Facebook, Shared Media
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As the Powerball Prize Pool soars to new heights, jackpot fever is sweeping the nation. From long lines at the gas station to elaborate day-dreaming on how people would spend the newfound fortune, Powerball-mania has certainly gone viral. This hysteria is causing people and businesses alike to take part in some strange and unexplainable behavior.

Browsing through a Facebook newsfeed today, you will likely come across several photos of Powerball tickets with signed letters promising a cut of the winnings to anyone that likes and/or shares the pictures. Here are a few reasons that businesses should think twice about using Powerball fever to promote their social pages.

1. Off-Brand Messaging

Most of the businesses who are utilizing this approach have no connection to the lottery, gambling, or even money-management. The best examples of powerful social media marketing are brands who stay in their lane. When considering the parts of a successful social media campaign, it is crucial to share experience within your area of expertise.

When brands acquire followers from campaigns such as the Powerball initiative, it is unlikely that these newly acquired fans will convert to be customers. Facebook targeting allows brands to focus on behaviors and interests of those who are likely to be in their audience. These types of campaigns are much superior to gaining and retaining followers who can become buyers.

2. Impossible Follow-Through

What will the business do in the unlikely event that they do take home the Powerball prize? The business owner is faced with two options: make good on the promise or take the money and run.

Let’s first assume that business decides to share the fortune with those who have done as they suggested. While they would be “doing the right thing”, the logistics of accounting for and distributing winnings will surely be a nightmare. Perhaps so much so that this isn’t even a realistic option.

This, unfortunately, would then lead to the second option – not being able to make good on their promise. This option would certainly bring a different type of press. Beyond the karmic implications, a negative backlash in the media is sure to follow if the business fails to make good on their promise. While the business owner, empowered with their newfound wealth may have little accountability, the business and employees of the company would certainly suffer from such a backlash. Thinking this through, there really is no “win” to be found, so why pursue this?

…and this flows into our last point.

Powerball Fever Marketing

3. Shameless Plug

What is the “win” from engaging in this sort of online marketing? Business should strive to maintain a public appearance of transparency and respect. When a business uses a statistically impossible lottery jackpot as a method to gain followers, it comes across as cheap and shady.

Here’s the “formula” for engaging your audience in online marketing. Avoid the so-called shortcuts. There are ways to leverage current events to win favor with your audience and these are strongly encouraged. Find trends that are close to your area of expertise and weigh in, providing useful tips and tricks. Audiences will appreciate your honesty and you have the potential to create a legion of loyal followers. Lay aside the hokey tricks and represent your brand with pride. As we conclude, we might consider the parallels from the popular saying, “don’t let your mouth write a check that your body can’t cash.”

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