When we think of amazing advertising campaigns, we might think of Nike’s “Just Do It,” Apple’s “Hi, I’m a Mac,” or maybe, Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” These campaigns were all exciting, entertaining, and became immediately recognizable. Although these campaigns were creative genius, the businesses they represented all have an edge; they’re selling exciting products. Athletic wear, technology, and alcohol are all things people tend to look forward to shopping for. Other businesses are not so lucky. It can be challenging to create exciting and entertaining ad campaigns for products or services that come across as “boring.” How can advertising for less glamorous brands be interesting?
Social media marketing has been a blessing for boring businesses. It’s engaging and allows significant experimenting. It allows for different formats like video, photos, and text which can all be used creatively. Social networks allow you to engage directly with consumers; you can use marketing to sell your followers on a personality or lifestyle instead of a product. So how can you use these platforms to your advantage?
Tell a Story
Even if your product or service itself is boring, there has to be something interesting about it. Why is it useful? Who needs it? What difference has it made? Explain how or why it’s interesting in a creative way. Creating posts or ads which follow a narrative is much more interesting to readers than a list of the product’s features. There are likely plenty of stories related to your product or business that are interesting which you might not have even considered as a marketing tool. What is the product’s origin story? Where did the business name come from? What was the hardest part of developing the product? What was your inspiration? Who are your employees? The answers to these questions can all make for short and interesting posts.
Be Funny and Personable
One way to establish the brand as interesting is using a personable voice. Your social media presence shouldn’t come across as overtly corporate; including personal touches in your posts will make your business seem accessible and relatable. Not only does posting in a personable voice encourage your followers to engage with your content, but it gives you the option to create “funny” posts as well. If you can create funny captions or original content, your post are much more likely to be popular and shared across platforms. The content that is most likely to go viral online is content that makes people laugh.
Social media users tend to be especially entertained by the use of humour by businesses and corporations. This has been clear with examples such as Taco Bell, Netflix, and Old Spice capitalizing on the Internet’s love for witty replies and memes. If your product isn’t interesting itself, you can always market the product second and your brand first. You are more likely to gain followers for being consistently funny than for talking about your product 100% of the time. Keep your online marketing tactics at a healthy mix of informative, funny, and sales posts.
Dollar Shave Club does an excellent job with this kind of marketing. They offer a subscription service which sends razors to your home for a dollar a month. The business model is interesting, but the product is definitely less than glamorous — not to mention, the market for men’s razors is already dominated by a few huge companies. Dollar Shave Club advertises primarily online which is important because it’s an online service. Their ads are successful because they’re entertaining and different. Comments on their YouTube videos say things like “This is how you get people to not click ‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube.” Their ads work because they make people laugh, setting them apart from their competitors.
If you’ve already been creating personal posts, think about ways to increase engagement. You might want to start creating posts which are interesting and different; posts that ask for the input of your consumers. Many social networks provide the option for creating a poll. You can also start contests or start trivia games. To generate more interest in your product, you can ask trivia questions about the invention of your product, its history, or how it’s used. People are often inherently competitive and they love winning. It is often beneficial to hold contests as well, whether they are included with the polls or trivia or separate posts entirely. Think about why your potential consumers would want to engage with your content; what’s in it for them? Offering a coupon code or free product is an excellent way to ensure that your followers have something to gain and actually want to engage with your online brand.
Teach Your Followers
Often, products or services are boring because we don’t know much about them or they’re part of an industry which is hard to understand. You have an advantage here; you’re an expert in your industry! You can use your expertise to teach the general public about your industry or your product in a way they can engage with. Using social media offers a unique opportunity to tell your followers about the industry or the product from your point-of-view. Why is the industry important? What can the product do for them? These posts can be informative and engaging while convincing potential consumers that your product is necessary.
Blue Apron, an online service which delivers fresh groceries and recipes to your door, uses its social media presence to teach their followers about food, wine, and their recipes. As the service advocates learning to cook interesting meals at home, this is the perfect way to market their brand. Their Facebook is especially helpful, from sharing some of their recipes for free to explaining how different spices are used globally. They have even shared infographics; the following about the spice-level of various peppers earned a ton of shares and customer engagement.
Be a Little Crazy
One sure fire way to gain notoriety is by marketing your product in an absurd way. This strategy is not for the faint of heart and it can be risky if unsuccessful. Crazy advertisement have been seen offline from time to time, with advertisers creating absurd commercials that make them unforgettable. We can see this with the popular and strange TV ads for Old Spice and Go Daddy. Go Daddy’s ads are especially interesting because Go Daddy is a boring business — they sell domain names. Their ads don’t usually say anything about what the product is or what the business does, but they get enough attention that viewers will do their own research. Of course, even when your ads are crazy or absurd, they should be inoffensive. You don’t want to lose customers by trying too hard to be interesting. You can replicate some of this absurdity easily using social media — try creating memes or short videos.
Even if your product or service seems dry, there are many ways to use marketing to your advantage. The popularity of social media allows you to create a brand which is far more interesting than the product itself. If you’re having trouble getting (or keeping) attention from potential customers, try adjusting your marketing using some of the tips above!