It’s halfway through the year and it’s time to take stock of where our brands and businesses are in terms of social marketing successes/failures. Whether your brand is struggling this year, or if you want to check where you stand, here are social marketing concepts that will shape the rest of this year – and maybe even beyond that
If your brand still controls or publishes 100% of your social content, you’re not doing it right. Play to the strengths of social media; it’s inherently SOCIAL. A quick search anywhere, from engines to social platforms, will reveal a ton of user-generated public content. These create stories that are powerful because they are by nature personal, unprompted, and absolutely borne out of habit. We could all learn from the likes of Philippine Airlines or Nescafe in how they collaborate with the average online user.
Thumb-Time is a Valuable Metric
The social media user has the attention span of a banana (note: this statement is not backed by scientific research). As consumers shift to mobile-only consumption of content, there is much less screen real-estate to be seen on. What your brand or business needs to do is to stop that thumb from scrolling down, and create “a paused moment” – that “thumb time“. There are several obvious ways of doing this (i.e. gamified and hyper-targeted content; see below) and subtle ones (i.e. different format content, such as microvideos or brand blog articles). The point is: pure text and image content have probably seen their days.
The vast majority of the world’s data was created in the past 24 months, and this leads to the obvious problem of content saturation, and therefore content fatigue. Content that “work” with consumers on social must cut through this massive ‘white noise’, and perhaps the only effective way to do this is by evolving from general, vague demographic targeting to hyper-targeted consumer groups. From schools to workplaces to the last place they checked-in, basing content on the IAO (interests, attitudes, and opinions) of the social consumer helps your content stay on their feeds.
Social Has its Place
Your Facebook fan page or Twitter account is not your permanent digital stronghold. That role falls on your brand website – and you should have one 10 years ago. A common mistake I see brands and businesses make is not using the strengths of social – reach, conversations, and traffic – to support the main website, where the biggest chunk of your high-value (articles, videos, BTS, and even consumer testimonials) should be. It’s high time we learn from Friendster and Multiply that when the proverbial thing hits the fan, the last man standing is the website. Manchester United excels at this.
Your products and services are displayed prominently on your social assets, and you know your consumers are there. There’s only one thing missing: the ability for the online shopper to make a purchase directly from a tweet or an Instagram photo (well, except for a few). For some brands such as Burberry, “the lines separating the online from the offline have been blurred“. This is potentially the most interesting (and hard?) challenge for brands on social, but cracking this will completely change the fundamental way brands and business use social.