I have a friend on Facebook that posts very odd, usually lengthy, often nonsensical, always poetic status updates. The posts typically involve a rambling combination of politics, religion and the future that came to them in their dreams. The updates are so strange, there are usually no likes or comments, except when they reply to themselves. It’s a little sad, and after a while, I stop reading the post and just scroll right through. It is too draining to figure out what the posts mean, and if I do, I just get upset at myself for wasting my time…again. If my friend was marketing themselves as a Facebook celebrity, I would have to give them an F- for a grade. After a while, I just stop caring what they have to say. Naturally, that got me thinking about AV.
Social media has changed the way companies market themselves. People who are looking to buy anything start their research online, so having some sort of presence is a must. However, so many companies turn into a version of my Facebook friend. They start sending out a lot of really technical posts with a laundry list of technical specifications. They post several times a day. The landing pages take too long to load. It’s tedious to read everything that they post. They are also one of a hundred manufacturers doing this. After a while, most join the SROB (Scroll Right On By) crowd.
I am by no means a marketing expert, but I would think when you post something, you would like a good percentage of your audience to take notice of your status and maybe even read it. Someone great at marketing might even devise a way to create an active, eager audience for their material. I am not a marketing guru, but Seth Godin is. He puts out a daily newsletter. What I appreciate about it is that it covers a wide variety of topics. It also varies wildly in length. Some newsletters are a paragraph long on happiness that gives you a pleasant pause to the day, and others are a full page on an interesting aspect of social media marketing that inspires you to do more research and change your own approach. He’s great because his messages are not always self-serving. They are just fun to read. But, when they are self-serving and directly pushing a book or a seminar, many include some sort of Easter Egg or hidden nugget for the attentive and dedicated reader. Read this post and notice the “PS” in the last statement.
Clicking that link (when the seminar was open for registration) would bring users to a page with a little, inconspicuous purple circle at the bottom of the page. Clicking that circle brought you to a discount page, and that discount started at 33%, when the campaign first started, and gradually decreased to zero.
This is cool for many reasons. First, he has become an enjoyable resource, so I am likely to read all his newsletters. They are fun. Second, you had to read the entire newsletter to even know to look for that lil’ purple circle. He wants to engage an interested audience while selling, and his audience knows to look for these things. And finally, the discount was a shrinking discount, which instilled a sense of urgency in his qualified, interested audience. Brilliant. This is effective marketing.
I urge our industry to be more like Seth and less like my Facebook friend. Instead of putting out a barrage of technical posts to an echo chamber, become an enjoyable resource. Don’t be afraid to go “off message” with a few posts just for “funsies.” When you do have something “meaty” that directly pushes your product, put something light in the post to break things up. If there is a hidden menu, or a punny specification line item, or all the letters along the left margin spell out a funny message, I will be much more likely to not only read your next post, but also share it with my colleagues. It is difficult to predict what will go viral, but it is easy to predict what people will ignore.