ARTWORK: "Rainbow" by Morgan Blair courtesy of ELLIOT LORBER
The Unrealized Science Behind Social Advertising Success
-What do you expect from your venture into social media?
Social Advertising is anything that recruits or utilizes participation from an individual or group. Many terms fall under this title such as: social media, consumer generated media, and even reality advertising(using real people and situations in your advertising).It's a way to allow the collective to define the brand and (hopefully) it's values.
Social advertising and particularly the term "social media" has become the latest trend for both great and not-so-great marketers. I can't tell you how many meeting I have been in where I've heard an out-of-touch agency person or client say "we need social media—we can get people to vote for our product or be our fan on Facebook, maybe we can get them to submit thousands of videos!"
Unfortunately, there are a lot of marketers and agencies out there that are missing the point and the much bigger picture. They get latched onto a buzz word, a trend and start calling people. And as a result, you have lots and lots of "specialists" popping up ready to re-sell your agency or your brand the same formula that worked for brand X. They use words like "best practices" and "Industry Success Stories" to make marketers feel like they're approaching the whole social media thing correctly. Marketers are happy to see it in their quarterly presentations and they exert a sigh of relief.
Then, like most, their social advertising fails.
So why does it fail? Why does your brand have only 725 fans on Facebook? Why do you have only 17 videos uploaded to your Current.com VCAM promotion? Why is no one Digg (ing) your campaign or message?
The answer is quite simple. Intent. It all comes down to the intent of the advertiser—do you really want them to become a part of your brand socially, or are you simply using social media as a means to target them? How are you proving this to your audience?
If you are wondering why your success rates are low, it's because your advertising is simply not connecting with them on a provocative, fun, or intelligent level. People are seeing your request and immediately seeing that there is more to gain for you than for them. Consumers can see through the bribes commonly known as sweepstakes, and they are becoming more and more skeptical when you align yourself with socially conscious causes.
Consumers rely on the 5-Second Rule.
In 5 seconds they want to know:
1. What am I going to get out of it? Is something bigger going to happen if I participate?
2. How will this make me look good? How does this add to my image and portray my values?
3. Can I find something better or cooler (online or off) to represent myself with?
So remember, when you get ready to launch your new "edgy" social advertising campaign ask yourself again: "Is your content as cool as the dramatic cat video?", as pop-cultural as Team Aniston vs.
Team Jolie?, does it connect with people on a deeper subject like fighting cancer? Will they honor a yellow bracelet for your cause, brand or organization?
Take a peek at the diagram below. I usually refer to this diagram when presenting to clients. It details the successful approach to social media marketing—based on marketing values first. Then it's important to take into serious consideration the social environment in which you plan on spreading your message. The one thing I learned both through research and observation is that people act quite differently online then they do in the non-digital real world. It's mostly because there is more competition, more channels, and simply more havoc.
In order to succeed at social advertising as a permanent channel your message or mission needs to first and most importantly connect on a set of values (brand), be in tune with their the social environment (both online and offline) and understand how they distribute this type of message through media (Word-Of-Mouth, Facebook, Diggs and Tweets)
It's getting harder and harder to compete for attention in the online space. From YouTube videos of curious cats, to motor cross kids doing back flips in their back yard, to the re-re-mix of the latest Lady Gaga single. This competition is forcing brands to get "out of their comfort zone". But it's important for everyone at play to remember that each consumer environment (retail, events, and online) has its own relevant rules for success.
These are important questions that you have to answer as an advertiser.
Being in the social advertising space is not nearly enough to compete. You have to compete and act on the values of your organization and connect ideas with the values of your customer in order for your brand to succeed.