Contrarian thought of the day: it’s okay to load your social media with promotional content. In fact, it’s a good thing.
Wait, what? Isn’t that the exact opposite of how we’re supposed to treat social media? Aren’t we supposed to post just-for-your-enjoyment content 4 or 5 times for every one post that includes an ask to do something? Isn’t building engagement on social all about giving more than you get?
Yes! And, no.
Too many of us get hung up on diving content into “promotional” vs. “just because.” don’t think about content that way. That’s how you think about it, as the strategist, designer, or writer.
Instead, think about these two kinds of content:
- Worth reading or watching;
- not worth reading or watching.
For example: take promoting an after-church picnic on Facebook. The conventional approach would entail a post, maybe an event, a picture of some picnicky stuff (a well-designed graphic) and copy about bouncy houses and food and fun for the whole family. It checks the boxes: people know what the event will feature, what kind of event it is, and what they can expect.
What if instead, you posted a picture of two families? Then you introduce them, and tell everyone how great it is that they they’re friends. Or better yet, have them tell everyone: put the story in their words, quotes and all. Then tell people they met at a picnic. And there’s a picnic coming up soon.
Both kinds of content are promoting the event. But they take a completely different approach.
Promotional content can be totally engaging, as long as it’s proof-driven, not pitch-driven.
Another example: promoting a Marriage course or seminar.
Don’t start with a promo pitch, a statistic, or a big idea. Start with a story from the last Marriage Course. Show a picture of a couple that’s not so happy, to stand out from all the other images we see in advertising of happy people. Create some tension. “The kids are gone, and life just isn’t the same at home.” Then tell people how the marriage course isn’t there to make life perfect, just better – for you and your spouse.
Run an AdWords campaign for it with keywords like Marriage, marriage counseling, couples counseling, etc.
In other words, promote it.
There are only two kinds of content: worth engaging with, and not worth engaging with.