Reading Time: 4 minutes

  The fact is, smart marketers combine their advertising and marketing efforts all the time.  I talk with business owners and marketers that talk about making sure their “branding is consistent” across the platforms of TV, Radio and Print.  That’s great!  The problem is, they often tend to leave out Social and Promo when they consider their marketing platforms. The other reason I like to combine these two is for another reason.  Both Social Media and Promotional Products are often discounted as advertising media that “doesn’t work.”  It’s even funnier to me to see that both of these advertising venues are discounted for the opposite reasons.  Social is too new (for some people) and Promo is too old.  Of course as you might have guessed, I don’t subscribe to the theory that either of these advertising platforms “don’t work.”  They both do (quite well actually) if you know what you are doing. As Social Media guru and superhero Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Just because you can’t shoot a three pointer doesn’t mean your basketball is broken.”  Some people who are marketing with Social and Promo are throwing stuff out there without “spending any time in the gym.”  Give First StrategiesOne reason I think Social Media and Promotional Products are great allies is they are both most effective when utilized in a “give first” strategy.  As Gary points out in his latest book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” a business that wants to be successful on Social Media needs to be willing to spend some time to develop credibility first.  They need to add value by sharing information, humor, insight, and engagement (Jabs) to their audience.  Only after doing this for a period of time does the business earn the right to effectively ask for the sale (Right Hook).  The same is often true with the very best promotional product campaigns!  The very best promotional campaigns are often built around branded products that are functional.  They are valued!  Although they are marketing tools for sure, when they are done right they are often perceived as gifts to the potential customer.  The business marketer “gives first” to provide value.  Then they have the chance to ask for the sale! Targeted and NativeSuccessful marketers on Social Media are wise on telling their story in the native tongue of the Social Platform they are using.  Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest (just to name a few) each are different and distinct platforms.  You need to communicate on these platforms “natively” or you have the real opportunity to turn people off.  However, if you do speak “natively” and hit the mark with your message, you have the chance to make a big impact.Similarly, you have the same challenge and opportunity with Promotional Products.  When done right, you can reach right into the homes, offices and lives of your exact target market.  But if you don’t give real thought to where and when your promotional products will be used, you might miss the mark before you even have the chance to tell your story! Pump Up PostsSo if both formats are “give first” formats, I suggest you get them to work together.  When working with your social format, you certainly provide value by sharing appropriate articles, fun pictures, and informational videos.  Those are great.  But what about simply sharing the opportunity for branded swag?  What about this on your next Facebook post?  Take a picture of a staff member holding a cold beverage in a branded Coolie.  Then post: “We will send a FREE Drink Coolie to the first 100 people to comment on this post!”That is a great way to provide value AND it nearly ensures customer engagement!  Yes, you will incur some cost on a promotion like this.  But you create a great deal of buzz within your audience AND likely increase your audience for the next time you want to try to make a sale.  Oh, and you have created a great bond with the customer (or future customer) and given them a lasting token to remember you by. People still by from people (and brands) that they like.  Don’t let anyone tell you different. Affecting Human BehaviorMarketing has been, and still is, about influencing human behavior, right?  That is where combing promotional and social really can create some magic.  Last year, at Hasseman Marketing, we stumbled across a strategy that helped us increase our social presence…nearly by accident.  In promoting “Promotional Products Work Week” we decided to increase awareness through our Facebook page.  We wanted to promote the idea of how Promotional Products can help in business (sound familiar?) AND increase our presence.  So we quite simply (and crudely) posted a picture of a staff member (Dustin) in our office holding a cute stuffed puppy (with a branded handkerchief around its neck).  We said “We are having a contest today!  For a chance to win this puppy you need to do three things:  1) Like our page, 2) Share this picture and 3) like or comment on the picture. Wow.  The results were amazing.  That one post is still one of the largest number of impressions we have ever received on Facebook (with no ad bucks spent) AND we increased the number of likes on our page by 40%.  No you can’t do this sort of thing all of the time.  Yes it could be obnoxious.  But the results were incredible.  It just goes to show you, promo affects human behavior!  So work to provide value to your clients in both the Social Media world and the Promotional realm.  It will pay off!  But if you can combine them, you can Super Charge the effect!