Imagine a product that all of us use. And by all of us, I mean literally every single person on planet Earth with access to clean water and other household utilities. The first thing that came to my mind was, as silly as it might sound – toilet paper.
Absolutely all of us need it and running out of your toilet paper supply is a nightmare in the making. You don’t think much when you’re buying it either, right? Or, do you?
In that long toilet paper aisle in your local supermarket is a section with that particular brand that you almost regularly choose every time, but have you ever wondered why? Quality, price and other features aside, it’s all about marketing. “Well – duh” – you might say, – “Of course it is, you are running a marketing blog, for crying out loud.” And to that, I say – not so fast my young padawan.
*This is what clever product design looks like
Let’s get analytical for a second here. On a subconscious level, our brains are wired to process hundreds of pieces of information and make numerous decisions in split seconds. We, of course, are not aware of the majority of them, but trust me, unless you are a toilet paper aficionado, your random choice of the toilet paper make might not be so random after all. This is exactly where marketing comes into play. Or, to be precise, marketing for boring industries.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all of us should use the same brand by the same maker just because their ads feature cute, fluffy puppies and giggling babies. The point is that no business is too boring for social media, with the right marketing strategy of course.
Whether you are the owner of a small business that might be classified as not particularly interesting or a confused marketer whose job is to come up with engaging content ideas for, let’s say, a stapler, these tips are something you might want to try for yourself. So, let’s plunge in.
1. Humor pays off (and by humor, we mean bizarreness)
Now, most of you have probably already seen the #SquattyPotty Youtube video commercial, and for those of you who haven’t, it is time for you to crawl from underneath whatever rock you’ve been hiding under and witness one of the downright most wacky marketing moves out there.
* The toilet theme that has been happening here is totally unintentional if we might add.
How do you sell a freakin’ pooping stool? Sure, you can try and get all sciency and explain how and why it’s beneficial to have one, OR, you can just go on and introduce a hairy medieval prince and a googly-eyed unicorn that poops ice cream. We are pretty sure some kind of psychedelics were involved in the making of this video.
All jokes and ridiculousness aside, a leap of more than 500% in online sales turned once a home-based business into an internet sensation and their CEO Bobby Edwards into a happy man. In this case, an almost crazy-bold move proved to be a smart one.
This is exactly what your business might be lacking.
Let’s go back to our toilet paper story from the beginning of the article. There are not many differences between brands and prices are somewhat in the same close range, too. It’s the way brands present themselves that catches our attention and convinces us to choose one above all others.
In order to decide whether you should use a humorous approach, you should make sure you absolutely, 130% understand both your product/service and your audience.
There’s a thin line between tasteful and tacky, so a wrong campaign or strategy can bring you more harm than good. If your friends consider your humor a bit offensive and they mentioned it to you on more than a few occasions, maybe you should hand it over to your colleague or cousin. If on the other hand, you deem yourself the witty troll who always has something funny to say, then this approach is made for you.
Be it funny posts on social media or amusing YT videos, people will most certainly react, and even though a portion of them will not buy your product or use your service, they will indirectly spread brand awareness to those who will, and that’s what matters the most.
2. Knowledge – Value – Expertise
Let’s not get too carried away now. Humor is meaningless if it lacks substance. Your fans and followers might be entertained for a short period of time, but if there isn’t anything of value you have to offer them, they won’t stick around for too long.
Knowledge is power, and by knowledge, I mean educating your fan base. Ask yourself, if I was a follower of that particular brand, what would I want to see on their page? Would I want to see more info about the product itself, the history behind it, the way it is made? Or, if I’m interested in a certain service, do I have all the info about the actual process that is behind it, the best practices, tips and tricks, etc?
These are all valid questions and concerns that a potential client or customer has. If you are a social media expert, you will, of course, know all of this, but if you are a small business owner with no prior experience, it’s easy to get confused.
So here are a few things that can help you.
For example, utilizing podcasts in your social media weekly plan could be a great way of introducing your audience to the current happenings, both in your company and in the industry as well.
Facebook groups will help you reach a bigger audience and raise engagement. You can share your posts in local and/or niche based communities, just make sure you are not going against any guidelines, and also check if the members and the group itself are active (a ‘dead’ group will just waste your time). Don’t be lazy to write a genuine caption, too!
Next, find a couple of experts in your industry and share their content. Make sure to mention them in your caption. This is especially effective on Twitter.
How-to videos and infographics are another great way of educating your audience. The great thing about them is that they can be reused in microblogging over and over on Instagram or Pinterest, for example.
Remember, even the most boring product can seem interesting if you know how to present it and if you create a demand.
“THIS IS A PHENOMENAL TIME TO BE A CURIOUS PERSON.”
-Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft
Fun story, this video popped up just as I was writing this article.
Who knew you’d need a $150 fish cleaning tool? (Newsflash: you don’t. That is unless you own a fish market/restaurant or you eat fish every day. In that case, you do you, we won’t judge.)
Anyways, hate to admit it, but it took me a solid couple of minutes to come to my senses and realize neither my mom (who accidentally saw the video over my shoulder, shrugged and continued doing whatever she was doing in the first place), nor me actually need this ridiculous gadget.
So, what’s the catch?
They took a specialized product from a very specific niche and made it look like something an ordinary human being can’t live without (something Insider is famous for, and we don’t blame them). The truth is, a skillful combination of satisfying fish cleaning short vids (or is it satisfying to me only? Don’t answer that), and short explanations, tips and pieces of info, turned, let’s be honest, a boring product into something that you never knew you needed. Which brings us to our last point:
3. Adding a personal touch
This might be the most important part, now more than ever, with markets being as big as they are and millennials taking over the economy.
Staying on top of the game is a challenge, even for big companies, such as Pepsi. Their recent ad failure showed just how important being sincere and honest in your marketing efforts actually is.
Yes, you can throw a teenage icon/fashion model/TV personality/??? into a politically charged situation alluding to current social events, cross your heart and hope for the best.
But, aside from the ad being totally pointless and meaningless, there is one thing that annoys more than anything and that is how genuinely fake it looks. In my mind at least, there isn’t a single shot in the video that doesn’t scream “WE ARE TRYING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING AND WE ARE USING PATHETIC AND EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION TO DO IT”.
Sure, many brands use this method, but not this blatantly at least. Coca-cola Christmas ads are a nice example of how to utilize emotions without looking tacky (war in the comment section in 3, 2,1, GO!)
So, how can YOU show honesty, emotion, and sincerity to your fans? Here are a couple of tips:
– If your product is boring, your employees don’t have to be, too. Showcase them on your social media channels, tell a little about them. Your fans will appreciate it and will certainly feel more connected to your brand.
– Behind the scenes, photos or videos go a long way. Like in an above-mentioned quote, people are driven by curiosity. How is your product made? How are your services performed? What is happening in your offices or headquarters?
– Take your fans on a virtual tour around your place of business (Facebook Live Video is something that you can use too).
– Contests are a great way of engaging with your fans. Showcasing their pictures with your products under relevant brand hashtags will make them feel important.
– Communicate with your fans, don’t ignore their messages and comments. Customer reviews are also important. Motivate your fans to leave a good one, but don’t delete any negative feedback either, as they’ll help you find out first hand about what your brand might be lacking and what you can improve.
Do you still think your industry is too boring to be on social media? Try utilizing some of these tips and see what happens. Remember, progress doesn’t happen overnight and you’ll have to wait a bit until you see the fruits of your labor, but it will all be worth it.