Social Media Marketing Strategies 101: The Ghost of Orkut Rises to teach 7 Essential Lessons

Social Media Marketing Strategies 101It’s officially October and I’m so ready to bring out all my pumpkin and spider decorations. I won’t lie, I’ve been hauling my “Coffee, Scream, and Sugar” mug to work since September—in my own way I’ve been trying to lure out Fall. But it’s Georgia, and we’re all dying in this never-ending Summer…so I’ll just keep sweating like a sinner in church.

Anyhow, today I’m going over 7 lessons that we can learn from the dead Brazilian social networking site Orkut. I’ll be pointing out what the site did right and what it did wrong and how we can learn from those mistakes and tailor them to our own social media needs.

Side note: Writers and authors—you are your brand. Your work is your product. Together along with the ways that you reach out to your audience form your platform. So, if you’re a Young Adult contemporary writer, then your brand is going to look a lot different than a Young Adult fantasy writer’s brand–which is awesome and wonderful!! Just keep those things in mind, and keep piecing them together as you work on building your brand and your platform.


Orkut was a social networking site that launched in 2004 in Brazil and shut down in 2014. It was primarily popular among those connected to the tech industry; however within one year of its creation over 1,500,000 communities had been established (Mahoney & Tang, 2017). Some of its features included the ability to connected with celebrities and other people users admired as well as recommend products to one another. Additionally, users of Orkut had to be invited to the platform, giving it a prestigious “members-only” feeling. Lastly, the developers of Orkut took holding user information seriously and made security a priority.

While Orkut was very popular in its beginning days, it failed to evolve with the market and its functionality stopped users from accessing features that they were looking for: such as difficulties in sharing photos and videos and limiting the number of friends. Instead of evolving to meet the cultural shift, Orkut stayed put and ultimately died as a social networking site, quickly being replaced by competitors that would happily meet the needs of the customer.


We can learn 7 Lessons from Orkut’s demise.

  1. Build a place where your audience can connect
  2. Create an exclusive invite-only membership list
  3. Embrace user-generated content
  4. Leverage your business blog
  5. Engage through social gaming
  6. Incorporate videos into your marketing campaigns
  7. Listen to your audience and adjust to their needs accordingly


Your social media channels should be a place where you connect with your audience. It is not a place where you are constantly promoting yourself or your product. Instead, allow room for discussion. Prompt your audience with questions about their lifestyle and their preferences as it relates to your product. Use your social channels to further reinforce your brand’s narrative and tell your story. Over time, as you continue to engage with your audience and help them, you will capture their loyalty.


It worked for Orkut—and let’s be honest, everyone loves to compete to be picked for VIP invite-only lists. Create your guidelines for your “invitation only” membership club, post them and make the perks really lucrative. Send exclusive offers and giveaways to your VIPs and watch as they post on your social channels about how they received these amazing things from you because they’re on your VIP list.


Your customers who have taken the time to post a photo with your product, or create a video, or draw a picture, are your brand advocates. They are the ones who are loyal to your brand and you can make the choice to embrace that loyalty—it’s to your benefit. Leverage that content and repost onto your own channels (with their permission, of course) and give them a shout out to thank them, they’ll likely be thrilled!

Encourage users to create content by hosting contests and giveaways and then post the top contenders and let them have their moment to shine. Use the search engines in each social networking platform to search for your brand and connect with users who are talking about you. Thank them for using your product!


Use your blog to post help users get to know your brand’s story. Your business blog is a place to showcase your product, but more than that, a successful business blog helps users to get to know the people behind the brand and humanizes them.


Successful gamification of your brand will keep your customers coming back because they’ll enjoy both your product and the game that you’ve created. The best uses of gamification are those that link to the shared vision of the community and is authentic. For example, for an online bookseller, for every three book reviews that are posted a user can “level up” and receive a new “badge” that denotes their new higher status.


Text-heavy posts are boring. In fact, this blog post is too long! (Stick with me, I’m trying!) Videos in marketing are becoming increasingly popular as users on a social media site don’t want to take the time to read a post and would rather listen to the information being offered to them.


Since most users today trust social media for their product recommendations, it’s important that you listen to the conversations people are having about your brand and your product. Use your channels to engage with customers who are unhappy and work to resolve those problems.

Also, monitor how your audience is responding to your posts. It can be easy to come off wrong in a post—be prepared to respond appropriately. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important that you admit it to your audience and be better moving forward. Transparency with your audience is key to building trust.

The best social media marketers listen rather than worry about generating content. It’s important to know what kind of content the audience needs and wants most and then respond with that instead of more of the same that everyone else is producing.


Let's Talk

I’m crazy about Halloween, and since my days fly by, it’s literally right around the corner for me. I’m going to be a unicorn ^.^ I always wanted to be the weird/funny things growing up but ended up feeling like I had to dress as something “cutesy”. Now as both an adult and a mom, I don’t care what people think, so I wear all the costumes I didn’t wear as a kid. What about you? What are you planning to dress up as? Do you still celebrate Halloween? Hit me up in the comments! 

I’ll see you again for my next post!

Keep Reading and Keep Writing,

Nicolette Elzie

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