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5 ways ‘pull marketing’ is getting social

If you're like most marketers, you use a mix of outbound and inbound strategies to communicate with customers. The outbound efforts "push" messaging to customers, while inbound naturally "pulls" them in to engage with your content. Nine times out of ten, business leaders would prefer that customers seek them out, instead of having to look for them, but having a pull marketing strategy is easier said than done.

Marketers are used to churning out white papers, reports and e-books to draw in clients. The result is an endless stream of content that's difficult for them to manage strategically and that's challenging for customers to navigate.

Social media gives marketers an opportunity to stand out in a noisy space by using quick, clever and useful commentary that pulls audiences to their content. Here are five social media trends in pull marketing and ways for marketers to make the most of them:

Trend jacking

Whether or not you admit to bingeing on reality shows like "So You Think You Can Dance," the fact is that they're extremely popular and spawn specific interest in subjects from dance to entrepreneurship ("Shark Tank," anyone?).

Savvy social media marketers keep an eye on what delights audiences and find a way to make these as-seen-on-TV interests work for their brands. In the case of the dance craze, Diesel Jeans provides a great example of trend jacking with its popular A-Z of Dance video, which has more than 1.6 million views on YouTube.

Reactive marketing

Find a way to jump in on something newsworthy that will highlight your brand in a clever way. The "lights out" incident during Super Bowl XLVII a few years ago led to a much-hailed example when Oreo tweeted a quick-witted response. That one tweet garnered 545,000,000 impressions. No amount of marketing dollars spent on a Super Bowl TV ad could have definitively produced those results.

How can your business be quick to jump on news hooks? Apart from keeping an eye on events of national significance, monitor trending hashtags and topics on Twitter to identify subjects relevant to your business. Even if a big event like the Oscars or the Super Bowl doesn’t have an obvious connection to your brand, it’s still worth tuning in to what's going on. For example, DiGiorno pizza wittily hopped onto the #TheSoundOfMusicLive hashtag during NBC's live broadcast of "The Sound of Music."

'Cool' hashtags

If your brand fits the "cool" factor, you'll want to take advantage of its social media potential. Jaguar created a campaign centered on the #GoodToBeBad hashtag, using some well-known British “villains” in a Super Bowl commercial that garnered well over 12 million YouTube views. While a campaign like this may fall outside of most marketing budgets, coupling coolness with viral popularity is a winning combination.

Mine social comments

What better way to know what your followers want than to actually listen to them on social media? Marketers should use real-time social media monitoring tools, such as Mention, to learn what people are saying about their brand. They can then create content that continues the dialogue. For example, Rolex saw that many followers were asking about the Roman numerals on the brand's watches. It wrote an informative Facebook post to answer their question and grabbed nearly 120,000 likes.

Create community interest hubs

What are the common characteristics of people who use or follow your brand? What are their interests? The answers yield content that's more engaging for your followers, as opposed to posts that simply highlight information about your brand or products. L.L. Bean tapped into the fact that many of its customers enjoy adventures. The clothing retailer created a Pinterest brand about fishing, camping and other outdoor adventures to capture their attention.

Successful pull marketing via social media is about more than creating good content. It’s about tapping into the psyche of your ideal audience and finding ways to appeal to those interests. It’s about being clever and responsive when notable events occur and using popular fads in an engaging way. How can you make these five trends work for your brand?

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