How to make your social media promotions stand out

Most of you reading this article might be already using social media to promote your business, products and services. However many a times, your content gets lost in the ocean of posts out there.

Unless you have tens of thousands of followers, you will not get a significant traffic to your website or blog. So to get the best results of your social media promotions, you need to stand out in the crowd.

For this, I propose the ‘AEIOU Xtra E’ framework, which will help you improve the reach and impact of your social media presence.

Before I start, let me confess that this framework has been created by one of my professors at IIM Bangalore (Rakesh Godhwani), with an intention to improve communication skills and presentation. And I have put together on my thoughts around it on how to use it to explode your social media marketing efforts.

Also, most of the techniques apply to your other forms of promotion – such as TV ads. Hence, I will be drawing examples from those as well. Further, many of these examples are in the Indian context. I will provide relevant links for you to go and read about them further.

So here we go.

Each letter in the AEIOU Xtra E framework stands for one element that will help enhance your content.

A – Attention

E – Examples

I – The ‘‘I factor’’ or credibility

O – Objective

U – The “U factor” or connect

Xtra E – Emotional appeal

Let us look at each of these elements in detail. I will also list down at least one example under each, so that you are able to relate to it better.

Attention

According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2015, our attention span is declining. From 2000 to 2015, it has reduced from an average of 12 to 8 seconds, which is less than that of a gold fish. There are people who try to prove that this is a myth. But it takes mere common sense to understand that it is difficult to grab anybody’s attention in this world.

Your social media promotion needs to address this factor. You got only the first few seconds to generate enough interest in the audience to continue reading or viewing your posts. So, the beginning of all your posts need to be so compelling that the person sees value in watching or reading it till the end.

There are multiple ways in which you can do this.

1. The ‘story’ tactic

Storytelling is a very powerful tool to grab attention. Many brands like Warby Parker, Nike, P&G etc. use brand stories to improve the effectiveness of their brand promotion. You can look at some of the most interesting brand storytelling examples here.

As an example, have a look at a LinkedIn post I wrote a couple of weeks back.

Here, I started by saying that I am going to tell a story (not that you have to start with the same line). And the next few lines are tempting enough for the readers to click the link and go to the full article.

So think about what story you have to tell others.

2. The ‘trending topic’ technique

This is one of the most powerful attention catching methods in social media, especially in Twitter and Facebook. This involves relating your campaign or posts to a trending topic. Now you see a lot of ads in India themed around the Lok Sabha elections. The series of ‘Tota-people’ ads news provider Dailyhunt is airing now is an example.

You can attempt to create promotional content that are based on any trending topic. Make sure that you relate it to your business the right way.

3. The ‘seasonal’ technique

These are promotions centered on seasons or time of the year. More umbrella ads during the rainy season and air conditioner ads are examples. You also see a lot of ads in India based on IPL (Indian Premier League), like the ones aired by food delivery company Swiggy.

But you don’t necessarily have a product that could have a spike in demand every season, if not one season. So how do you leverage this technique in your social media campaigns?

Let us try to do this using an example.

Assume your company sells invertors. And it is the IPL cricket season. How can you create promotional content connecting both? You could say that your invertors will ensure continuous electricity supply so that you don’t miss out any IPL action.

In short, you need to design your promotional efforts in a way that quickly catches attention. And it is a powerful tool to make your social media campaigns stand out.

Example

You could have an awesome eye-catching content. But, if your promotion doesn’t relate to everyday life, your audience might lose interest.

And there is nothing better than using examples to make things look simple, and draw real life parallels.

Let us look at the different types of examples you could use.

1. Real life experiences

These are your personal experiences or the experiences of an employee (if you are a business), that could give a boost to your social media posts.

Following is a LinkedIn post I recently wrote:

The intention of this post was to emphasize the importance of customer experience in day to day business, especially in the service sector. But if I just listed down a few bullet point on this, do you think content would look attractive?

Instead, I shared a personal experience that everybody could relate to, and the post got more than 5000 views (which is decent enough for somebody like me, who doesn’t have a huge following in LinkedIn).

2. Success stories

Success stories are intended to inspire others. And if your brand associates itself with success, confidence, inspiration etc. this is a very effective technique to use.

However, that is not necessary. You can start creating a brand image built on success and self-realization. So how to do it?

First identify a success story your business could relate to. Say, you are into selling swimsuits. So you could leverage the story of how Michael Phelps made it big through sheer determination and hard work.

You could either post inspiring stories regularly on your social media pages, or create a video ad that is themed around the Michael Phelps story.

3. Consumer experience

This involves sharing examples of consumers who are happy with your products and services, and used them to achieve something.

