When writing messaging for social media we often remind ourselves and our clients to “be the show, not the commercial.”
If you think about your social media channel as similar to a TV channel you can easily tag each post that streams by as the show (the content you are tuning in to see) or a commercial (the content that is there between the shows that is self serving and promotional.) Why is this important? Consider the lengths that savvy consumers have gone to eradicate the commercials from their television feeds. Consumers have invested in PVRs, Netflix, opted to wait and download shows instead of watching during the initial broadcast – not necessarily exclusively to miss commercials, but it is a factor. How often do you hear people say after they switch to PVR, Netflix or downloading that they miss their commercials? (The Superbowl is the ONLY exception to this rule but let’s be honest, they are not your average commercials!)
So what’s a better approach (within the same analogy)?
The seemingly natural appearance of those same brands and promotional entities wrapped up in conversation with friends and peers, contributing to the conversations the target audience is interested in, sharing relevant and interesting (not purely promotional) material, just as interesting and engaging as your friends and other people you follow. They look and act just like the “show” and don’t stick out like the “commercial.” Most importantly, viewers don’t get annoyed and take action to remove the “commercials” from their feed. In fact, the brand becomes a natural occurrence, part of the show consumers tune in to watch and engage with.
How do you act like a product placement instead of a commercial?
Don’t only broadcast self serving messaging (keep these to a minimum)
- Share things your audience will be interested in (not just things you wish they would be interested in)
- Answer as many, or more questions than you ask
- Ask questions that are relevant and interesting to your audience – and reply when someone responds
- Join in on conversations (monitor keywords and target audiences for opportunities)
- Follow up with people on things going on in their life
- Don’t underestimate small talk and participating in idle chatter
Think about why your audience tunes into the channel you are participating in, think about the conversations they are already having and try to emulate that while building your following. Think before you post – if someone could push a button and skip your post (like they would change the channel on a tv during a comercial break) would they? If yes, change it – because they might unfollow or block you just as easily as changing the channel.
(Header Image: POM Wonderful Presents: Morgan Spurlock’s Product Placement Doc)