3 Critical Steps to Avoiding Tone-Deaf Marketing

Coming across as tone-deaf is the worst thing you can do with your marketing. Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you avoid making that mistake.

One of the more unfortunate marketing trends centered around the pandemic is how often we’ve seen businesses and brands act in ways that are outright tone-deaf. Now more than ever, that’s an extremely bad thing. People are on edge.

We’re nearly a year into a global pandemic, a time marked by economic recession and social unrest. Some people aren’t even certain where their next paycheck is coming from, and others are constantly worried about their friends and loved ones. What that means is that their patience for brands that behave badly is at an all-time low.

You cannot afford for yours to be among those. 

Listen to Your Audience

The most important piece of advice we can give you is to look, listen, and learn. Ignoring your audience is one of the most critical mistakes you can make as a business. If you don’t make your audience feel heard, they’ll jump to another brand without hesitation.

Understand their sentiments, their needs, and their values, and focus your communication on aligning with those.

You might also consider looking at what other businesses and brands are doing. Learn from their missteps and mistakes. Pay attention to what they’re doing that works, and what they’re doing that you should avoid.

Don’t Schedule and Forget Social Posts

Scheduling your posts is an important part of any successful social marketing strategy. However, one mistake we frequently see brands making involves a ‘fire and forget’ approach. They’ll schedule content months in advance, then let it fly into the wild without a thought to how the social climate has changed in the meantime. 

We saw this in the early stages of COVID-19, with many tourism-related companies promoting holiday packages right as lockdowns started to come into effect. We saw influencer-style promotions of luxury resorts and first-class flights, celebrities enjoying travel and privilege while everyone else struggled, and brands effectively acting as if it’s simply business as usual. 

We’d advise taking a bit of time each day to double-check your scheduled content in order to ensure you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes. 

Be Comical With Caution

Everyone loves entertainment, and everyone could use a good laugh right now. Just keep in mind, however, that comedy is subjective, and in some cases, can be incredibly risky. And if you make a joke that fails to land, you might be looking at more than a bit of cringe. 

As a general rule, you should avoid making too many jokes about current events. Instead, focus on creating a human voice over boring, corporate jargon. Reference the news with a light touch, showing that you understand what’s going on without being too pithy, mocking, or sarcastic.

Above All, Be Accountable

Even if your intentions are completely innocent, it’s all too easy to come off as uninformed, ignorant, or uncaring. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to predict exactly how a piece of content will be received by your readers. As such, if you do end up making a mistake and offending your audience, the best thing you can do is apologize. 

Own up to what you’ve done wrong, and resolve to do better in the future.

Today, it is more important than ever that your brand messaging is both direct and sincere. Give careful thought to the content you’re putting out into the wild, and avoid reacting too hastily or spontaneously to new developments. You currently have a unique opportunity to act as a positive influence during one of the most difficult times any of us have ever experienced.

Be careful not to squander it. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for SEOHost.net, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.