Yes, you can get FREE advertising by piggy-backing off of bigger brands.
No, it’s not stealing… It’s called social media 🙂
As a small business owner or startup founder, it’s imperative to understand the power of social media and how you can leverage it to get free advertising for your brand.
I’m going to show you an example:
The last few days, we’ve all been captivated by “that unicorn drink at Starbucks.” I’m assuming that many of you fall into the same boat as Michelin Maynard who gave into the temptation of the “limited edition pink and blue drink topped with a mountain of whipped cream and sprinkled with ‘fairy powders.'”
The pink drink has undoubtedly dominated the social media sphere the last few days with mixed reviews of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Starbucks absolutely knew social media would go wild with this drink, but they’ve also pumped a pretty penny into the marketing efforts of the ‘Instagrammable‘ drink.
Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, marketers like myself love brands that cause the Internet to fight.
Fighting means conversation, and conversation means eyeballs. It’s as simple as that.
So how do small business owners capitalize on marketing stints like this from bigger brands who have the more money to play? Use social media (because it’s free) to lead your audience from another brand’s piece of buzz-worthy content to your brand. That’s exactly what this local business owner did in Spokane, WA:
Why does this “organic marketing” like this work so well for a small-town shop?
Because when you align your message with the correct audience at the right time, you get results. Here’s how Elizabeth did just that:
Create a Compelling Message
As organic as marketing gets, Elizabeth commented on a trending article from local news station’s Facebook page.
She didn’t need to use an eye-catching graphic or a witty caption. All she did was post a raw, authentic photo of someone enjoying the “original” unicorn frap, a short caption with a lot of exclamation points, and created an emotional appeal by calling users to help “keep small businesses alive.”
The message was short, to-the-point, and just playful enough that it doesn’t come across as salesy.
Know Your Audience
Especially if you’re a small business owner or a company just getting off of the ground, you should spend ample amounts of time understanding your target audience inside and out.
While it could’ve just been posted on a whim without thinking of who would see it, Elizabeth nailed this post by attracting the exact type of customer that Sweet Frostings wants — loving moms who use their kids as an excuse to go get sweets.
Where is the attention of these loving moms? Facebook.
Not only Facebook, but in particular they love to frequent the Facebook pages of local news stations as it’s a way for them to stay informed in their community and be heard by local authorities.
In addition, Spokane’s tight-knit community loves to support local businesses. By reminding the audience to support local, Elizabeth creates an appeal that Starbuck’s can’t. This serves as a good reminder for marketers to always play to your strengths.
The audience clearly enjoyed Elizabeth’s comment as it garnered over 20 likes in a matter of a few hours on top of a reply from the news station itself.
Timing is Everything
Good marketers don’t guess; they rely on data to drive their decisions.
In Elizabeth’s case, she took advantage of one of the most talked about topics of the week to garner some local attention.
At a time where everyone is going half-crazy over a drink named after a mythical creature, Elizabeth took the opportunity bring attention to a more important matter: Why would you pay an arm and a leg at Starbucks when you can get the same drink for cheaper and help stimulate your local economy?
As a result, Elizabeth earned Sweet Frostings a free piece of media that has (at the time of this writing) equated to an extra 214 Likes, 36 comments, and 31 shares on Facebook for the brand. Worth the 30 seconds it took to post the comment? I think so!
If you’re a small fish in a big pond, I encourage you to get gritty with your marketing because if you don’t, the shop down the street will.