It’s a parody, but it’s not much of a stretch. Agony in black and white are hallmarks of the infomercial/direct-response commercial, and they’ve been used to sell everything from carpet cleaners to blankets with sleeves. I don’t mean to knock this method. If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t see commercials like this. But, to say this method works across the board would be incorrect as well.
These types of ad follow a similar pattern:
- Create a problem
- Provide the solution
- Create urgency
While this works in a minute long commercial with a captive audience — usually channel flippers who have settled on an unplanned program (i.e. non-DVR’d) — you shouldn’t apply this same strategy to your social networks. The relational currency is totally different.
It’s about relationship
You don’t have to hard sell your widgets on Facebook! You don’t have to do it. If you are friends with someone on a social network, chances are it’s because there is some sort of relationship there. They accepted you, either because they know you, they know of you, you have mutual friends, or they really like what you’re all about.
You have the foot in the door already. There is some interest. You don’t have to beg for attention. Rather than cultivate problems and solutions, talk about ideas. Ask questions, and engage responses. Get to know people who have shown an interest in you. Build relationships.
TV is a one-way relationship. You don’t get to have a conversation with a commercial – at least not one the commercial can hear. You get direct feedback on social networks. It’s a two way street. If people aren’t engaging with you on Facebook, yelling louder or more often is not the solution. In fact, it’s the fast lane to getting blocked or un-friended.
Ask questions. Ask for ideas. Share and comment on news stories related to your field. You’ll build relationships. When you’ve established that kind of bond, you won’t have to hard sell, or even bait and switch. People will come to you, because they know you and trust you.