If you work in marketing and your path has crossed with social media, there’s a fair chance you will have come across the Condescending Corporate Brand Page.

The self-styled pastiche of social media marketing scours branded Facebook pages for the ill-timed, the awkward, the irrelevant and the faintly embarrassing, repurposing offending posts with a fresh layer of mockery and general ridicule.

The Condescending Corporate Brand Page should be a brand’s worst enemy. But it’s actually a brand’s best friend.

Because best friends tell you the truth. They tell you if you have food stuck in your teeth and yes, they tell you if your bum looks big.

And while it may be a bitter pill to swallow, the daily dose of criticism that the page provides quickly picks apart weak content strategies and poor content planning – a useful litmus test for brands to stand back and observe.

Five lessons you can learn from the Condescending Corporate Brand Page

1)      If you’re going to jump on a bandwagon, find a good reason. It can be tempting to tie in to seasonal hooks and topical news stories, but if they bear no relevance to your brand or your messaging you are veering off topic. Give your customers consistency and remember your objectives.

2)      Be wary of masquerading behind benevolence. Asking your audience to Like or Share if they want your brand to take altruistic actions or give charitable donations is an obviously transparent marketing ploy. Better to make the donation and give your customers a real reason to support your brand.

3)      Don’t condescend. Before you post a question, and especially before you ask for Likes, Comments and Shares, pose the question to yourself. If it sounds patronising or painfully obvious then there’s a fair chance your audience will think the same.

4)      Don’t take on a meme lightly. You can’t force the organic spread of viral content. A meme might catch memento, but it will swiftly fizzle out if a corporate stamps its brand all over it. Better to produce original content than attempt to ride the success of someone else’s.

5)      Images speak louder than words. Don’t scrimp on your visuals. Don’t rush your Photoshop edits and be wary of overly hashed stock photography. Your visual strategy should play as much a part of your planning as your copy.

Image courtesy of Owen W Brown, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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