Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook feed and wondered, “Why on earth would someone post that?” or “Do they really think anybody cares?” We’ve all been there, right? Because people post about everything from their baby’s potty-training progress to what kind of sandwich they are (according to a personality quiz)! As a result, it often feels as though the internet is just a void for lots of idiots to scream into… publicly. And with all that social media clutter, it’s unsurprising that you might find yourself asking, “How do I make people listen to what I have to say?” or “How can I be sure my posts aren’t annoying?” Well, over the course of this summary, we’re going to answer both of those questions and more.
Chapter 1: How to Make Social Media Work For You
So, we already know that you can’t run a successful marketing campaign without social media. Before we dive into any other information, we have to accept that as a baseline fact. Gone are the days of old-school print media and the campaigns that were based on the simple distribution of flyers. Today, you have to have a social media presence if you want to attract customers. But how do you craft a campaign that really works? And how do you get people to listen in the first place? The author observes that if you really want to win at social media, you need to tell a story. And whether you’re trying to market yourself or your brand, this strategy remains true. Because anybody can scream into the void or engage in contests to determine who can scream the loudest. And because customers realize that, they can just as easily mute you by unfollowing, deleting, or scrolling past your content. Put simply, it doesn’t matter how loud you scream or how many ad campaigns you launch; if people aren’t interested, they can still find ways to avoid you.
But if your brand tells a story, people want to engage. While that story will obviously look different for everyone, the author observes that many successful marketing campaigns are customer directed in that they invite individual customers to tell their own stories through the form of an ad campaign. For example, if you’re trying to sell FitBits, you could encourage customers to post on their own social media channels about their experience with FitBits. Ask them to talk about their relationship with exercise and how their FitBit is part of that story. Invite them to post pictures of themselves exercising with the promise of the best snaps getting featured on your account. This engaging narrative — combined with the hope of having their picture displayed in front of millions — will get people excited in a hurry!
But creating quality content is only the first step. You also have to think about how — and where — that content is going to be displayed. For example, ad campaigns that look too gimmick-y fall right into the “screaming into the void” category. People aretired of seeing those and they’ve learned to mute or follow them. As a result, your goal should be to create content that doesn’t look like an ad. Instead of bright, flashy graphics and clickbait-y headlines, go for a high quality post that looks like it naturally belongs on an aesthetically pleasing feed. Whether that means partnering with leading models and influencers who can showcase your brand or designing something entirely new, your goal is to create an image so compelling that people are drawn to hit “like” and check it out. When they see your image, they should be so surprised that they exclaim, “That’s an ad??”
But it’s also important to consider where you post your ads. For example, if Twitter isn’t the hot thing at the moment, you probably shouldn’t waste time posting there. Similarly, if you post on a buzzing social network but fail to follow the etiquette of that platform, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. So, take some time, do your research, and craft a meaningful campaign that tells a story.
Chapter 2: How to Win at Facebook
But now that we’ve covered the social media basics, let’s take a closer look at a few specific platforms. We’ll start with Facebook. Although many younger users turned to alternative platforms like Tumblr or Instagram when their parents got on Facebook, the truth is that pretty much everybody is still on Facebook. This means that advertising on Facebook can give you the opportunity to put your product in front of your millions of people around the world! Its interactive nature also means that users can spread your ad to one another like a virus, increasing your exposure. And as another added bonus, Facebook is also less expensive than other forms of mass advertising, such as putting your ad on a billboard or a commercial. So, to recap, Facebook allows you to advertise to the entire world for a fraction of the price! Sounds fantastic, right? Except it’s not that easy. That’s because Facebook — believe it or not! — carefully curates its algorithms to ensure a positive user experience. And as a general rule, that means limiting the authority and prevalence of ads.
So, what does that mean for you as an advertiser? Well, for starters, it means that if you want to put your ad on Facebook, your content has to be awesome. As we discussed in the previous chapter, curating quality content is everything. But it takes on a new significance when you’re talking about advertising on Facebook. Because Facebook literally filters its news feed to screen ads and allows users to opt out of ads that are irrelevant or annoying to them, you should only attempt to advertise on Facebook if you’re certain that your content won’t be flagged by the majority of its users. However, that’s not the only issue to consider. Facebook’s algorithm is also highly selective in the content it displays to users. It uses a person’s previous activity on the site to create a profile of their interests and filter the content they see accordingly.
