Audience Focused Social Content
2013 saw a majority of businesses come to the social media party. Unfortunately, when they got there, everyone decided they wanted to play the sanguine and be the centre of attention. A yelling competition ensued, each self-centred, socially awkward brand, bragging about their greatness to whomever would listen. Most forgot that conversations are two sided, there should be reciprocation, and that a good conversation is quality over quantity. Conversation starters are hard in real life, and it doesn’t get any easier online; what’s a business owner to do in 2014?
Take a deep breath and ponder the following:
Am I listening to my audience?
Why should they care about my brand and industry?
What value am I adding to their life?
Are you asking these questions yet? Yes? You are on the right track. I explode a celebratory party popper in your general direction.
This year, content marketing is becoming more audience centric. If you don’t drive your content strategy with the consumer at the focus, you will get left behind, and be the awkward loner sitting in the corner of the party, talking to the cat.
The next challenge is measuring your social media activity. How do you quantify conversations and engagement from individual pieces of content? At the moment it is a labour intensive process, and has led to many businesses tracking activity as opposed to engagement. The two are not one and the same. While tracking likes and clicks is nice, I scroll through my newsfeed and like business pages while simultaneously liking pictures of cats. As a marketer, you would hope my engagement with your business means more than my fleeting amusement regarding a fat cat in a box. Fingers crossed, the next 12 months should see an emergence of social metric tracking tools for tracking valuable engagement. It isn’t good enough to know your audience ‘likes’ you, you need them to be participators in the conversation, contributors and brand evangelists. You don’t just need their likes, you need their love.
Play a video on Youtube and you spend the first five seconds with the sound muted, your mouse hovering over skip this ad in 3…2…click. Disruptive advertising permeates our online experience. We ignore banner ads and have ninja skills when it comes to exiting unwanted pop-ups. Cue native advertising. By now you know what it is…sort of. Though constantly evolving, the general consensus is that native advertising is a form that doesn’t interrupt the user experience. It’s not obviously labelled and is (ideally) carefully crafted, branded content, to suit the form and function of the platform on which it is published. It could be written content distributed by popular platforms Outbrain or Taboola, appearing on your favourite news website, or a sponsored video related to your search on Youtube. Marketers have fallen in love with this method of distribution and its implementation is set to skyrocket throughout the next twelve months. Who is complaining about a higher click through rate and lower cost? While audiences feel less harassed, some also feel mislead by these blurred lines. Brand trust can be broken when clicking on seemingly organic site content is found out to be an advertisement.
In 2014 native advertising will evolve, especially as mobile engagement continues to rise, and we will see more sophisticated ad integration, specifically designed for these platforms. However, fail to focus on the user experience and content quality, and accuracy of the targeting will be for naught (noticing a theme here?). It’s not hard to accrue haters if your audience feels they are being tricked and manipulated. Produce informative, entertaining and helpful content, and they won’t mind the blurred lines, they will want it.
Video killed the radio star, and in 2014, video is still killing it in the marketing world. What is the first viral video campaign you can think of? Is it the suave Old Spice ad? Tom from Blendtec crushing an iPad in a regular kitchen appliance? Or the tears of joy from the WestJet Christmas Miracle recipients? If a picture says a thousand words, video writes a book about your brand in a matter of seconds.
Instagram introduced a video feature in 2013 and Vine clips have gone viral across Facebook and Youtube. Mobile video ads are set to take off in 2014. These are just some of the indicators signaling the rise of the micro video. As our smart phone screens are increasing in size, our attention span is decreasing. These bite size, rich media snippets will be as short as ten seconds, and we will see an emergence of new applications to create, share and consume short form videos, especially on mobile devices.
Marketers are starting to realise the potential reach and effectiveness of micro videos as a tool. In 2014, the video marketplace will get crowded. More brands will be incorporating this visual content into their marketing strategy, but it won’t all be high quality. Just as many Instagram users consider themselves models, any person with a smartphone and an internet connection can think themselves a filmmaker. In a flooded market, it will be imperative to value quality over quantity. You will have to vie for the attention of your audience and cut through the noise. Produce engaging content that shines (bright like a diamond) and you are one step closer to standing out from the crowd.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Contact us today to discuss the right content strategy for you!