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Social Media Backlash Invigorates Direct Mail


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Social Media Backlash Invigorates Direct Mail," discusses the effects social media advertising boycotts have on the industry and the best available advertising alternative for those organizations. Most of the boycotts are highlighting Facebook, the world's largest social network, with 2.6 billion monthly users. For many, including Facebook's advertisers, the social media giant has not done enough to discourage racists, violent extremists.

According to multiple civil rights groups, the platform has not done enough to tamp down hate, and they have asked businesses to "hit pause on hate," and not advertise on Facebook in July. Some advertisers agree, including Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Patagonia, Levi's, Ben & Jerry's, Verizon, Honda, and others.

Our Quote of the Day:
"If you want to build your online business, research shows that one of the best ways to do it is to use direct mail to drive prospects to your site. It's the combination of direct mail with an online presence that packs such a powerful marketing punch. Even Google, probably one of the iconic internet businesses, sends out direct-mail campaigns." – Craig Simpson

Beyond concern regarding the extremists, multiple demonstrations are flooding social media channels with anxiety around COVID-19, voter suppression, systemic racism, police brutality, and a presidential election. If you are a brand or marketer that regularly advertises on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Snapchat, you may face backlash from the army of activists pushing for change. However, there are bright spots that marketers and advertisers can use to get their message out. 

Advertising During a Boycott

Questions now arise for the millions of smaller businesses that have relied on social media networks for advertising and marketing. They include:

  • If smaller brands continue to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, will those brands suffer a backlash?
  • Can brands and marketers continue to post non-advertisement messages without concern?
  • If a brand or marketer continues to advertise on Facebook/Instagram, will the brand lose equity and possibly be added to the boycott list?

It's difficult to predict the answers to any of these questions; however, Advertising 101 teaches us to follow the iconic brands when it comes to marketing and advertising strategies and tactics. That means avoiding iconic brand missteps.

Great marketing always translates into producing content that is on the right side of history. In this case, since lack of truth is the determining culprit behind brands exiting their ad dollars from Facebook and Instagram, it may be wiser for advertisers to limit posts to truthful claims that are easy to prove and willingly accepted by various niche groups.

The advertising method that has the highest level of trustworthiness is direct mail marketing. In fact, in the movie, "The Firm," Tom Cruise pointed out to the Federal agent that sending mail with false billing totals (untruths to customers) is punishable by up to 5 years per offense. Translation, anything sent via the mail, must be honest and should be trustworthy. As a result, people tend to trust direct mail content.

New Strategies

Facebook and Instagram will weather the current storm; in the meantime, it makes sense for non-iconic brands to pay close attention to the collective mindset on social media. It could be deleterious for brands to move forward with paid advertising on Facebook/Instagram. The damage that could occur to the brand could be irreversible or take years to restore. That would mean the years invested in building the brand could be lost and take years to rebuild. So the question that your brand must ask is, should we advertise on social media at this time? 

We contend that brands should stay in front of the users on the respective social media channels. However, it would help if you were cognizant of what you post. If you are going to market during this time, the brand should shift its content to positive ideas, supportive sentiment, and truthful messaging. If needed, call out Facebook and other social media channels for any false, misleading, or hate-filled content.

The key is not to spend dollars on advertising during the boycott or until the social media companies address the hate spreading on its platforms. However, other non-advertising social media content that promotes how a brand feels about fairness, truth, and equality for all is reasonable and fair game. However, brands that decide to post positive, truthful content, as posts, should be keenly listening to social media to ensure that they are on the right side of the boycotts to avoid damaging the brand.

Direct Mail Is Safe

Whether a brand uses direct mail marketing to enhance and build user engagement for trustworthy social media posts or as the primary advertising vehicle to drive folks to their websites and activate special offers, the data is in, and it's clear. Direct mail has a higher engagement and response rate than any other medium thus far. Direct mail marketing is the most trustworthy medium that can be personalized for the recipient, whereby the content is read in the first 30 minutes on average, followed by carrying out the call-to-action.

The Net-Net

Marketing in a pandemic is one thing. Marketing on a medium where iconic brands are now boycotting is a dangerous platform for any brand to take on. Therefore, the smart choice is to remain visible on social media platforms, while switching the content to supportive, positive messaging that makes users feel that the brand cares and supports their issues. Otherwise, engaging direct mail recipients via postcards, single-page brochures, and other direct mail pieces is a surefire method to reach your target audiences. Thanks for reading "Social Media Backlash Invigorates Direct Mail."

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