Push and pull strategies are very dominant in the social media industry- and we may not even realize it.
The push strategy is used when a company or brand is looking to push out their product, information, name, service, etc to a general audience. You’re putting information out there passively, and making it available for those who want it. It’s not awfully targeted or “salesy.”
The pull strategy is the more aggressive one involving target advertising and engagement- encouraging users to interact and want what you’re offering. Twitter is actually (in my opinion) one of the only places where a strong pull strategy can co-exist happily without making people want to throw themselves off a cliff.
Push-Pull in Social Media
Twitter is the prime example of where both strategies can exist, hand in hand. Many of the brands you follow are using both a push and pull strategy to engage their followers and also reach a small targeted group of people at the same time. The lines are becoming blurry with social media because there’s always a little of both personal selling and information- and the demand for your brand or product can get skewed.
For instance, the Sears Blue Crew on Twitter has a strong pull strategy here because they’re making use of the hashtags #sears and #tools, which is targeting those who may be following that hashtag as well as tweeting out a link to the tool itself with promotional copy.
Another pull strategy they’re using is targeting those who are seeking help or advice in electronics shopping. I had sent out a tweet into the twitteverse looking for advice on an HD camera. A few minutes later, I get this tweet back:
Our good old friends at the Super Bowl are definitely going after a hard pull strategy. If you were following them at all the past few days, you’ll notice that they’ve been using the hashtag #NFLXSHOP and #NFLX.
By using this hashtag in particular tweets, they’re actually targeting a tight demographic that is following that tag in particular. They’re purposely placing themselves in a position where they can be found by those specifically following #NFLXSHOP and #NFLX and creating interest around those hashtags.
There are also many ways to buy promotions with Twitter to help your marketing be effective. Are these push or pull? The lines are kind of blurred here because sometimes these promoted or sponsored items are highly targeted and sometimes they’re not.
I would consider this a push strategy because it’s reaching an extremely broad audience and isn’t very targeted at all. It’s putting a promoted trend out there, for the world to see, to spark some curiosity.
According to a study shown on briansolis.com, people actually tend to act in a way that shows they aren’t affected or intrigued by promoted tweets, trends or accounts. 37% out of a sample size of 103 have said that they’ve clicked a promoted trend to read more about it- and 56% didn’t. Promoted trends seem to have a higher success rate out of everything else, and I think this is because people are naturally curious when a promoted trend pops up.
It’s almost guaranteed that people will be having a conversation about it- whether it be something as small as, “Why on earth is this trending?” or something with a high reaction rate, such as when “RIP Justin Bieber” was trending and everyone was going crazy.
So is this effective? I would say decently so- however you have to consider working a promoted trend into your budget and find a way to gauge its effectiveness before putting money into it.
I consider sponsored tweets both a push and pull strategy. It’s mainly a pull strategy because you’re (hopefully) targeting the market you’re hoping to gain interest from, but it’s also a push strategy because you’re putting it out there and you actually have no idea whether the users on the receiving end are interested in your product- you’re essentially targeting them without if they’re interested in you. You also have to consider how quickly your sponsored tweet might get pushed down and whether it’s face time is effective enough.
I would consider Ad.ly a push strategy. If you’re using a celebrity to promote your brand through a tweet, you’re pushing that to a broad audience (since their followers may or may not be interested in your brand… it’s not targeted at all) and it’s using the celebrity as a vehicle to promote, not necessarily target and advertise.
The Snoop D-O-Double G may be endorsing Toyota, but is this tweet reaching the best audience to do this? Yes, they may become interested in Toyota because a celebrity endorsed it, but how many will actually act and possibly convert?
Facebook is a little bit easier to define than Twitter.
Unlike Adwords (a pull strategy because ads are based on user searches) Facebook advertising is a push strategy. Brands and companies are targeting Facebook users according to their data, and sending out a message in hopes of reaching them. Sometimes they’re really off, and sometimes they’re dead on. Other times, they’re just weird.
You can pretty much sum me up in a few sentences here, according to how I’m being targeted on Facebook. I’m not married, I love Robert Downey Jr. (he was in Sherlock Holmes for those of you who live under a rock) and I had SEO in my previous job title. And while all of these might be of interest to me (which means they were actually spot on with their targeting) it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll click them.
According to the above stats, courtesy of InsideFacebook, 53.5% of users don’t mind ads (and might possibly click them) but only 6.2% like them or actively show interest in them. 40.3% dislike them. Just because a user dislikes them, however, it doesn’t necessarily stop them from being interested and clicking the ad- it merely means they don’t appreciate being targeted but what you’re advertising may still interest them.
Facebook apps are a pull strategy. You’re generating interest in users when you put out a Facebook app. You’re putting something out there, and users will interact and provide data to you because they’re interested and want to. You’re not hardcore sellings your users into using your app. The majority of your audience probably already “likes” your page, so the app is targeted towards those who are exposed to your brand already. Not to mention, you can interact with the app.
And last, but certainly not least:
Foursquare Promoted Venue
For those social media lovin’ Super Bowl fans out there, I’m sure you hopped on Foursquare and noticed something. Yes, Super Bowl was a promoted venue on there- allowing for a virtual check in and the ability to get badges for your team by shouting their name out after check in.
I’d consider this a push and pull strategy; push because it’s not very targeted (just like the promoted trends that Twitter does) and it pushed out there as a promotional message. But then, the pull strategy comes into play because it’s offering the team badges for those who shout and participate.
So, to sum all this up… social media is kind of a blurred line when it comes to whether a push or pull strategy is most effective and even more so when it comes to what tactics are TRULY push and TRULY pull. Social media is so interactive and has so many facets to it, that I think traditional push and pull strategies will be redefined to match our generation and the channels that we’re able to market on.
What strategy do you find most effective in social media, push or pull?