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Cross-promotion can be an incredibly effective marketing tool for your organization. OR it could be an incredibly ineffective or even harmful one. The difference between these outcomes will boil down to how you go about your cross-promotion; the practices and strategies that you choose to use.
While we could explain how to go about it the right way at this point, it’s always for more fun to point out what not to do. So, what does the cross promotion strategy from hell look like? Let’s take a peek.
Partnering up with a competitor
Who better to partner up with than someone who knows your organization’s product or service inside out? It seems like a fair question. But “knowing your product or service inside out” could limit your potential promo partners to those who are in the same industry – i.e. your competitors. If you have any sort of cross-over with a potential cross-promoting partner they should be instantly struck off your list. Potential profits will be quickly eroded if your cross-promotion efforts highlight another option to your customers.
What you should do: Instead, choose an influential individual or organization that has a need for what you offer or who aligns with your brand persona, and cross-promote with them. Investigating potential social media influencers is a great place to start.
Blanket posting content
So you’ve pulled out a smoking hot blog post fresh from the oven and you’re looking to treat your followers to a slice. So let’s pop a headline on that sucker and cross-post it instantly across all of our platforms, shall we? That’ll be the most efficient way to get the content out there, and will ensure that every one of your followers, no matter which platform they follow you on, will gain access to this piece of magnificence at exactly the same time.
But blanket posting your content, while efficient, is incredibly ineffective. The perfectly constructed post differs for each social platform – some rely heavily on hashtags, some have issues with the reach of third party content, and some, like Instagram, don’t even allow you to post links to blogs at all. And then there’s character limit considerations and the times of the day or week that each platform is at its most active.
What you should do: Take the time to learn the best posting practices for every one of your social platforms, and use this knowledge to form unique individual posts for each. While this will be more time consuming it will make each of your posts exponentially more effective.
Treating your audience like idiots
“Buy this company’s product or service – it’s good” shouts your hired Instagram influencer. “Wow”, thinks the viewer, “this person that I trust really seems to think that this product or service is good. I’ll take 10.” While this might be how you try to explain social media cross promotion to a five-year-old, it doesn’t really translate into the real world.
Social media marketing is all about subtlety and nuance. While the image of a middle aged man in a lab coat was all that was needed to convince people that cigarettes were terrific in the 60s, audiences of today are far more aware – and wary – of paid recommendations.
What you should do: Product placement is a tricky science. It’s best to do it in a delicate and subtle way; without being brash about the nature of the promotion. Your audience aren’t idiots – they’ll almost certainly recognize what is happening, and thus they’ll appreciate it if you respect their intelligence.
In the end, your list of what not to do when it comes to social media cross promotion is fairly self-explanatory. By playing it smart and paying attention to those who do it well you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your cross-promotional labor.