Do you run what might be considered a "boring" business? Think you can't make a meaningful impact on social media? Think again!
Just because you're not a sexy fashion company or trendy coffee shop doesn't mean that you can't draw inspiration from other "more fashionable" businesses and apply their ideas to your own content marketing, or conjure up some more unique ways to draw attention to your brand.
In this blog post, I'll show you 5 examples of brands who have innovated in the "boring" business space on social media, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.
1. Ronseal - Slow marketing
Ronseal specialises in paint, varnishes, and other products that help protect people's garden fences, decking, furniture, and stuff like that. Aware that it's products aren't the most exciting, and jumping on the craze for "slow television", it produced a video that showed - in real time - a man painting a fence with one of its paint products.
The video originally aired on television - taking up a whole ad break - but has also been shared to social media. The jarring nature of the promotion caught people's attention, and provided Ronseal with a great deal of exposure.
“It’s got nothing you would associate with a normal TV advert and that in itself is intriguing,” the creative agency behind the ad, said. “It’s about stealing viewers’ attention back at a time when their are hundreds of channels and so many different screens to look at. There’s not much happening – it’s a man painting a fence, drinking from a cup of tea with a dog barking in the background – but it sucks you in.”
Slow promotions won't work for every brand -not least because, if everyone does it, the novelty would quickly wear off, making the campaign less impactful. But if the mood would suit your brand message, then it's well worth considering.
2. Charmin - humour
You wouldn't think there's a lot of mileage in bathroom matters, but Charmin continues to innovate when it comes to market its product - toilet paper - on social media. It concentrates on making light of what is often a subject that people don't like to talk about, in a fun and conversational way. In the example above, Charmin teases that its paper is so soft, it can replace the pillow you sleep on.
Summarising its approach to content marketing on social media, Charmin's social media team told Social Media Today:
“At the end of the day, it boils down to authenticity. Define what your brand stands for and your voice. Don’t try to be something you’re not. It may be humor and entertainment, or it could be informative or educational. Understand the nuances of the different platforms and your community and how your brand is represented in each.”
3. PG Tips - newsjacking
PG Tips is a British tea brand, whose mascot, Monkey, has fronted the company since 2006. Tea-drinking being so linked to British culture, the brand is perfectly placed to associate itself with events of national importance. 2016 marks the Queen's 90th birthday, so PG Tips used the opportunity to start a sing-a-long of Happy Birthday on social media. And, of course, a mascot is a much more emotive representation of the brand than a tea bag! It's a good example of the way that your brand can attach itself to something bigger than itself, a culturally significant event or other, to garner some extra attention.
4. Geico - providing value
Ask anyone to suggest a boring business type, and insurance will probably be close to the top of their list. GEICO knows that gong heavy on the insurance chat won't endear an audience on social media, so it instead focuses on providing education and value in links to its blog post - like in the example above, providing practical advice for fans in an area related to its service.
GEICO does mix in promotion of its products within social posts, but mostly leaves the "hard sell" to a small mention at the end of its blog posts (pictured above). The idea being that readers will be more interested and inclined to click after receiving lots of helpful information, from a company that clearly demonstrates that it knows what it is talking about.5.
5. Transferwise - relatable
Some of the most affecting posts on social media are ones that make the viewer say, "Aha, that's me, too...". Transferwise is a business that helps people wire money worldwide without the fees of some big banks, and it knows that touting the benefits of their service won't work for every post. Joe Cross, Head of Consumer Marketing at TransferWise was quoted by Seedcamp as saying that "too often, startups talk about rational benefits of their products, whereas emotional hooks are much more powerful."
As a more subtle way to promote its brand and encourage them to sign up, it produces videos like the one above - asking people from around the world what they know about other countries. It loosely relates to the service Transferwise offers and a strand of video content that has exploded in popularity in recent years, thanks to sites like Buzzfeed.
Over to you
Are you a "boring" brand that has found success on social media, or have these strategies inspired you to think differently about how you will market your business on social media? Let me know in the comments below!
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.