For example, if you frequently “like” a lot of cat memes, Facebook is going to recommend a lot of cat memes and allow similar posts to frequently pop up on your feed. So, if you want your post to get a lot of likes, you need to carefully research your demographic and ensure that you’ve created something they’ll interact with. Because unless it draws a lot of likes and comments, it won’t matter how much you’ve paid for your ad; in the end, it will all be for nothing!
Chapter 3: Why Pinterest is the Best Kept Secret of Marketing
Are you a Pinterest user? If not, you’re not alone; many people prefer Instagram or Facebook and view Pinterest as more of an obscure network for people who enjoy crafts. But that’s actually something of a common misconception and it belies the hidden power of Pinterest: it’s primarily used by women and it’s not just for people who like crafts. (It might interest you to know that, in contrast to the diverse demographics demonstrated on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram, over 75% of Pinterest users are female and 50% of them are mothers!) So, how does Pinterest work exactly? Well, for starters, it’s a space for users to “pin” posts about a variety of interests and create collages of things they like. And although it may be primarily used by women who enjoy crafts, it also attracts women who have a host of other interests and use Pinterest as a platform to connect with one another.
This means that advertising on Pinterest is a relatively untapped marketer’s dream that will put your product in front of millions of people! Advertising on Pinterest is also more likely to generate sales revenue than advertising on other platforms. And, as the author observes, there are a host of statistics to back it up! For example, a 2012 survey of advertisers discovered that 79% of their sales had come from people who bought their product on Pinterest. Their sales on Facebook paled in comparison. So, in light of this, we can conclude that Pinterest is not only the way to go, but that it’s also incredibly helpful if you intend to market to women.
Misconceptions about the popularity and function of Pinterest have led many advertisers to ignore it as a resource, but those misconceptions are the only thing holding you back! So, now that you know, you can get ahead of the game! As you dive into Pinterest, however, remember that every platform has its own standards of etiquette. Pinterest is somewhat similar to Instagram in that its content is comprised primarily of compelling pictures. So, a good rule of thumb would be to concentrate on creating aesthetically pleasing pictures that you can post on multiple platforms. And because Pinterest is so diverse, it might be worth promoting your content in a variety of different ways so you can end up on “pin boards” for a diverse collective of users.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell customized, stylish bandanas for women and their cats. For one post, you might try a photo of a model and her cat wearing a matching set. For another, you might simply post a cute picture of a cat (aimed at cat lovers) or a funny cat meme (aimed at users who frequently like posts about cats and humor). Likewise, additional posts could target users who are interested in fashion, social media marketing, animal shelters, crafts, or photography!
Chapter 4: Tweet About It
And last but not least, we come to Twitter. Unlike Facebook and Instagram (which everybody uses) and Pinterest (which people assume no one uses), Twitter is something of a middle ground. Some people hate it and some love people love it, but you can’t deny its statistics; Twitter boasts an average of 1.3 billion users! However, this overwhelming population is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, Twitter’s user base presents an incredible amount of potential customers. Unfortunately, however, that also means that if you want to stand out, you have to make yourself heard over 1.3 billion voices. Unsurprisingly, when you think about it that way, the prospect of advertising on Twitter is both less exciting and more concerning than advertising on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. So, how can you make yourself stand out on Twitter?
The author recommends a strategy called “trendjacking.” Put simply, “trendjacking” involves capitalizing on the topics that are currently trending by finding a way to insert yourself and your content into the mix. For example, that might mean that you write a post or organize a charity event to help with a certain social issue. Or, for causes that aren’t serious or significant, it might mean that you add a trending hashtag to your post to draw traffic to your site. Hashtags can be extremely useful because they provide a means of filtering the most popular topics and searches that people are talking about at the moment. You can use hashtags to draw attention to an issue, contribute to the conversation, or direct people to your posts. This, of course, makes them a very popular feature; many businesses even incorporate hashtags into their brand names or marketing campaigns in an attempt to appear hip and socially relevant. However, this often leads to a behavior that is commonly termed “hashtag abuse,” and if you misuse hashtags, it can backfire quickly. Rather than demonstrating that you’re relevant and trendy, you might accidentally communicate that you’re clueless and wrong.
Chapter 5: Final Summary
Everyone wants to win at social media, especially when you’re running a business. But the overwhelming vastness and popularity of social media also means that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd or unknowingly commit a social media faux pas. That’s why the author advises that you take some time to research the various platforms available, along with their demographics and particular brand of etiquette, to identifythe options that are most accessible for you. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can follow the author’s top tips to cultivate a knockout social media campaign.