Ford, Clorox, and Arby's use their media buys to support their social media marketing efforts - and vice versa.
With every passing day, it seems social media becomes more engrained in the media strategist's daily work life. Whereas not long ago our interest in social sites was limited to the advertising options these sites afforded our clients, they are now garnering consideration on a deeper level. Buyers are collaborating closely with social media strategists to create campaigns that cover all key online touch points, and to ensure that the campaign concepts they help to devise and the placements they negotiate extend to consumers on social media sites.
The most challenging part of this newfound relationship is determining how best to correlate one form of advertising with another. Marketers have tried numerous approaches, from using online ads to promote their social media presence to employing social media to promote their site presence online. The one rule of thumb that media strategists should follow is this: the approach you adopt should be motivated by your ultimate objective.
Here's how some major brands have used their media buys to support their social media marketing efforts - and vice versa.
When It's Important to Be "Liked"
When this summer Ford made history by revealing its new 2011 Explorer model exclusively on Facebook instead of at an auto show as per usual, the brand ran banner ads and home page takeovers on sites such as AOL, CNN, Yahoo, and The Washington Post. Because one of Ford's objectives was to secure 30,000 "Likes" prior to the day of the reveal (new fans were rewarded with entry into a contest to win one of the cars), online ads included a Facebook "Like" button with the telltale thumbs up icon.
Simply by including this in the banner creative (which linked to the Ford Facebook page anyway), the brand got the consumer thinking about doing it prior to arriving on the page. Once there, the call to action was already front of mind, and more likely to generate a "Like" than the standard Facebook page button alone.
Building a Social Community Through Banner Ads
The Clorox Company's Clorox Wipes is busy building a product-specific Twitter presence – with a little help from a site partner, that is. The brand has aligned with Real Simple to leverage the publisher's existing Twitter account reserved for special offers from its advertising partners.
Through expandable banners that are currently running on RealSimple.com (along with a print ad in the magazine), Clorox is encouraging consumers to submit their favorite cleaning tips. The author of the 20th tweet each day will be awarded a package of Clorox products, but perhaps equally appealing is the opportunity to be a bigger part of the community site users already know and trust. The Clorox banners read, "Join other Real Simple readers and share your cleaning tips" – copy that clearly affiliates advertiser with publisher and leverages the credibility already inherent to Real Simple magazine.
It's an interesting approach and one that we're likely to see more of from publishers. In essence, Real Simple is lending out its @RS_Offers Twitter handle to advertisers for the purpose of online promotion. In the case of Clorox, banners also include a #CloroxWipes hash tag that allows participants in the tweeting contest to view the cleaning tips that have been submitted by other Real Simple readers.
Using an interactive banner to promote a social campaign in this way is the ideal approach for brands keen on building a relationship with their customers through Twitter. This particular effort flirts with online advertorials, though (probably to be expected from a magazine), and makes one wonder whether Twitter is destined to become a preferred place for marketers to blend editorial content and advertising into one.
Cross-Media Call to Visit Social Sites
Earlier this summer, Arby's launched a cross-media campaign to increase awareness of its limited time Junior Deluxe sandwich. The campaign embraced social media with impressive zeal. In conjunction with the product launch, the company started a Twitter account for the first time (of the major fast-food chains only Burger King has yet to do the same), and also ran a contest exclusive to fans of its Facebook page.
To draw attention to its inaugural Twitter account and Facebook contest, Arby's ended campaign TV spots with a message to "Follow us on Facebook and Twitter." It was the first time the brand had closed its ads with a call to action to engage with Arby's through social media. Brands for whom it's important to drive traffic to the social sites it engages with should be sure to mention these affiliations in their banner ads as well. Because when it comes time to clasp hands with your social media strategists and launch your client's campaign, all parties should know there are few places better suited to promoting a social media presence than in online ads.
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Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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