A Solar Eclipse and a Facebook Ad

Chasing the Sun

My son Paul, his friend Ben, and I traveled 650 miles to see the total solar eclipse. All the way from central Minnesota to the middle of Missouri, about 650 miles one way. It was worth it. It was amazing. It was more than I thought it would be. It exceeded my expectations.

solar eclipse viewers

We had to travel to the path of totality which went from Oregon to South Carolina. From Minnesota the quickest route was to Missouri or Nebraska. According to the weather forecast it looked cloudy in much of Nebraska and western Missouri. So we headed to the middle of Missouri and went east to get away from the clouds. We were chasing the sun.

The August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse was the first time since 1918 that a solar eclipse covered a path across the country from coast to coast in the U.S. I’m sure that more people saw this eclipse than any other in history. At least in America. It was probably the most photographed and most video recorded eclipse ever. It must have been the most talked about and most communicated (shared) on the internet via social media. In my opinion it deserved all the attention. And more!

I’d seen pictures and video of what “total” solar eclipses looked like. So I thought I knew what to expect. But I was totally surprised. It was an emotional, almost spiritually invoking event for me. Before the sun was totally covered by the moon, I was looking around, checking the partial eclipse from time to time, waiting for the totality phase. Then I heard cheering and clapping and yelling. I looked up and I was blown away. I can hardly explain it. A glimmering jewel in the sky. Like a gift from God. The moon was locked in place perfectly covering the sun for 2 and a half minutes. It was the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen.

There’s another total solar eclipse coming in 2024. This one will start in Mexico, pass through Texas and make it’s way up through Ohio and New York. That’s 7 years away. If I’m able to see it I definitely will.

A Story and a Facebook Ad

I was scheduled to do a presentation about my business the day after I got back from my Solar Eclipse trip. It was for the business networking group I’m part of. Each week we meet for one hour. We take turns doing presentations. Each week one of us does a 20 minute presentation to the group.

My usual topic is websites and internet marketing. I usually focus on Facebook advertising.

The week before another group member did a presentation for his business. He owns a shuttle bus. His presentation was fun because he told interesting stories about experiences on the bus. It was very entertaining.

So this week it was my turn. Talking about Facebook ads seemed dull compared to last weeks presentation with party bus stories. It seemed dull compared to the total solar eclipse I had just witnessed.

So I decided to make my presentation about my amazing solar eclipse experience. Then I’d pivot the presentation into my business topic somehow. So I thought about how I could tie that experience into my business.

I know that advertising on Facebook really doesn’t fit. I mean, who wants to see ads while they’re trying to enjoy looking through their Facebook newsfeed. It’s a common dilemma, nothing new. We see ads on TV and hear them on radio. We see them in newspapers and magazines. Facebook has to earn money somehow. That’s their model. Get paid for showing ads to their users.

But there’s a subtle insight with this. Especially when doing Facebook ads. Pushing ads out there in the middle of social media about boring business stuff is not cool. It’s not helpful or interesting. Unless you make it helpful and interesting.

That’s the trick. Make your ads about something helpful or interesting first. Then pivot to your business later.

I did that with my presentation to my business networking group. First I made it interesting with a video of the solar eclipse, then passed around some solar glasses and offered some basic and fun information about solar eclipses. I told the story of my experience which included some unexpected events and challenges while traveling to the best place to see the eclipse. After all that I talked about Facebook ads. How can you turn a boring Facebook ad that nobody wants to see into an interesting Facebook post that catches attention and might even be helpful. What I did in the presentation is exactly what you can and should do with a Facebook ad. Make it fun and interesting and helpful first. Then gently tie it to your business.

This might seem like a small thing. But it’s not. It can be extremely effective. I hope you’ll give it some thought and try it out.

One more thing. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. is on April 8th, 2024. The path of totality (shadow of the moon) passes from Mexico to Texas, then through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Vermont and Main.

The video from my experience at the 2017 Solar Eclipse from the Dogwood Truck Stop near Boonville, Missouri…

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