This could be in the form of customer testimonials, or a simple story you create around a consumer’s experience. The social media ads done by Indian online rummy gaming platform Rummycircle.com, is a good example of such promotion.

The beauty of this campaign  is that they have used real players – and not celebrities or influencers – to spread the word about the platform.

So see what kind of examples suit your business the best. Promote them in a way that is tempting for the audience to buy your products and services.

The “I factor” (credibility)

You need much more than just creative content to look different in social media. According to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, to be successful in online marketing in 2019 and beyond, you need to create a brand.

A brand buys you credibility. It could be your brand as a business, or as an individual. We will look at both business branding and personal branding separately here.

Business branding

As the term suggests, this involves branding your products and services. Recently, most of the social media platforms have started promoting the content of brands more, owing to increasing fake news and incorrect information. In an effort to build trust among their users, they look for credible and reliable content.

You should account for this change in your social media promotions. Instead of posting a series of content that are not related with each other, try to be consistent by following a pattern. Make your content easily identifiable in the web.

For this, you can make use of logos, similar taglines & hashtags, address similar type of audience, and follow the same theme in all the content across different social media.



Let me explain this with a few examples.

Assume you are into selling energy drinks. And inspiration is one the themes of your promotion. Say, you post one inspirational story every week. To ensue consistency, you can use a similar structure across all your posts. Maybe you can start the post with similar sentences. Have a look at the sample below:

“Are you lacking inspiration? Are you struggling to stay committed to your goals? Then you should learn how Mr. X beat the odds to become a successful entrepreneur”.

You could begin all your social media posts in a similar way. The type of content you post might be entirely different. But you get the intent here. Your brand becomes more recognizable among the ton of competition. This improves the visibility of your content as well.

Another way to stay consistent is to create video ads with a same theme. Have a look at the series of ads created by the online fantasy cricket gaming platform Dream11. They have a common tagline “ye game hai mahaan” (this is a glorious game). And all of their ads follow this theme with a different setting and situation.

So make sure your business creates an identity in social media by creating a brand that is unique. This will help improve your credibility over time. The more credibility you establish, better will be the acceptance and popularity of your content.

Personal branding

One of the most unutilized avenues of branding is personal branding. Employees are an asset to any business. But most of us see them as resources to get the work done. What we fail to realize is that, many of them have a decent social following. Many have an active life outside of work. Some post consistently on social media platforms, opine on common issues, and write articles related to your industry.

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Or if you are an entrepreneur, you maintain a good relationship with other entrepreneurs or business professionals. In short, many employees have created a personal brand, that could be leveraged. So use them to push your content to improve your reach.

If you are a small business, which has only a very few employees, encourage them to start building a personal brand. You might want to identify the right people who are enthusiastic about this.

Be it business branding or personal branding, the idea is to leverage both to establish a credibility for your business on the social web. Endorsing your products and services becomes much easier once you build a good brand image.

Objective

This is something many of us don’t see as important in social media promotion. Identifying what we plan to achieve through our promotional efforts is crucial. It will help in the following

  • Create the best fit content.
  • Decide the best platform(s) and time of posting.
  • Narrowing down the target audience, especially if you are going for a paid promotion (like boosting in Facebook).

You need to identify the primary objective of your promotion (business objective), and then break it down to smaller parts (marketing objectives).

Ask yourself the following questions before you go ahead and define your primary objectives and marketing objectives.

  • What’s the business’s strategy for the upcoming year and beyond?
  • How far is the company ready to invest its resources in social media promotional efforts, in terms of tools, technology and people?

Once you identify the business objective and marketing objectives, distribute your resources (both human and nonhuman) to finish related tasks.

Let us try to understand how to define your objectives through an example an example.

Assume you are an event management company, majorly conducting events for corporates. And your priority is to get into term contracts to manage all the events in the term period, instead of managing single events. Following are examples of the business objective and marketing objectives.

Business objective

Generate 20% of the leads for the coming year from social media.

Marketing objectives

  1. Make social media content more professional and appealing to corporate prospects
  2. Improve activity in Pinterest and Twitter
  3. Actively reach out to potential partners such as wedding boutiques, wedding convention centers etc. to promote your business

Here, your marketing objectives are all aligned to the vision of generating 20% leads through social media.

Let us look at a real social media campaign example – Under Armour’s ‘You are so pretty’ campaign. Under Armour (UA) manufactures footwear, sports and casual apparel, and is the biggest competitor to Nike in US.

Watch the video below, and try to identify the business objective and marketing objectives.

Here is what I think are the objectives of the campaign:

Business objective

Improve brand awareness among women and position UA as a women-friendly brand.

