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Social Media Experiences are the New Form of Advertising

Traditional Advertising Makes It Hard to Create Emotionally Engaging Experiences

Traditional Advertising isn’t dead, and probably never will. Just because TV was invented, doesn’t mean that people still don’t listen to the radio. With these forms of advertising you were able to reach a large audience and most it was about pushing messages onto the public.

Then the birth of social media came along, and it was now possible to reach large audiences in a more economical and consistent manner, especially to reach a local audience. Yes, you could advertise about your small business in the newspaper or put up large posters around town at bus stops, but this still makes it had to create an emotionally engaging experience with customers.

It’s About Engaging Experiences

In a day and age where millennials and Gen Y’s are expecting more engagement advertising and engagement marketing, it’s only a matter of time before traditional advertising will move to the geriatric ward. As young consumers become adults, we’ve become desensitized to push advertising that’s not entertaining, engaging or helpful to us.

We’re now looking to have experiences and entertainment mixed in with our advertisements. Seriously, we don’t mind, that’s why we enjoy watching the Old Spice commercials on You Tube . Then there’s the next step, creating actual experiences with your social media community.

Yelp Creates Experiences for Thousands of Users Every Month

Yelp is the master of such promoting for their website. Almost every month Yelp holds a Yelp Elite party in their major markets to encourage their users to continue to write reviews and to revisit the website again and again. This is no easy feat to do with so many different social media network sites out there. They understood very early on that by creating experiences for their most loyal social media users, that they would earn their loyalty. But the fact is that they brought the community together through the feeling of the experiences being earned.

Create a Twitter Scavenger Hunt

Another great way for small businesses to create memorable experiences is to start a Twitter treasure hunt that gives away your product. Place your product (or an item that is uniquely yours) all over the city for people to find. Reveal the locations of these items at different times of the day through Twitter and Facebook. For example, if you run a retail shoe store, you may offer a free pair of shoes to the person who finds the item located on a specific street corner, and whomever is the first to find it gets to keep it. The famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk has executed this strategy very well.

There’s a Whole New Level of Scavenger Hunts with Mobile Apps

Catch the Flash campaign is one of my favourite campaigns, because it was able to combine social media, digital and traditional media (they used radio promotion) to get people to try to catch the runners all over the city to help promote Nike’s Vapour Flash Jacket. There were 50 runners in total wearing the jackets numbered 1-50, and Nike provided an app that would allow participants to know where the runners were because the runners had a GPS tracker attached to them. The event took place at night, where people had to use flash photography and catch the number on the back of the runners. The person with that had the most photos of the different flash runners won a 10,000 Euro platinum bar.

Some of the best social media engagement we’ve gotten for a restaurant was through creating a unique experience for one of their loyal customers. She tweeted a few days before she was landing at YVR airport that she would enjoy having a breakfast pizza at 8 am in the morning. It started off as a bit of a joke. But as the marketing agency representing the pizzeria, we took the initiative and delivered a great pizza to her, and she and her best friend loved it! Here’s the post detailing it all.

Good marketing and advertising is about spending your marketing budget wisely. While a newspaper or printed advertisement MAY get the attention of your target market, social media campaigns with proper experiences can cost as little as a giveaway. If you feel that you don’t have the social media following to conduct such experiences yourself, pair up with a local online celebrity to help promote your particular social media experience.

Put back the social in social media and get people involved with your brand. One of the newest trends to get people to have experiences with your brand is through gamification. Something you’ll definitely see much more of in the next 20 years.

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."