We love an excuse to get out of the office, to network and develop our knowledge of new industry trends. This week, we were treated to a fantastic social session from Mike Blake-Crawford at Social Chain, who are also based in Manchester.
It’s true to say that we are all suffering from content overload in this digital age. In fact, Mike likened our social media feeds to a digital Times Square. There is so much being thrown our way that we can’t choose where to focus, and brands can’t guarantee they’re going to be seen amid the endless scrolling. This is why brands need to be bold and stand out.
It may sound cliché but in this social landscape, it’s never been more true. Stand out and find the most effective way to be noticed by your customers and prospects.
Business as Usual is Dead
Picture the spreadsheet with the different brands, different platforms, and varying numbers of posts required per week. Business as usual, right? Mike reminds us we’re not silly for thinking like this; being ‘always on’ is in the textbooks!
Do you ever feel as though you’re fishing for content just for the sake of it, and sharing it to no avail? This is where ‘business as usual’ can fall down. In these cases, more time and effort can be spent looking for or creating things to share, when in reality, nothing can come of it. The more you post, the lower the quality.
In Mike’s words, it is boring and underwhelming. We need to make sure we’re mixing up regular posting with campaign-based marketing, viral stunts and more advanced techniques.
Think outside the Feed
For a start, did you know the difference in the reach from posting a video on an Instagram feed to posting it on IGTV? It has the potential to be huge. Try posting your next video on IGTV and see what the difference in reach, engagement, shares equates to.
Yes, people always harp on about the success of Apple. Did you know that they have 2.93 million followers on Twitter but have never tweeted? They’ve got 11.6 million likes on Facebook but have only ever posted three times.
This was in an 8-day time period, highlighting the release of phones, watches, and their Christmas advert. Each post was reacted to, commented on and shared thousands upon thousands of times. Admittedly, some of the comments are negative, but still, this is impact at its best.
In the build-up to the release of the latest iPhone, Apple bought adverts on Instagram, well-targeted to brand fans. They also paid for a hashtag on Twitter, still never having posted anything. Being truly strategic with placement of ads can lead to action, which explains why Apple remains one of the biggest brands in the world. Thinking outside of the box when it comes to social really can pay off massively.
A buzzword in marketing for the past few years, whether celebrities or micro-influencers, many brands are capitalising on this trend. What if your brand isn’t as glamorous as the typical world-travelling, picture perfect, bikini-clad influencers?
Mike from Social Chain gave us some insight into how social publishers can help. Some of these publishers hold a lot of influence and are known for the virality of their content. Collaborations with these pages are likely to see the most engagement on Facebook, either through shares or friends commenting to tag other friends.
These social publishers have gained a level of trust from their followers, too, which some unrelated influencers may struggle with. Did you know that consumer trust in what influencers say is 4%? It’s easy to see why, with the likes of ex-Love Islanders coming out of the villa and taking all of the sponsorship deals they can get. Social publishers can help brands to reach people in a new channel, targeting a new audience and often having massive results.
Opportunities in Social Media
You may feel as though they’ve shot to popularity very quickly, with more and more brands and normal people doing them. You would be completely correct in thinking so. All you need to do is have a quick browse around podcasts available on Spotify or Apple, and you will see that the breadth of topics covered is huge.
In this overloaded content-sphere, podcasts provide a different angle. Listeners need to focus and be attentive. Time consumed by digital media is on the up, from the weekend TV binge to console gaming, so the attention span is there; it just needs to be excited. Think about it. You have an audience of listeners who are likely to be interested in your brand or industry for even visiting the podcast initially, but there is so much more content you can get out of them.
You could use some snippets for IGTV and Facebook, with some bloopers or highlights on your stories. If you have a special guest appearing, you can get PR for the person appearing. And of course, you have the podcast itself. These are certainly not a tool to be overlooked.
E-commerce brands can already implement opportunities to shop through ad placements on social media. In the future, it may be the case that social platforms will completely transform into social commerce. If you have an e-commerce brand which is not already on social, get it on as soon as possible! This is one trend you do not want to be lagging behind in.
WhatsApp and Beyond
In China, they use WeChat. WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app. Basically, it’s a combination of about 5 apps that we’d use on our smartphones here, plus even more cool tech. The future of social in the UK and beyond looks as though it is likely to follow suit of WeChat.
Brands and influencers are already using WhatsApp groups to share info and promotions to highly engaged users. This paired with Facebook, Instagram and all other platforms could create something mega, where everything can be done in one place. Time will tell, with this one.
Lots to Take In
And there is just a snippet of all of the incredible things discussed at the Social Session. Why not take a look at your social media now, evaluate techniques and strategies and see where any of these techniques could fit in. Big thanks to @TheSocialChain and @Meltwater for hosting this event, we can’t wait for the next one!