That presents a huge challenge and opportunity for marketers...
...to choose the right ones, develop the right strategy for each, create quality content, and not burn out in the process.
Whichever platform you choose to focus on, cross-promotion is an excellent way to partner with adjacent businesses and ensure your content reaches the largest possible audience.
This strategy allows you to attract more traffic and more qualified leads to the website. It builds your brand awareness. It also creates a strategic alliance with another business for you to tap into their established community.
In this article, I'll reveal the alternative definition of cross-promotion and 3 strategies to use it in your SMM campaign.
How to Grow Your Brand With Cross-Promotion on Social Media
You are probably familiar with cross-promotion as a technique to repurpose content across social media channels while tailoring your message to better suit individual audiences and communities.
Most businesses share similar content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, but few take the time to treat each channel—each community—with nuance. That means taking the time to vary tone, content formats, visuals, and posting time accordingly.
But that’s not all:
Cross-promotion is also about partnering with other brands to introduce yours to new markets.
It's a technique to use their social media channels for expanding your marketing efforts. Isn't it a win-win for both parties involved?
More exposure for less cost
Increased brand awareness
A broader community and potentially more qualified leads/sales
A primary example of cross-promotion is the 2013 partnership between KitKat and Google. Remember that chocolate bar with Android inviting us to win gift cards or Nexus Tablets?
As for examples on social media, let's take a cross-promotion ad of CoverGirl and LucasFilm. Recognizable Light Side and Dark Side makeup series has captured Star Wars fans and made CoverGirl shoppers excited about the movie.
Want to achieve the same with your brand?
Consider these 3 ideas of cross-promotion—also called co-branding or co-marketing—to put in place for your best SMM campaigns.
3 Easy ways to cross-promote your small business
1. Join up for a joint ad campaign
Many brands practice joint ads to increase exposure, awareness, and loyalty. For example, a cross-promo offer allows both partners to exchange audiences and drive more traffic and sales to each other's websites.
That's how Lean Blend and Face It did it on Instagram:
Source: Lean Blend
Another example is Macy’s. Having shared the post of Make-A-Wish-Foundation on Facebook, they helped to gather over $2 million.
Make-A-Wish-Foundation thank them on Twitter:
Source: Make A Wish
A partnership with nonprofit organizations is a great way to add visibility and prove your values. But make sure you discuss the nature of the content with your partner before crafting and sharing your posts.
Your tone should apply to the respective market. For example, here's what Macy’s cross-promo looked when they partnered with Special Books by Special Kids:
There was no need for the nonprofit to create a new post to stay consistent with their social media marketing campaign. What they did is just shared Macy's post, creating a strong affiliation with the brand.
Cross-promotion works for external advertising too.
Here’s a little case study of this strategy in action:
The joint installation of Dasani and Sports Illustrated cost them least but resulted in most creativity and visual attraction for all potential clients around.
This trick works online, either — create a relevant and witty collage to use as a visual representation of your cross-promo campaign.
On Facebook, you can maximize the relationships with your brand partner by shares and mentions. Just make sure it's suitable for both.
Case in point:
The eco-clothing design store mentions and shares a publication from a fashion blog:
Source: J'aime Bridal
Related niches, related followers, relevant content — a win-win collaboration by all means.
2. Collaborate on a contest
Come together with a complementary brand to conduct contests and gain user engagement.
Also, it's a proven way to grow your email list and attract new visitors to your brand. Instead of organizing a contest alone, cooperate with a partner to double the reach.
Just look at what happened to Cineplex and The Weather Network cross-promo:
Their #WeatherOrNot contest — when Cineplex offered free popcorn to those guessing if lightning stroke a 20-foot tall bag of popcorn — allowed The Weather Network to engage more people to the topic.
Another one took place between Akkie Dokkie and Nivea. Facebook users needed to answer a question to get a chance of winning a Nivea product.
Source: Akki Dokie
A contest should look natural for both brands. Also, promoters should fit together by niche, topic, and followers number.
How it looks:
You and your brand partner announce a joint contest on social media accounts. One of you controls organizational issues and gives awards. Participation conditions are typical — follow organizers, like and share the post, comment, answer a question, etc.
Your brand can also run joint contests with social media influencers to attract a broader audience and build brand loyalty. For example, @TruHairBeauty cooperated with Avi Y R on Instagram:
Details to remember when organizing a joint contest:
Clear guidelines for participants
A beautiful image your followers will want to share
A meaningful contest prize
A thankful note to all participants and congratulations to a winner
3. Co-host events or become a sponsor
Organize or sponsor related events, videos, or podcasts with your brand partner. Benefits include awareness, a broader audience outreach, and leads generation.
NB! First, decide on marketing goal you want to achieve with a partnered marketing event. The more specific you are, the better (and right!) partner you will choose for positive results.
Specify the roles, collaborate on co-presentations, and take care of JOINT social media campaigns.
Also, you can mention each other as sponsors, participants, or partners on landing pages. For example, that's how Bid4Papers promote their essay writers for hire (partners) on the website:
Source: Bid 4 Papers
And that's what we (their writers) do in return:
Source: Lesley J. Vos
How to cross-promote events:
Organize a brunch with 2-3 non-competing businesses. Share a demo on social media, publish a short press release to promote it to followers, and invite local social media influencers to help you.
Use geo-marketing to outreach the related audience.
Consider Facebook live streams from your joint event and remember tagging speakers and brand partners.
Create a landing page for your event and promote it on social media, too.
Speakers can help with promotion. For example, digital marketing consultant Alex Tachalova shares the news on her speech at IBG Live:
Source: Alexandra Tachalova
Consider a consistent #hashtag for social media communication about the event.
And once your co-event is over, provide a detailed feedback session on social media for participants and your new followers to understand what this all is about.
Besides offline events, you can co-organize and co-promote projects like webinars. For example, Digital Olympus partner with many brands, inviting their representatives to speak at free online conferences.
They work great for cross-promotion on social media:
Source: Digital Olympus & AccuRanker
Another example is a webinar HubSpot hosted with Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. Partnership with such notable influencers brings marketing benefits by all means:
Forums generate tons of content on products and services. Their members are not professional journalists but experts in their niches, discussing the pros and cons of brands they use or events they visit.
The difference between forum members and bloggers lies in a timespan of their publications.
For example, Reddit threads live for weeks and months, while posts from bloggers mainstream in the moment of publication.
After the joint event is over, measure the results.
Check if you've reached the initial goals.
In case of failure, think of whose fault it was — yours or your partner's?
Examine the generated leads — their number and quality. Do you attract better leads when promoting alone? How many of them have become your customers after the cross-promotion campaign?
How to Find the Right Partner for Cross-Promotion
Once you decide on the cross-marketing strategy, 2 questions appear: Where to look for partners and how to choose the right ones?
You can call or email colleagues. Or, invite brands to co-marketing when meeting their representatives at conferences. But remember: far from all contacts can turn into beneficial cooperation.
Before organizing a cross-promotion campaign on social media, check your potential partner by this list:
Your products/services don't compete.
You have related target audiences.
Your product/services are in the same price segment.
You complement each other.
Your brand partner representatives are responsible, and it will be comfortable to work with them.
A flawed example of cross-promotion would be joint giveaways or ads of a fitness club and a yoga school. First, they have a different target audience, and second — their services compete against each other.
With 7+ years in marketing, Lesley Vos specializes in sales copywriting and storytelling and regularly contributes to publications on business, digital marketing, and self-improvement. Feel free to check her works on Twitter.