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The art of advertising - beyond the billboard

Posted by Sureswipe on 27 January 2017

The year is 2017 and it turns out that we are all juggling our normal jobs while being journalists, marketers, advertisers and everything in between. The invasion of social media has changed the world we live in and taken it online. So what does this mean for your business?

The truth is that people don’t stop to smell the roses or look up at the red light, instead they are looking down at their smartphones engulfed in what everyone else is saying. What this means for your advertising is that your consumer will most likely be looking at your twitter ad or Facebook posts, then up at your billboard or page three of your community newspaper.

The conversation is no longer whether you should be on social media (you must) but rather, how to optimise your social media presence to really connect with your consumer.

Particularly for the more technologically averse, or those only starting to get the hang of social media, this might feel like an overwhelming and daunting task, it isn’t. What has changed is the distribution channel of your message, not the advertising of your business.

In the past, businesses would use your traditional methods to advertise on billboards, in newspaper publications, hand out fliers etc. But even then, word of mouth marketing was undoubtedly the most effective. It definitely took longer to get the same reach as, for instance, a full page advertisement but it did a better job of creating advocates and building a brand.

Recent statistics based on Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report showed that 92% of consumers believe and trust in recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. When it comes down to it, the most effective form of advertising is the one that consumers advocate and this will ultimately drive the sales and growth of your brand. We would most likely try out the restaurant that was recommended to us by our friend or colleague, before the sultry Television ad.

See more on Nielsen’s study here:

What is social media if not word of mouth advertising in its purest form? When people want to complain about their cellphone network or the terrible service they received, they don’t bother with the call centre or ask for the manager, they immediately post this to their Facebook timeline. The same goes for praising your businesses products or great service. The trick with harnessing the mammoth of word of mouth on social media is making sure it is tailored to your audience and that it’s authentic.


Listen to what your audience is talking about, what makes them tick, their favourite music, research and understand what it is they’re engaging with. Then listen to what they have to say about your brand and take the consult into consideration. Be a presence in your fan’s lives, when they tweet you, respond in a real way. What people really want from brands they love is to feel and know that they matter too.


If you want your advertising to work you need to create experiences that are worthy of being passed on to the next person. You need to give people a reason to talk about you. The key is great communication about your amazing products, advice, cat memes (those funny animated or motivating images) or whatever it is that brings you closer to your fan base. Simply give people more without asking for something in return.

If you really speak with and not at your consumers, they will speak even louder about you and become the true advertising resource for your business.

Topics: advertising, marketing, Mastering Marketing and Promotions, word-of-mouth

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