If Social Advertising Is Not a Hard Sell, What Is It?

You and your friends are at a local street fair. There’s food, there are games; people are taking pictures, there’s a bit of music, maybe some art… etc. You’ve been to those kinds of street fairs, they’re a great way to spend an afternoon.

So you and your friends are talking, presumably about things that interest you – after all, you are friends, which implies you have some things in common. And in the middle of your social experience, someone approaches you personally and says:

Buy this WIDGET RIGHT NOW! Order today! And receive exceptional benefits! Rewards! Enjoyment! Order Now!

Whoa, whoa, wait a second… what does this widget, however special it may be, have to do with what’s going on in the street fair? How well does it relate to the conversations you and your friends having?

Chances are, if an overzealous, pushy sales rep runs up to you and your friends, and starts yapping away, you’ll most likely ignore him.

Street Fair

Then there are those sales reps who may be a little more experienced, and may start off with some conversation, some pretty words, maybe a slight of hand, and lure your and your friends into a tent where it’s sparkly and it smells good. But you’re a savvy consumer, and as you stand in this beautifully decorated tent, you’re checking to see if your wallet is still in your packet – skeptical.

Either way, these traditional sales tactics don’t seem to bode well with the social environment you and your friends are partaking in. So we can agree that pushy sales tactics and the extinction of the dodo bird have some similarities. Don’t be a dodo. OK, so, how do we do it?

How do we work with Social Advertising?

Well, the Google paid advertising model is based on “intent”, as represented by the profitability found in learning a visitors intent (i.e. search term – the visitor is ‘searching’ for something) and displaying relevant ads based on that intent.

Facebook isn’t, and has never intended on, competing head to head with Google. So the Facebook advertising model is inherently different. Understanding this model is critical to success. Facebook’s advertising model is based on “interest”. Facebook users “Like” things. They comment on things they’re interested in. They tag themselves in pictures (which have titles, descriptions, and comments). Facebook users associate themselves with topics, themes, sentiments, objects, even products. What they don’t do is explicitly express intent (at least not in a way that can be readily quantified, packed up and sold, the way Google does). Stay with me kids, let’s not get caught up in the details. Dodo.

So going back to the Street Fair analogy: If a patron of the fair expresses intent in purchasing a Ford Mustang, then it would behoove Ford to have experienced sales reps ready to make those sales as soon as patrons express their intent – right there at the fair. But… when has a patron of a street fair ever expressed intent to purchase a vehicle right there on the spot?

Rather than send sales reps to the street fair, Ford instead sends brand ambassadors – people who know the brand, who can talk about it’s features, people who can answer questions. Throw in a few cars to showcase the brand, maybe let people sit in them, and maybe keep a few free t-shirts in the trunk… it’s social advertising, not social sales.

Revenue generated by Ford at the street fair? Zero.

Wasted effort? Of course not. They were appealing to the audience – it’s social advertising. They had a supercharged, nitrous Mustang with wild paint and awesome rims, and every now and then they would fire up the car, make a bunch of noise, draw a crowd, hand out free stuff… and that’s their job – to showcase the brand.


Side note: The US Air Force actually has highly modified Mustang that sort of looks like a fighter jet, complete with a single centered pilots’ chair, and a great paint job. It’s a very loud car, that they fire up, draw a crowd, and hand out free stuff. They call it the USAF Mustang X1, and it’s actually pretty sweet.

But I digress.

So, as you go about building your Social Advertising Strategy, are you going to with the traditional school of thought, where you hard sell unsuspecting people on facebook? Dodo.

Or, are you going to appeal to their emotions, show them product highlights, and inform them on benefits and features of your widget? Afterall, that’s what Process Implementation is all about.

Oh, and what sound does the dodo make?

Jareau AlmeydaIf Social Advertising Is Not a Hard Sell, What Is It?