Completely unrelated, but necessarily evil online marketing tactics

Irresistibly cute kittenIt happens to us all the time. We logon to Facebook and after carefully selecting what brands we “like” and view in our news feed, we’re prompted by an irresistibly cute cat photo.

How the heck did this get here, and why am I viewing it?” After a few choice exclamations, we end up clicking the completely unrelated photo. Why? Because we’re curious. We read the caption and click on the link – ah, finally, some related content. That cat is somehow representative of an article about content marketing on a blog that I subscribe to. What an evil little trick, a lure that I walked right into.

I’m not sure what to coin this marketing tactic, maybe you could help me out. Curiosity marketing? Emotional marketing? It was effective in the most unexpected way. Being presented with unrelated content is a jolt, perhaps even an outrage at first – which is sure to catch our attention (never would I ignore such an injustice!). But the content was soft, funny and fuzzy – I mean, how could you be mad at an irresistibly cute cat photo? Then curiosity takes over – how does this relate to the stuff I initially subscribed to? Once the correlation has been made full circle by the brand and my brain, I’m left at ease, less outraged and more smile-y.

Is this a new type of online marketing?

Another example: SEOmoz does SEO. Not the most exciting thing on the planet, but the combination of their adorable robot mascot and quirky posts pleases their audience. Take this post about bacon (completely unrelated to SEO) for example:

SEOmoz on Facebook

Fan reply: “Even when you don’t post news you still manage to be witty.”

See, now we’re starting to get somewhere. You can engage with your customers online in ways that don’t always have to deal with your industry. Though seemingly unrelated at first, forging a connection with humor is a great way to be more personal and human in the online realm. What might your fans like? Maybe it’s pictures of cute kids, puppies, or landscapes. Try a meme or two. It’s okay to experiment – see what resonates and replicate. If it gets no response, no need to try it again.

Another example (that might be a little more up your alley, and a little more related if you’re uncomfortable posting about kittens and bacon):

Brands that aren’t “sexy” venturing into lifestyle posts to connect with their customers. Discount Tire doesn’t just post about their latest tire designs and promotions – they’re posting about different automakers, texting while driving laws, and other news that relates to their products. It’s relevant to their fan base (everyone who is on the tire page drives a car or has an interest in a car) and is a way to keep conversation and engagement consistent.

Discount Tire Facebook Engagement

What are some other brand posts you’ve encountered that were perhaps unrelated but worked on you (meaning you made the click)? Why did you click or read it? Share your insights in the comments section below.

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(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: mosoltysik)