Welcome to the 2014 edition of What The Tour de France Can Teach You About Advertising. While last year’s edition never got published due to my general dismay with pro cycling, you can see previous editions here, here, here, here, and here.
In a three-week stage race like the Tour de France, one word you hear quite often is “opportunity.” A rider on Team A will take advantage to get in on a breakaway and gain time in the overall classification because he knows Team B won’t chase down the breakaway group because doing so would benefit a rider from Team C. Or, more simply, a team at the front of the pack may take the opportunity to accelerate the pace knowing a high-placed rider on another team was caught at the back when the peleton split in two. And, from a fan’s perspective, there are the millions of fans who line the road during the Tour just for the opportunity to see the spectacle of the pre-race caravan and the race’s 198 riders roll by. Whatever the scenarios, there are plenty of opportunities within the larger race that is the Tour de France.
If you’re advertising your business, you should be doing the same thing as the riders in the Tour de France; looking for your opportunity to get ahead. While you should have an advertising plan and stick to it, you should also be in a position to tai advantage of the opportunities that come your way outside of that ad plan.
These opportunities don’t include those sales reps who offers you low rates on last minute ad space or the chance to save on a contract for a year. Instead, the opportunities I’m talking about are those that come along via social media. Simply put, that means re-tweeting Tweets that shed a positive light on your business on Twitter and Liking posts that reference your business or your industry on Facebook. In both arenas, you should also look for opportunities to reach out to your customer, answer questions and join conversations where you can contribute. All you need to do is invest the time to monitor social media for your opportunity. Just remember to do those things in moderation and don’t be the company that feels compelled to re-tweet or like every mention, answer every question, or comment on everything. In other words, don’t be that guy (you know who you are).
In addition, don’t miss the opportunity to share what you know. Post links to articles and photos your customers will find helpful and informative. Again, use moderation but strive to make your business the go-to resource for your customers.
And the cost for promoting your business via all these opportunities? Zero. Zip. Nada. Just the time it takes to monitor your social media accounts and, in the age of alerts to your phone and email when your name is mentioned, that time time investment is negligible.
Getting your business a rolling is easy. Just think of promoting your brand like a rider in the Tour de France; look for your opportunities, be ready when you see that opportunity, and then take advantage of the opportunity to put your brand, and your business, ahead of the pack.
See also: How Cool Do You Want To Be?