I had an interesting discussion recently with a colleague. They were adamant that using advertising techniques is the best way for a brand to get the most from social media.
By social media advertising techniques, I mean:
- Find something you want to sell: Could be a particular product or your brand’s big USP
- Identify a timely theme: Like #SuperBowl or #Christmas
- Use clever copy craft to link the two: Puns, slogans, rhyme… whatever it takes to catch the attention.
So essentially, slick, but thinly-veiled sales copy.
Now, I respect this person’s years of experience in advertising. And, as a fellow creative, their right to have a viewpoint.
It’s just that, as someone with a content marketing background, I don’t necessarily agree with them.
Advertising is a brand talking about itself
People use social media discuss the things they love. Not to listen to you self-aggrandizing.
Especially if you’re a business and your end goal is to sell them something.
They know your game. And they see through it.
They’re cynical, brighter than you give them credit for, increasingly brand-savvy, and expect to be talked to like a person. NOT a consumer.
Content Marketing is a brand talking to customers about its passions, possessions, and expertise
In other words, it’s a brand speaking much more like a person than a faceless corporate.
Albeit a person who’s also a rather large authority in a specific area (like style, tech, or entertainment). And who may even be able to offer discounts, prizes, and other cool benefits to its followers.
But still, content marketing is why people follow you. It’s how you show what’s in it for them. And it’s why they’ll trust you – and buy from you in future.
In short, it’s a great way to create customer loyalty, AND develop your brand awareness in the long run.
They both have their place
Despite what I’ve said above, I don’t see advertising as a dead art – even on social.
There’s certainly a place for it. And for my money (or my Marketeer’s budget), that’s largely paid social ads.
To illustrate: imagine your social pages as a television channel.
People come to your ‘channel’ to be entertained, informed, and generally consume content they’re interested in.
In between that content, they see ads. They don’t really like them. But they at least expect them as a necessary evil.
And they implicitly know which is entertainment, and which is selling.
Indeed, passing off one as the other would be insulting to their intelligence.
So… do you think anyone would visit your TV channel if it was mostly – or entirely – ads for your brand?
How about your social channels?