Marketing objectives

  1. Put together a campaign with inspirational content
  2. Attract women through empowerment and breaking stereotypes

There is no one answer to this. You could come up with more than one business objective. The whole idea of this exercise was to point your thinking in the right direction. So be clear about your goals to ensure you create social media campaigns that stand out.

The “U factor” (Connect)

This is about making your campaign relevant to the target audience. The audience should be able to relate the campaign with their personal or professional life. To put it the simple way, your campaigns should answer one question form your audience: “What’s in it for me?”

Connecting with your audience is extremely important. One of the reasons being the attention span factor we spoke about before. Also, it might as well have a negative impact on your brand value, if it the connect is not established.

Now, there are majorly two ways in which ‘create’ the connect factor:

  1. The utility of the product/service: This is simple and straightforward. Your products and services fulfill an unmet need in the consumer market. GoPro, a US based manufacturer of action cameras is a classic example for such a product. And their social media campaigns were targeted at youngsters and teens, who like to show and tell.
  2. Brand association: Brands like UA and Nike are examples for this. Most of their loyal customers say that they associate themselves with the brand. Because they feel stronger and more inspired while using their products.

Think about how your business can connect with your customers and prospects. Keep in mind this connect factor when you prepare your social media campaign.

Let us try to do this exercise for a hypothetical company. Name it Congur. Assume it is into the business of selling copies and writing pads. How would Congur incorporate the connect factor into their promotions in this case?

To do this, first Congur needs to identify the type of consumers. They may categorize them into students and professionals, with students being the predominant consumers. For our exercise, let us take students.

In the case of students, customers and consumers are mostly different, especially for school kids. Parents buy such items for them. So the connect should be established with students as well as parents.

Given this, Congur’s social media promotion should talk about how important their products are in making studies easy for the kids (helps to connect with parents). To connect with students, they could also talk about the various designs available.

Here, Congur leveraged the ‘product utility’ factor to connect with the customer. Similarly, you could also try the brand association tactic. However, building a brand strong enough to be associated with, takes time. So if you are a relatively new business, try to focus on product utility.

The messaging should clearly reflect in your promotion in order to make the campaign standout. Put some thought into it, and come up with your own way of doing it.

Emotion (Xtra E)

Emotion is one of the strongest ways to communicate. And if you see, most of the viral social media content convey an emotion, be it happiness, love, respect, or any emotion for that matter.

And emotion is not disjoint from the other 5 elements of the framework. Moreover, you need to give a flavor of emotion to all of them.

For example, one of the techniques we discussed to grab initial attention to your social media campaign or post, is to tell a story. And filling that with emotions makes it even better. Have a look at a snippet from one of my LinkedIn posts.

Here I am telling a story that is filled with inspiration. The starting is tempting enough to continue reading. And the body is compelling enough to read till the end. This is a perfect example of a combination of ‘Attention’ and ‘Emotion’.

When it comes to evoking emotions, videos work the best. They are easy to register, and visual in nature. Many large product companies use video ads to connect with the customers through emotion. All of them were very well accepted in social media, and helped improve the brand image of those businesses.

Let us look at some of the best examples of emotional promotion

1.Johnson and Johnson

The ad brings tears to many of our eyes. Johnson & Johnson couldn’t have put the love and affection a mother has for her baby better. It has received 3M+ views in YouTube. Just imagine the reach it has. That’s the power of incorporating emotion into your promotion.

2. Dabur Vatika

Dabur Vatika’s Brave and Beautiful campaign pays respect towards female cancer survivors. The campaign was a success in bringing more awareness about cancer, and letting the world know the emotional turmoil a cancer survivor has to go through.

3. Nescafe

Nescafe’s Staystarted campaign is a work of inspiration. It tells the story of a radio jockey who never gives up, and continues to try till he gets a caller on his 5 am show. Nescafe presents itself as a symbol of freshness and rejuvenation in the ad.

Now that you have seen some of the most impactful emotional storytelling used in social media campaigns, it’s time for you to create one. Following are a few tips on how to create an emotive campaign:

  • If possible, choose a subject that stands for a social cause, like environmental pollution. The Dabur Vatika ad is an example for such.
  • Try to create a scenario to which your product or brand can be easily associated. For example, look at the Nescafe ad. We are able to easily figure out that Nescafe help people to stay fresh and energized.
  • Don’t use emotions for the sake of it, leverage them only if you find them fit to your products and appealing to your social media audience.

So that wraps up my tips on how to make your social media campaign stand out. The AEIOU Xtra E framework is a powerful way to improve the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. Use it wisely to maximize your results. Are you already using any of these in your business or personal promotion? Let me know in the comments section.

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