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Smoky Mountains

Facebook has been a challenging venue for marketers and advertisers ever since it started really getting popular in 2009. At that time, it was clear that it was the social network to beat and the company started trying to cash in with different types of advertising options. Most of them failed miserably for the same reason that many marketers continue to fail today: people go to Facebook to be entertained, not to be the recipient of ads.

Today, it’s getting easier. People are more accepting of ads. A lot of it can be attributed to the way that Facebook has handled their promoted posts. They have done an excellent (some would say Draconian) job of keeping messages off of news feeds that are too promotional. Between the manual vetting they do of ads and the 20% text rule they apply to images, they’ve been able to keep a relatively strong balance between letting advertisers get their message out and keeping their users happy through minimized spam.

When it comes to putting out a message that resonates, that users can enjoy while still getting the promotional message out, businesses (local ones in particular) should consider adding a touch of fun and flair to their posts. In the example above, the goal of the car dealership in question is to promote their oil change special. There are a couple of different ways to go about doing this. They can make it a Facebook offer which can be very effective if the special is a true Facebook-only special. They could make it an event, but they would have to really make it a true event for that to work and few people would consider car maintenance an event. They could be direct – post about the special and throw some ad money at it. This is not recommended as the negative sentiment would murder the page’s EdgeRank.

In this case, they added the localized and timely flair of focusing on a wonderful aspect of living by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s spring and people are thinking about what they’re going to do when school is out, when vacation time comes, and when the weather is in a state of awesomeness that they can venture forth and enjoy the world. The message is clear and ends with the “pitch”:

“Spring in Waynesville, NC. You know what that means, right? Time to plan a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“Before heading out, make sure your ride is in “Mountain Ready” condition. Here’s an oil change special just for your trip…”

By positioning it in a way that takes a positive aspect of local life and applying the marketing message at that point, it allows for the post to flourish. Even though the page itself has around 700 fans, it was liked by 80 people, shared by 3, and commented on by several. Branding was achieved. Positive sentiment was achieved. The link to the special itself on their website received a nice amount of clicks. Most importantly, the message was seen by around 10,000 locals.

There’s a fine line between tricking people into interacting with a post to click on an advertisement and actually engaging with them on their terms and getting the message to them as a result. Using local flair is one of the easiest ways to make this happen.

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