“Spray and Pray” Is Not a Social Media Strategy

January 22, 2015 | Justin Gray | 14 Comments |

Yesterday I listened to a webinar entitled The Art of Social Media presented by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. They were presenting tips from their new book of the same title. Ironically, the trending tweets during the webinar momentarily distracted the social media guru. However, I agree with the trending tweets; there were certainly some fun quotable moments like, “If social media were online dating it’d be Tinder, not eHarmony because split-second decisions are made here.” Funny, right?

I soaked up some great takeaways from this webinar! For example, did you know your tweet only has a 20 to 30-minute lifespan? Guy Kawasaki recommends posting the same tweet three times with eight hours in-between, which will give you three times the engagement. Did you know Pinterest Pins have the longest shelf life? Guy and Peg also touted their favorite social media management tools, such as HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, and Tailwind.

In the final moments of the webinar, the moderator asked Guy and Peg to touch on analytics and how you align these with your social media goals. Guy’s response: “I literally pay zero attention to analytics, I am not an analytical type.” He went on to say that he is in the “spray and pray theory of social media.” WHAT?!? I thought, did I really just hear that as I picked myself up off the floor (from falling over in shock)? Without reviewing analytics, how do you know if you are even socializing with your prospective clients? How can you know what is important to them? Most significantly, without reviewing analytics, how do you know what works the best so you can do more of it?

As the Marketing Director of LeadMD, I am responsible for our online reputation, branding, continued growth, and partner relationships. Social media is just one slice of the pie; it is just one of many components that compliment our marketing efforts. In fact, every quarter we perform a full Benchmark on where we are, and we then determine our goal. The final step is putting all the elements (pieces of the pie) together to achieve the goal. Continually reviewing the performance of our efforts gives us the flexibility to try new things without taking a detour from our target. In fact, we know that having a full Benchmark analysis is such a crucial part of developing a marketing strategy that will increase revenue, that we do a full benchmark analysis at no cost. So be honest, do you utilize analytics to maximize your marketing efforts?

Guy said, “If you are using social media right you are going to piss some people off,” and I agree. However, without reviewing the analytics, it would be impossible to know exactly which post (or three) “pissed people off,” if they were part of your buyer persona, or if there is a pattern that needs to be modified.


  1. Rick on January 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    They did say that they pay attention to comments made about their posts and like to get instant feedback in that manner, but I think they were making the point that fun and engaging content is more important than obsessing about numbers. It reminds me of the famous Peter Drucker quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

    • Justin Gray Justin Gray on January 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Rick: Couldn’t agree more – I will say that great content reaches an organic barrier and after that you need to tap into solutions to expand that larger sphere of influence.

      Glenn: Absolutely – but why then do 96% of the org’s we engage with (2400+ of the most tech savvy companies on the planet) largely use marketing automation and social in a batch and blast manner? The answer is because it’s hard to be interesting. And that’s a problem certainly not relegated to Government.

  2. Glenn Ebersole, on January 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    “Spray & Pray” is a terrific sound bite. BUT – it is absolutely lacking one shred of strategic thinking. This seems like more of a “government strategy” or a strategy used by someone that is not focused and thinks that by keeping a steady stream of “projectile useless matter” thrown out into space will reap a good return.

  3. Kelly on January 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Just checked out Buffer and am loving it so far.

  4. LenHall on January 23, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Guy said “Create your own mantra” — a 2-3 word explanation of why you exist… His is “Empower People” Now thinking about mine…

  5. Laxman Rajagopalan on January 23, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I was also floored by that comment. But, I guess in the case of Guy..he can afford to say that given that he has more than 10 million followers. His broad strategy I guess is to drive traffic to what his tweet is pointing to (landing page, banner, infographic and the like). So, going gang-busters in analyzing tweet trends for his tweets may not have much ROI. For the RoW, I guess we’ll have to strategize, deploy, analyze, tweak and repeat… :-).

    • KingTubbo on January 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Pardon my ignorance, but what is RoW?

  6. Desiree Roughton on January 23, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Completely agree with Guy on this one! The key to social media as a brand OR a person is to be yourself. If you do that the success will come. I don’t analyze comments I’ve made to my friends or count laughs/smiles when I tell a joke, so why pay attention to social media analytics? Time is much better spent creating good content you believe in rather than dwelling on the buy in from others.

  7. Terry Nugent on January 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Social is more like jazz than classical music, so analyzing what generates retweets etc. can be a bit of a challenge. All I know is Guy has millions of followers and I don’t. Essentially follower count and the Twitter utility that reports number of follower interactions are the 30,000 foot metrics you need. Naturally you can and probably should get more analytical if you’re corporate, but Guy is a guru so the mere fact that he engages millions gives him the gravitas to command keynote speaker fees and market books, which is his economic value proposition.
    In his case the engagement metrics are probably driven more by the messenger than the message–not so much for XYZ corp.

  8. Kelly Hanna on January 23, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Is the webinar on replay anywhere?? I had a last minute schedule change with a client and missed it 🙁

  9. Helene Eichler on January 24, 2015 at 3:48 am

    I think in Guy’s case his marketing thought leadership reputation is obviously what drives his Social Medial follower base. Now the question would be does that translate into speaking engagements, number of books sold, consulting projects? So maybe those are some valid metrics to analyze?

  10. April West on January 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Dana, Yes, I utilize analytics to maximize my marketing efforts. I am almost obsessed with measuring engagment because I want to know what is resonating with my audience. I love knowing what industry leaders are doing, and that’s why I tag along on webinars and hang outs with Peg and Guy. But here’s what I don’t do; I don’t hang on every single word. Honestly, I didn’t even notice him say spray and pray. I, like others, have tunnel hearing. I hear and note what I want to hear and I heard all the excellent points on how to tell a story, how to be creative and how to engage more. Excellent webinar, thanks for all the tips! ~april

Leave a Comment

Want more? Here's some related content


#MAfails: New to Marketing Automation and Looking With Your Eyes Shut

My most memorable fail in the marketing automation world happened when I was still pretty...

Do You Have It? Thoughts on the "Optimism Effect"

I often wonder: is optimism an inherent, or learned skill? I hope it can be...

The Two Things Your Business Must Have to Grow

When I graduated from college way back when (can a little more than a decade...
email best practices ebook

Walking the Talk: Email Best Practices

 Here's how WE talk to OUR clients about email. (more…)
click to convert: landing page best practices

Click to Convert: All You Need to Know About Landing Pages

The only guide you need for consistently high converting landing pages. (more…)

Content Planning Checklist

Your first step in the right direction to creating high caliber content is a content...

Back to the Marketing Future: From Demand Gen to Account-Based Marketing

Great marketing doesn't require stolen uranium. And while we may not need roads where we're...
Email Subject lines ebook

Email Subject Lines: How to Write Enticing Copy that Readers Can't Resist

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are using multiple platforms like social media and...