Cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and blockchain startups are popping up everywhere, except on social media. In fact, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all announced blanket bans on crypto advertising. Companies like Google and Amazon are banning it as well while heavily investing in their own blockchain development. In total, the bans cover 66% of all online marketing channels. If you want to get the word out about your new ICO or blockchain startup, is all hope lost? Not so fast. What prompted this sudden shift? Many think it was a result of Facebook’s recent wave of bad news, with criticisms about fake news and failing to protect users from false information. When Facebook made their announcement to ban all cryptocurrency ads, they claimed the ads were often “misleading” or “deceptive”. Soon after Facebook’s announcement, Google and others began making similar announcements. An alternative theory is that uncertainty about government regulation regarding ICOs has made advertising partners skittish around cryptocurrency. Companies like Snap, Inc, which owns Snapchat, have banned ICOs for this reason, but still allow advertising from exchanges, wallets, and blockchain startups.
Growing Followers First
With so much of the market pushing them out, cryptocurrencies must find a new way to advertise and get their startup seen. Content marketing, a valuable marketing channel for all businesses, is becoming even more essential to crypto businesses who can’t advertise on social media but can publish their own content. Cryptocurrencies are changing the way they advertise by building a following online before their products are even up for sale. The number one rule of content marketing is to increase your product’s visibility. Cryptocurrencies can do just that by creating videos, photos, infographics, podcasts, and blog posts that capture people’s attention. At the same time, crypto companies reach out to their core demographic by posting to crypto-centered forums on Reddit and Slack or writing articles for crypto-centered websites.
If advertisers really want to get their project noticed and can’t pay for direct advertising, influencer marketing is still an option. By paying individuals with a strong following to talk about their project on social media, influencer marketing campaigns can get around advertising bans and reach a targeted audience that’s more likely to be interested in what they have to offer. Influencers are only as good as their followers, so always choose people with a big following and a good reputation in finance or technology. Hiring a fashionista to post about your cryptocurrency isn’t likely to sway many followers. And always remember that even though they aren’t official advertisements, the FTC requires influencers to note sponsored posts.
While social media and other web services are banning cryptocurrencies, traditional media is still a viable option. Buying ads in the local newspaper may not be the most effective advertising scheme. However, for crypto companies, ad buys in technology-centered magazines may prove effective. If all else fails, hire an expert for advice on advertising.
What Can We Learn From Crypto Advertising?
Companies in cryptocurrency and blockchain need to come up with new ways to approach marketing. Here’s what we can learn from them:
- Don’t wait until your product launches to start advertising.
- Build an online following from the start.
- Grow your relationship with your followers by sharing blog posts, updates, and ideas.
- Use content marketing instead of paying to advertise.
- Create attention-grabbing content with images, videos, and more.
- Borrow credibility by getting influencers to talk about your project.
- Don’t overlook traditional advertising in print media, radio or television.
Marketing your business without social media ad buys may seem like a daunting task, but many cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups are showing us it is possible. Check out this infographic about advertising cryptocurrency post-ban to learn more:
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Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.