This week we take a long, hard look at where the industry is headed and what you can do about it. Reconsider what it means to be an ad man (or woman). Why advertising needs to become (almost) human. How your brand should really be using Facebook. Our stories this week aim to inspire, inform, and move you to make change happen now. Here are our 5 top reads for Friday, May 18th, 2012.
A refreshingly logical and forward-thinking examination of how the advertising industry is changing, and what you can do about it. Don’t just seek out the “now” results, the heavyweight stuff, the one big idea. Think about the many small interactions you and your brand can be initiating and involved in regularly. Sound familiar?Think about how your brand/service/product factors into people’s everyday conversations, what they’re saying about you, when it’s coming up and why. Realize that people generally do not speak strictly about brands and products in any lengthy, detailed way (excluding the ad people below). Stop relying on stealing away your audience’s attention with bright, annoying, flashing banners or messages. Depend on natural conversation between you and your customers, on crafting brand stories that people will want to discuss and share, and do this always--don’t stop. Advertisers and brands must learn to be ceaselessly creative, always adapting to what people are discussing and talking about and to fit into their lives without disruption. It’s an change, for sure. Rather than waiting on pioneers for you to assess and copy, go out now and be that innovative brand.
There’s been a lot of hubbub about GM’s move to stop advertising on Facebook (timing is everything), but rather than focus on the too-soon-to-tell Facebook ad model, your company should be taking away one very important lesson from this that can be applied immediately. While GM has no plans to advertise on Facebook in the near future, they are going to maintain their Facebook page presence. This costs them nothing and allows GM to engage their customers through content and brand stories. A brand’s online identity, the stories it tells, how it goes about telling those stories and how it allows its users to be a part of those stories--that’s what Facebook is all about. Why anyone is surprised that Facebook isn’t the ideal platform for traditional advertising is a mystery to us. Use social, yes, of course. But use it the way your customers are using it--to be social. Hurling one-sided campaigns and display ads at them is not the way. Instead, come up with a solid startegy for how you can start a frequent, ongoing conversation with your customers, that matters to your customers and is also relevant to your brand. That’s real engagement.
If you haven’t already stumbled upon this insight, this piece is worth your consideration. Looking past the studies showing that ad people are hyper-active on social media and therefore overestimate how much the average person actually uses it, the author goes on to say this makes them (yes, the advertising staffers themselves) an ideal medium for spreading content and opinions. Ad people, with their strutting, gregarious, social and pioneering ways, tend to share a lot of what’s currently inspiring them, making them laugh, making them jealous because they wish they’d come up with it first. Certainly a fair portion of that content being shared concerns inside jokes and useless infographics, but ad people also tend to have large social circles with whom they recommend products, campaigns, ads, brands, and stories. It’s a strange audience to consider for a marketer, but ad people drive influence, and if your brand or content appears on their radar as worthwhile, they’ll do the promotional legwork for you, gratis. Make content that’s creative and innovative enough to pique the interest of industry pros, and you won’t have to get the word out--they’ll speak for you, a lot.
We’ve talked about creating stories, becoming a more social brand, building content to share and better engaging your audience and customers. This is a handy checklist of some very tangible ways you can make those things happen. Stop talking about yourself--give credit where it’s due and point your followers to other excellent sources of news and information. Be focused and clear with your content. Contribute to the content community--be conversational and try to start meaningful discussions or risk tweeting upon deaf ears. Most importantly, be active and not automated. No one wants a robot in their feed, so find a style that works for you or your brand and run with it.
Right in line with what we’ve been talking about this week, Jay Baer gives you 6 great reasons why you should start thinking small and marketing content accordingly. Most of this is common sense that nonetheless gets easily forgotten--smaller means content gets picked up, read, shared, and promoted more often. His best point? Split your one big idea into 2, then 4, then 6, and so on. Do your best to skillfully break down that great idea into its component pieces that contain equally great ideas when spread out over a period of time and finally taken as a whole. Good thinking Jay - we can't help but agree.