How to handle ‘throwaway’ posts
So you can make your boss happy AND avoid the embarrassment of posting something absolutely horrendous
We all know that Slack message (or Teams if you’re even more unfortunate).
Your day is going well. You have your content calendar locked in. Feeling good about it.
Then your boss — or even better, someone in the company in a totally unrelated department that you have no business reporting to — pings you.
“Hey! Can we push this to social today?”
And this happens to be the most horrendous request of all time. Nothing you can do will make it engaging and perform well on social.
For me, in B2B, this was usually requests to promote webinars on social. Webinars suck. I’ll die on this hill, but that’s a battle for a different time.
You could also be plagued by webinar requests. Or maybe you got handed a PDF of a flyer and were asked to post it to your Instagram feed. Or idk. But just imagine that post you hate making.
There’s a way out. Let me walk you through it.
The first line of defense is to respectfully push back on the request.
If it’s your direct boss asking you to post something, you should have a relationship with them and feel comfortable pushing back when needed. If that isn’t the case, well, that’s probably a sign that something needs to change.
Anyway. Make your case for why the post in question should stay in the drafts.
→ It doesn’t match the brand voice
→ The format is not at all optimized for social
→ No, Instagram doesn’t let you put URLs in the caption
List your grievances and either send them in a Slack message or present them in your next 1:1.
If you have a good boss, this should either do the trick or open up a conversation around how to find a middle ground (I’ll talk more about this in a second).
This next tip might get me in trouble. But whatever.
If the person making a request isn’t in a leadership position and isn’t in your department — just ignore the first Slack message. You’d be surprised how often this works lmfao.
The post is almost never as important as they think it is when they’re making the first request.
Usually, they press ‘send,’ and then go about their day as if nothing. This is the goal. Let the request drift to the back of their mind and out of sight.
If they follow up again, then that’s a sign that this is something worth having a conversation about. Then, take the same course of action that you did with your boss. Respectfully push back — see if you can find a middle ground.
Ok. What if it’s the CEO or founder who makes the request?
This is a tough one. I like to give my boss a heads-up that the request was made. Sometimes that would be my out, and I’d get the green light to disregard.
But sometimes you just gotta post it. Despite your expertise, despite the fact that you know it’s gonna flop.
So what do you do then?
Enter the ‘throwaway post.’
How to execute a ‘throwaway post’
I was reminded of this when I came across this tweet while scrolling:
The tweet actually prompted this entire newsletter.
A few examples:
Instagram Stories are my go-to for throwaway posts.
They disappear in 24 hours. And for my target audience (B2B), Instagram was never our ‘main’ channel.
If IG is a primary channel for you, you might be a bit hesitant to use IG Stories for this, but if you work for a B2B company fire away.
LinkedIn during ‘off hours’
Another one for my B2B social media managers out there.
LinkedIn company pages are a valuable asset for you. But there are some times when posts just aren’t going to get much traction.
Usually, LinkedIn posts get seen most during working hours. Or a least during the day.
So what I would do if you need to ‘promote a webinar’ on LinkedIn, or something along those lines, is make the post at some random time like Friday at 7pm (when nobody in their right mind is active on LinkedIn).
Similar to the above. You can also toss the request on Twitter during a non-optimal time.
For me, this is usually overnight.
The nice thing about Twitter is that the post lifecycle is so short that if the post doesn’t gain traction early on (which it probably won’t if you’re posting during off hours), it will just die and get lost in the Twitter abyss. Perfect outcome.
Do I need to explain?
Lol. But for real. For most brands, Facebook organic is a dead channel (yes, I know some of you are seeing good results over there, don’t fight me).
But a simple FB post is almost always enough to tick the box without subjecting yourself to public embarrassment
I feel like this is a topic that isn’t talked about enough because of the fear of getting in trouble. Probably smart.
But this is one of those tricks of the trade that every social media manager should have in their back pocket. You need to be equipped to handle requests that you know aren’t in the best interest of the brand.
YOU are the expert. Don’t be afraid to push back. And don’t be afraid to do what you need to do (tactfully) to preserve your work.
And, by the way, if you’re a CMO or founder reading this… please, let your SMM do their job and encourage them to respectfully push back.
That’s all I’ve got for you today.