In the animal kingdom, camouflage is used for two purposes. The first of these is for safety as it enables animals to hide from predators. The second however is used by predators themselves. They use camouflage as a way to hide their approach from their prey when advancing on their next meal. From owls and spiders, to leopards and snakes, predators’ camouflage has evolved to a superior level and enabled their species to survive.
But what does this have to do with B2B marketing? Well, it turns out that camouflage and blending into the background is also a great skill for marketers to have too… especially when it comes to B2B social media marketing.
Marketers have known for quite some time that prospects and leads typically balk at the sight of an obvious sales or marketing message. This buyer disengagement actually forced the creation of content marketing as a way to combat the diminishing returns from outbound marketing. So, with such a tough crowd to engage with, what is the best way to generate interest in a product or service without ‘spooking’ the buyers? The answer is, native advertising.
Native advertising is the placement of ‘advertisements’ in locations and formats that mean they don’t immediately look like ads. For example, articles or updates that appear in prospects’ social media news feeds. Other locations include news sections of websites and even in some printed publications. These ads take the form of the content around them, and therefore slip neatly into the eyeline of the reader without them recoiling at the thought of being marketed to. In most cases, the only way to identify a native ad is a phrase like ‘Advertisement’ or ‘Sponsored’ appearing at the top of the post.
They are not for selling though
Don’t be fooled by the word advertisement though, these posts are not about selling. Having done the hard work and got the post in front of your prospects’ eyes, any obvious sales or marketing messaging will lose their attention straightaway. Like a predator that allows itself to be seen by its prey, you’ll likely come close but ultimately be going home hungry.
The secret to the success of this type of marketing, is blending in. Make sure you create your social media posts to look like any other normal post, and provide a link to a helpful piece of content as opposed to offering a phone number. Ultimately, you want your prospects to see the ad, engage with it, and even click the link without realising it’s a sponsored marketing post. It’s unlikely that they’ll make it this far without seeing ‘sponsored’ on the post, however if you’ve kept it non-salesy, then they are a lot more likely to engage.
If you’d like to see how native advertising can become a powerful weapon in your hunt for more leads, sales, and revenue, speak to us today on 02392 314498 or email [email protected]