Incentive Theory of Motivation is based around the idea that people participate in activities if they are promised external prizes for participation. Social media is a textbook study in Incentive Theory of Motivation. Think about notifications from your favorite social media platform, be it LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat or Instagram. Who isn’t excited to find out who has viewed your profile, what comments have been written on your posts and who wants to join your network?
One of the reasons that social media is such a good form of advertising is because of its rewarding nature. Several countries including China and South Korea even have detox centers for people who are addicted to social media! I love to use social media to find out what cars are being developed (or not developed, hint hint Ford Bronco reboot), when my TV shows are coming back (RHONY, yes, I can admit it) and even sometimes interact with the cast through various social platforms. Interaction is a powerful tool and with powerful tools come great responsibility.
When Pretty Knotty upped our social media game, I decided to throw my hat in the ring to help. I already used facebook to keep up with friends and family, so I decided to join Instagram for the purpose of promoting Pretty Knotty. Therein lies the issue, our President, Shelly, has long hair and our intern, Sarah, has long hair, and both are athletic. I have short hair and a short-haired guy is not Pretty Knotty’s demographic.
By tagging Pretty Knotty and other fitness influencers in my instagram posts, I was not helping to advertise the brand. In effect, I was confusing instagram users. Why would a hair tie company whose primary audience is athletic women, be promoted by a short-haired guy? I would be confused if Shelly and Sarah promoted mustache wax, as neither of them (nor myself) have mustaches, just as I do not have long hair.
To make matters worse, I forgot my purpose and began following and commenting on off-brand topics. Soon enough, I was gently informed of my faux-pas, and I stopped doing Instagram. (Tribute to the candor of my business partner who kindly informed me.) I would hope to be just as pleasant about asking people to stop as she was. Not that I’m emulating Eric Cartman and shouting, “(Beep) you guys, I’m going home!”, I just planned on using Instagram for one thing, and as the one thing was not working out, I stopped using it.
So, what’s the takeaway? I’m not an expert in social media or marketing. If I wanted to help in those areas, I should have checked with the experts on my team to make sure I was doing it correctly. In addition, if I wanted to use a platform such as social media, I better have all my ducks in a row. My social media posts and comments should be on brand with the…brand that I am promoting. If my brand and my company’s brand are not in harmony, the discord is disadvantageous for getting the word out.
Nowadays, I leave social media advertising to the experts, share posts and spread the word about Pretty Knotty, within my role as a business partner. Social media advertising is a finely-tuned machine; learn how to use it well and it works beautifully, but if you jump in blind, as I did, you can potentially cause more harm than good.