Want to Lose Followers? Try Posting Inspirational Quotes
“Quotes are inspiration for the uninspired,” a wise man once said.
Irony aside, much evidence points to a grim forecast for the future of the inspirational quote as a social marketing tactic. You see these quotes on Twitter, on Facebook, and even on Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest as “inspirational photos,” with stylized fonts layered over ostensibly artistic photos. However, let’s look at some of the reasons why the inspirational quote has fallen off the list of best practices for social media:
1. Public perception towards inspirational quotes have shifted to the negative. They’re cliché, they’re cheesy, they’re passé. From the perspective of the 18-to-25 generation, they’re posted by only preteens who don’t yet know the ropes of social media and the older generation trying far too hard to be “cool.” This is content that these preteens will look back on with embarrassment when they get older, along with the emotional song lyrics and mirror selfies, and the middle aged person’s children will be embarrassed to have their parents post. The 18-to-25 generation is one that a brand should be looking to convert to lifelong customers, not estrange.
2. Type this into Google while in incognito mode: “Inspirational quotes are.” What comes up? Most users aren’t searching for “inspirational quotes are amazing.” They’re searching for “inspirational quotes are annoying.” The top results that are positive are ones that specifically require that the quote meet a certain standard – funny, short.
3. Many parody accounts poke fun at these so-called inspirational photos. For instance, there is an account on Pinterest solely dedicated to pinning “stupid inspirational quotes written by teenagers.” A personal favorite is a mildly obtuse Tumblr account that takes pseudo-artsy photos with quotes in delicate font and scribbles an altered meaning on it with crude red lines (example below). This goes to show that this type of media simply doesn’t carry the esteem it used to. It’s time to move on.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine the best practices for social media strategy for your brand. Despite the overall decrease in affection for these so-called inspirational quotes, if this is what your particular audience demands, the needs of your audience overrule the needs of the general public. However, this is not the majority of brands. For the great majority of you, cut down on the number of inspirational quotes you post. An entire generation will thank you.
Anqi Cong is a student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Business Administration with a minor in Computer Science. She is a content marketer at Insightpool, a company that allows brands to deliver "sincerity at scale" using its social engagement automation software. Anqi enjoys things typical to people on this site such as social media, marketing, writing, and dry humor.
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