Marketing best practices are lying to you.
Not all of them, mind you. But many. Specifically when it comes to metrics and content marketing.
I’ve got some serious stats to show you why we’re wary of marketing best practices here at B Squared Media.
Best Practices As A General Rule
As a general rule, marketing best practices are widely revered as the most effective or most accepted way of doing things.
I’m here to warn you many times it’s the latter. And just because something is the most accepted way of doing things, that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do things.
Last year, we shared our secret sauce for content marketing metrics called “see-saw” reports.
What we found in conducting these weekly reports is that many widely known and shared best practices were NOT good best practice for us and/or our clients.
An article by Fast Company denouncing best practices states it best,
“The other part of the problem is that best practices are a misnomer. Often what we call best practices were at one point good or smart business moves, but we seldom do the work to determine how long they stay the “best” or whether they’re universally applicable.”
And that, folks, is the biggest issue with marketing best practices. The marketing world changes too rapidly for best practices to stay the best for very long.Are marketing best practices only 'best' because they're self-perpetuating? Probably!Click To Tweet
Marketing Best Practice: Visual Content, FTW!
We say: Not for everyone! (or on every platform)
These visual marketing best practices make so much sense! I myself am a visual person.
But when we put these best practices to the test with our own clients, we found that
- Videos do not necessarily receive more engagement than link posts
- Text-only posts are often top performers
- Link posts (on Facebook) can often produce more engagement than photo posts
For example, when we dug into our Sprout Social Sent Messages Report we found that images did not perform best for not one, but two of our clients.
Example: Client A (Twitter)
As we mentioned earlier, countless marketing sites will tell you that you MUST include images with your tweets to reach more people or garner more engagement.
However, we found
- While reach was about the same for tweets with or without images (~2.8k), tweets with images received more clicks
- Yes, tweets with images did reach a good amount of people, but for our April reports, this client saw few clicks on tweets with images (photos, memes or gifs)
While the marketing best practice of including images with ALL tweets make sense, it isn’t always the best course of action.
Make sure you perform your own seesaw (or similar) reporting to see what works best for your accounts.
Example: Client B (Facebook)
“Link-only posts perform terribly on Facebook,” is an often told tale. And yet again, it’s worth checking this marketing best practice out for yourself to see if it rings true for you.
With Client B, we found
- Both video and image posts in our May reports showed NO reactions, comments or engagements
- Text-only posts received some engagement (4%)
- Link-only posts received the MOST reactions, comments, and engagements
Does this mean link-only posts are now a marketing best practice for Facebook? No!
It means every client or account should figure out their own best practices AND know that those can change often.Bottom line: Best practices aren't always!Click To Tweet
Marketing Best Practices Are The Worst!
Think of marketing best practices like this: you’re trying to make Cinderella’s glass slipper fit on YOUR foot — even though it’s specifically made to fit her.
Trying to take another company’s best practices and stuff it into your own process, culture, tone, voice, and messaging is amateur.
Many marketers and best practice round-ups are simply selling a quick fix that doesn’t demand you to engage in the marketing struggle, hard work, or learn to think for yourself.
If you don’t want to do those things, fine. Outsource your marketing.
But don’t take marketing best practices, continuously apply them to your unique situation, and wonder why you’re not seeing stellar results.
How do you feel about marketing best practices? Do you use them? Take them with a grain of salt? Or figure out your own best practices? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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