A wide shot of the vastness of space. An intimate home video of a child’s first steps. A social media savvy YouTube vlogger with the latest and greatest in makeup techniques. Whatever you may be watching, there should be an essence to the visuals that feels cohesive with the content being portrayed. Certain shots feel right at home in a reality TV drama, while others perfectly capture the epic grandeur of a Hollywood blockbuster. The culprit is often staring at you right through a letterbox (rimshot): aspect ratio. Read more after the jump…
When you think about how to tell a story, you don’t usually think about numbers. But a pair of scientists who changed careers to focus on communications, Randy Olson and Jayde Lovell, are breaking narrative down into a simple equation that allows you to quantify the strength of your narratives.
Inspired by the writers of South Park
They were inspired after listening to the creators of South Park talk about how they approach their scripts. In their second draft for each episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have a Rule of Replacing: “Every time you replace an “AND” with a “BUT” or “THEREFORE” the storytelling gets better.”
As marketers, one of the first and most important things that we can do for our business is to identify the audiences for our product or service. Our audiences (yes, that should always be plural) are typically defined by a combination of demographics and psychographics that help us fit a diverse selection of human beings into a few loosely constructed boxes. But with an unprecedented amount of data now available to businesses it’s time that we introduce context and circumstance into the equation.
Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Marketing World in San Diego – a two-and-a-half day session-packed conference focused on the most relevant trends and information in the world of social media.
Given that South by Southwest Interactive kicks off later this week (stay tuned for daily updates from our two-person team of Jon and Adrienne), we’re going to combine a longer form discussion from what we learned at Social Media Marketing World with our annual SXSW Denver Download in early April – let us know if you’re interested in attending!
In the meantime, here are my three main takeaways from #SMMW18 – with a quick video from the conference to explain some of the concepts as well.
1) The Algorithms Continue to Change Our Focus
Facebook’s shift away from brand and publisher posts in our news feeds toward one-on-one peer interaction has left a lot of brand managers scratching their heads about staying relevant on the platform. The key – according to Social Media Insider Founder Michael Stelzner – will be unique and tailored content with the goal of prompting individuals to share with their peers. In other words, “being human at scale.” Some additional insights on this topic include:
- Longer form content will be critical – videos, in particular
- Facebook’s focus on “Facebook Watch” will also mean a shift toward more episodic content. Think about producing various video series that take viewers on a storytelling journey, and make it as shareable as possible
- The algorithm change combined with Snapchat competition will likely lead to more Facebook Stories from individuals – so much so that we’ll likely see fewer wall posts and more Stories in the near future (the future is 15 second Story videos)
2) Focus on Being More Strategic with Paid Efforts
Moving forward we’re also going to have to be more strategic with our promoted content and paid campaigns on every platform. Some specific examples from the conference include:
- Be more selective with where you’re spending your money. Promoting content that is already successful will always be more beneficial than forcing a promotion on content that that isn’t resonating with your audience. Think of it as pushing a ball downhill vs. trying to fit a square peg into a round hole
- Utilize Facebook Custom Audiences and retargeting features more frequently. We spend a lot of time and resources creating content, and we shouldn’t have a “one and done” mindset with our paid campaigns. If a group of people watched your first video in a series, consider retargeting those same people with a paid campaign for the second video in your series. “Custom Audiences are your bank account,” as one presenter commented
- Make sure you have a hook, ignite emotion, describe your solution and finish with a specific call-to-action with every piece of promoted content you produce. At the same time keep your content as concise as possible – skip the bumpers/intros/bios in your video content to grab attention as quickly as possible
3) Don’t Stop When the Campaign Ends
We often miss the opportunity to follow up or even say “thank you” with our campaigns. Use those custom and engaged audiences to keep the conversation going after your campaign ends (maybe with your next campaign or content effort). And if you have an audience that made a purchase or took some form of action, don’t forget to say thank you in a creative way, and follow up with specific next steps. Spell it out simply so your customers have a seamless, positive experience and understand clearly what happens next.
As January already stretches to a close, the relentless updates about new capabilities in social media for business have been fast and furious. Setting yourself up for success can be overwhelming with this constant slew of announcements. From composing killer copy to refreshing your Instagram strategy in the coming months, take a few small steps each week to stay current.
First there was Snapchat’s Snap Map feature and now Instagram follows that lead with functionality that allows you to see when a person was last active on the app. Log in regularly to your business account so potential customers see that you’re present and available. I always feel like somebody’s watching me… Read more after the jump…
“It’s just lunch.”
It’s an online dating service as well as the answer to your content collection woes. Bear with me as I try to land this plane.
All content creators have been to the point with clients when you’ve felt as though you’ve hit a wall, either creatively or logistically. It happened to us working for our clients at SCL Health Medical Center, and believe it or not, it was the vastness of content possibilities and not a lack of them that jumpstarted our head scratching.
With dozens of medical practices from Aurora to Evergreen and specialities ranging from plastic surgery to cardiology to primary care — and all of them needing our assistance with digital marketing — our small team was both spoiled for choice and stretched thin when it came to content creation.
Enter the lunch brainstorm.
Read more after the jump…
The changes within the marketing and communications industry over the past decade have been equally swift, exciting and unforgiving. Ten years ago, Facebook and Twitter were certainly not household names, Denver had two newspapers, the iPhone was just launched (with a 2.0 MP camera and no video capabilities), Instagram and Snapchat were still years from existence and Periscope was just a thing on a submarine.
A lot can change in 10 years.
We are currently experiencing a dramatic shift in user behavior toward video content. Recent statistics indicate that shift is even more aggressive than most of us might believe: Read more after the jump…
Should social media be a space for branding/thought leadership or a function of your sales team?
We work with clients on this issue often and the short answer is that social media, when done correctly, should do both. On one side, organizations shouldn’t (or can’t afford to) blindly pass on an opportunity to generate sales or action through a channel where opportunity exists.
On the other hand, social media isn’t simply “another sales channel.”
We (and many others) have made the comparison often: social media should be treated like a cocktail party or networking event. If you walked up to everyone you met at an event, told them what you do, why they should work with you, hand them a business card and walk away, you wouldn’t be making a great impression on anyone. The better approach is to engage with those you’re talking with and actually build rapport and credibility.
In my time as a news reporter there were two types of producers (generally): Those who only used the live truck for breaking/extremely visual stories and those who used live trucks in virtually every newscast.
Fast forward more years than I’m willing to admit, and we’ve got a similar situation now that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have “live” video options. Many brands and individuals are using live video options extremely sparingly (if at all) while others seem to be using it all of the time.
What’s the smart approach? Read more after the jump…
You’ve probably heard that pictures are the king, or queen, of social media. But that doesn’t mean mean stock images. We’re talking infographics, and beautiful, original images. Driving people to action and helping them recall your content requires compelling visuals, unless you happen to be a sophisticated Russian hacker. Fortunately, there are a plethora of online tools to help create those visuals and new ones are always popping up.
VentureBeat: Google launches Data GIF Maker to help storytellers convey information through animations
It can take a lot of time to create infographics. Google aims to simplify the process with their new tool that creates animated GIFs with your data. The tool is meant to help you tell your data story in a more visual way. For now the types of graphs you can create are limited, but knowing Google, if it turns out to be popular they’ll add plenty more options. Read more after the jump…