Digital Marketing Calls for Useful Content (Drop the Ads)

Digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing… seemingly a free for all. I’ve seen full blown sales advertisements, sponsored posts with $100,000 in spend, video pop up ads (the worst) and poorly generated in-house product content.

But what I’ve also seen, clicked, and read through is the complete opposite of all of that. I’ve clicked on the useful information and valuable content that businesses have provided via social media for free. Whether it be a useful article of tips to becoming your own boss, or a video about how to properly cut fruit this summer, when a company offers you company generated content that can improve your life for free you start to relate with and trust that brand. But when you are bombarded with video pop-up ads, sponsored posts, and sales material on your SOCIAL feeds you begin to feel like your FRIENDS are constantly trying to sell you something and that’s just not what social media was meant to be.

Let’s use a few examples of friends that nobody likes on social media:

  1. The Friend that is newly introduced to the latest pyramid scheme! (Insert Picture of Hundreds stacked on their air mattress.
  2. The Friend that is always posting promotional stuff and tagging everyone on their friend list.
  3. The Friend that posts his leftist opinions all over Facebook to make you feel bad about living. Sorry I can’t agree with all your political views.

Business that shoot advertisements in your face are these friends. DON’T BE THESE FRIENDS. They are most likely the one’s late at night in an abandoned park playing Pokémon Go….

Many brands are going to learn the harsh realities of their digital advertising on social media when they start to turn off their current and future customers by force feeding them media on their social media newsfeeds. I am even starting to get sponsored sales pitches via direct message on LinkedIn and Instagram. There is nothing personal about it, nothing social about it, it’s the same few words and bullet points sent to thousands of people.

But the brands who are offering me a list of the top ten beaches to visit this summer or the top ten hiking trails, or those who lend insights on how to make side hustle money (without having to purchase anything) are selling you their knowledge in exchange for your loyalty and brand recognition and that WORKS! What also works is providing your followers/customers with uniquely generated content (photos, video, and interesting visuals) demonstrating your products and services but not making them the focal point. Someone should be saying “wow! That looks interesting” well before they know that you provided or created that content. Your products or services should be secondary to the content. Once you have their attention they will soon find out who provided them with that user experience and they will reward you for that in anticipation of more of it.

So it’s time to ditch traditional advertising methods and to start providing your social followers with content that gives them something back. It may be a lengthier and organic process but you’ll avoid ticking the wrong people off in the process and winning the hearts and minds of many.