“No man is an island.”
Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. Facebook Pages are no different.
Too often, while bringing their business online, people forget the importance of some of the most intermediate marketing principals, namely strategic networking and cross-promotion.
And while this article will focus on using Facebook as the vehicle for strategic networking and cross-promotion, these principals should really be applied to any of your online properties.
First of all: Here’s why you need to be doing these things.
Forming an alliance with a business that targets similar demographics to yours allows you to exponentially increase your exposure.
By aligning yourself with another entity with similar core values, the message of all parties involved is strengthened.
You see this a lot already and may not even realize it. It usually takes two forms.
- The one-off partnership
- The ongoing cross-promo partnership
The one-off partnership
The one-off partnership’s marketing usually takes the form of, “Company X teams up with Company Y to raise money for children’s home” (or to fight cancer, save the rain forest, send you to the super bowl, you get the idea.)
This partnership shows these two companies share core values. The goal is to deliver what is promised in the marketing message, of course. But whether the partnership continues depends on whether Company X and Company Y acquire a certain percentage of each other’s market.
On Facebook, you’ll see major brands do this in the form of “limited time only” sponsorships.
Coke did this with by doing a “cheers” drive in support of the Boys and Girls Club.
Pringles used its credibility to raise awareness for testicular cancer by partnering with Movember.
On the surface, the brand is leveraging their audience to raise awareness of a particular cause.
The cause is more inclined to encourage their supporters to become a customer of the sponsoring brand, thus giving it a reason to sponsor again in the future.
But dig a little deeper. What else does this type of promotion do?
Promotions like this flesh out a brand, it makes them more human. It shows they are aware of more than just themselves.
On a local level, businesses can leverage their fan base to raise awareness of a high school fundraiser, a local animal shelter, or the neighborhood children’s home.
Bloggers can leverage their fan bases on Facebook to support niche causes, draw attention to a program they support, or discuss big events that could have a major impact on their industry. (For example, I was just asked by Rutgers University to write about mobile marketing in order to raise awareness of their mobile marketing Mini MBA program.)
The key is to make sure that both target markets are a fit for the one-off promotion.
The ongoing cross-promo partnership
The very article you’re reading is an example of an ongoing cross-promo partnership.
Margie and I have both guest blogged for each other, and provided I don’t make her mad, there isn’t any reason why we won’t continue to do so. You’ll also see Margie over on Stanford Smith’s blog, “Pushing Social,” quite often, and they both host #tweetdiner on Twitter over the weekend.
On the big brand level, you see this way more often than you realize.
You know how you see the commercial for the movie that shows the Big Mac, then cuts to the overflowing Coke and the camera pans across the fries? We then see a little extra trailer footage again, then the family gets the bag of food, a Coke, and pull out of the drive-thru in a Ford?
By the end of that commercial, whether you realize it or not, you’ve been exposed to 4 different products. And whether you want to admit it or not, that exposure may influence your next buying decision if you’re interested in any one of those 4 products being advertised. That’s the beauty of cross-promotion.
So what does this look like on Facebook?
At face value this promo appears to be Pringles and Coke, but dig deeper, check the description.
“…win incredible prizes, like a PlayStationMove Prize Pack or a trip to the American Idol Finale.”
What’s important to look at is the picture that this cross promotion paints… Take a look at the most relatable trigger words in the copy for this update.
- American Idol
Doesn’t this paint a complete picture of many American families?
Ethical arguments and personal opinions aside, this is a snapshot of these companies’ ideal target market, and if you’re in that ideal target market, the above offer is that much more enticing.
The way to do this for yourself is really quite simple.
On Facebook, you can show passive support for a Page simply by adding it to your Favorites.
You can also tag pages in posts, by typing the “@” symbol for a Page or Profile that you are personally connected to. Tagged posts will not only show up in your fan’s News Feed, but will also appear on the tagged Page’s wall. Most admins are obsessive about checking their Facebook Page, so this can be a really good way to get someone’s attention. (Warning: Do not spam!)
Also a surprisingly little used trick is just straight up linking to another Page on Facebook.
Of course, while these methods show you the actual mechanics of cross-promoting, the best way to actually work out cross-promotion deals is by good old fashioned email and telephone.
If you find another blogger whose core values reflect yours, reach out.
Leave insightful comments on their articles, share their stuff, find ways to stand out without being obnoxious. Buy their product, take or create opportunities tell people how cool they are, become an evangelist. It may not take much to get noticed, or it may take a lot.
But if you know your stuff is valuable to their audience, and their stuff is valuable to yours, don’t be afraid to ask them to check out your stuff and see if you might be able to work out an ongoing partnership.
Just remember, the key to cross-promotion is to paint the picture of your target market’s lifestyle.
The more you can enhance that ideal lifestyle with cross-promos, the happier everyone involved will be.
Oh yeah – If you like that Margie has me writing articles on Wednesdays, share this as sign that you want to keep it going!