If there’s one word in Social Media that seems to drive everyone nuts in a weird, Pavlovian kind of way, it’s “advertising.” Trying to talk to people fully enmeshed in Social Media about advertising is kind of comparable, I think, to walking into Woodstock saying, “Hey, check out these great books on accounting and life insurance!”
The problem is that these reactions are made at your peril. Advertising is still an important way to reach people, especially if you are working in an industry that has key trade publications, major conferences or trade shows, and information that needs the 3rd party credibility that a publication can offer.
So what are people really reacting to? Maybe the same problem we talked about yesterday in terms of websites. Maybe they feel like on the one hand you’re talking to them conversationally, and then sudden in your ad you’re just about the sale. Can these different types of communication and marketing tactics get connected?
I have some ideas to make it so.
The ad as a landing page: With the increase in mobile platforms for publications and with the addition of new tricks like the use of QR codes, it’s easier than it ever was to use your ad as a landing page rather than the final destination. Just like with your updated landing page, you want to entice people, converse with people, but also give them an opportunity to learn more if they want to buy from you. How can you do this? Why not tie your major conversational themes from Social Media into your ad, as one example? Or perhaps, after conducting a survey of your customers, create an ad that tells them how you can solve a problem, and then offer a QR code that leads to a more detailed video (short but sweet)?
The ad as an invitation: If the idea of a landing page isn’t working for you right now, what about using your as a sort of invitation? You could invite people to interact with you in regards to a specific topic on your Facebook page or on your blog site. If people come to you and say, “Hey, I’m here to discuss xyz with you,” that also gives you a way to gauge the impact of your ad, right? You’re not asking outright for a sale. You’re asking for a chance to explain why your products and services are important.
The ad as a conversation: Even more engaging and wild would be to use your ad as a spark for conversation with your audience. You know, because you interact with them online, that they like to feel like they can offer their opinions. So, instead of telling your whole story in your ad, why not let your audience fill in the blanks with their own input? There are tons of ways this could be accomplished. It just requires some thinking outside the box.
The ad as a prize: If you do a lot of webinars or public speaking, maybe your ad could offer members of your audience a chance to get a sneak peek at information you have presented elsewhere. QR codes could lead to a snippet of a video you made specifically for that ad’s audience. You can make them feel welcome and important even if they weren’t able to make it to your talk or presentation in person. This also makes your ad seem more valuable than a simple billboard.
The Key Is Integration
What are you noticing about these options I’m tossing out? Hopefully, you’re noticing that they all rest on a foundation of maintaining a consistent type of relationship with your customers and prospects across all marketing channels. You’re hopefully noticing that ads can serve as billboards if you want them to, but they can also be used to do, well, whatever you want. They can be used most successfully when they are integral parts of a full, thought-out campaign. They can be great soldiers for you if you let them.
Advertising is not dying. It’s reborn.
I don’t really abide by folks who say advertising is dying. I think we’re just not thinking about advertising the right way. Together with all of the other tools at our disposal, ads could become powerful, successful, trackable ways to grow your business and get your message to the right people.
What do you think? How could you integrate ads into your efforts in creative ways that would help get you closer to your goals? Let’s talk about it!
This is post #57 in The Engagement Series. If you are worried about missing a post in this series, please feel free to hit the subscribe button. Thank you for listening!
Image by Matin Dadfar. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Matin