.” It’s an ancient maxim we’ve all heard countless times. What does it mean? In a nutshell, it’s knowing who you are, and who you are not.

In our world, this translates to knowing what your business goal is, and what it isn’t. How can social media serve those goals, and how might it distract you from them? The answers to those questions are the blueprint on which every social strategy needs to be based.

We see companies trying to be everywhere, do everything, be everything to everyone. It’s a great space to experiment, but not at the cost of your brand or bottom line. Before every post, we always ask: “Why are we posting this?” If it’s not already a habit, make it one.

Beware the bandwagon effect

Trending memes are one of the easiest ways for brands to get distracted and miss the mark. Case in point: Drake’s latest viral hit, when he announced a new album this summer.

When he dropped this cover art on his social feeds, it got a reaction (to put it mildly), and started to inspire some “comedic” copies.

This isn’t new in Drake’s world, but here’s the twist: it was mostly brands and political figures – not fans, or everyday users – that led the “make this go viral” charge. Many of them failed to score positive reactions from followers, evidenced by the comments below their posts and critical thinkpieces published in the aftermath.

However, there was at least one instance where it did benefit a brand: Trojan. The Canadian account posted its own “album cover drop” the day after Drake, and it worked. Why?

Three reasons: It perfectly aligned with the existing content calendar (lots of vivid colours, pop culture, memes – and yes, even more Drake posts – already fill its feed); it spoke the same cheeky, saucy tone the brand had already cultivated for years; and maybe most importantly, it was a clever, subtle way to promote the efficacy of the product.

The takeaway

Don’t succumb to peer pressure, but don’t ignore the zeitgeist either. Instead of investing time and resources into posting what everyone else is posting at that moment – risking your reputation in the process – focus on planning content that fits your voice, your plan and who you hope to reach.

If a trend comes along that presents a real opportunity for your brand? Hop on the bandwagon.



Globe Content Studio is the content marketing division of The Globe and Mail. We elevate brands and drive business results through premium journalistic storytelling. Email us at , or get in touch on social.