It is now 2017 and it is about time everyone started marketing like it. Regrettably, it appears like most everyone is still marketing like it is 2007.
The mistake being made is this: they are not following where the consumer attention is going. We should care less about impressions and more on attention. For a consumer to get excited about something, to be compelled by something, it comes down to attention.
Marketers, and their clientele, are spending a fortune on TVC, print…platforms that no longer have the attention to justify the cost. Your social media strategy should be mobile and social. It is baffling that so much of a marketing budget is still spent on forms of advertising that are not beneficial to the consumer. Pre-roll ad views. Commercial breaks on streaming sites. Great marketing should feel like a renovation, not a rehash of the past.
There are two places that companies need to be focusing to fulfill their marketing strategy. One is mobile, and the social networks contained within mobile. The second is video content.
Anyone who does not realize that the cell phone is exactly the same thing that the television was in 1965 is blatantly ignoring the future. When an ad comes on, when pre-roll shows up, people reach for their phones. As soon as the experience they were trying to have is interrupted by an invasive ad, the phone is where they turn to be continuously entertained. As you read this, is your phone within five feet of you? I thought so.
Within the world of mobile, there are many opportunities and ways to make content that captures a consumer’s attention. Write an article on Reddit. Create beautiful images on Instagram. Test out different kinds of posts on Facebook to see which performs best.
But the medium with the most consumer attention right now is video. Video has always been the deepest way to engage an audience, as evidenced by the wide and rapid success of television and movies shows. The internet has amplified the importance of video as a way to connect, it also put the tools to make video content into the hands of more people. Creating engaging content has never been easier, and the social networks that are winning are winning because they have placed such an emphasis on video.
Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Instagram dominated the market because they saw two trends in social and jumped on them fast: photo sharing and mobile. Instagram was a mobile first app, and has remained basically mobile only the entire time.
One major reason Snapchat is succeeding, and will continue to succeed, is not only its focus on video, but how you create video content. The storytelling capabilities around how people create content on Snapchat is fantastic in that there is so much room for creativity. In December 2015, 36% of Americans aged 18-29 had a Snapchat account with a reported 7 billion videos viewed each day. We are just now starting to see the first indicators of Snapchat aging up with its first 20-to-40-year-old renaissance.
The point is this: see where consumer attention is going and follow it. Consumers are spending the majority of their time on social, so you need to meet them there.
When you start to really understand what social media is today, you start realizing that social media is just the slang term for the current state of the internet. Brand storytelling is not about advertising, it is about bringing value. For a few years, people have dismissed organic content because of the rise of paid advertising. And yes, paid social media has enormous upside. However, what has emerged in the paranoia of everyone thinking social media only works when you spend money, is a lack of hustle and a lack of understanding that great content is unbelievably effective.
If you are a small business, you want to focus on spending your time, money, and effort on creating great content and a lot of it. If you spend $85,000 a year on creating quality content then only spend another $35,000 on paid amplification – not the other way around. It excites me to no end to ponder the fact that most small businesses waste $250,000-500,000 a year on tactics like websites, PR, direct mail, or paid media when they could have just gone all in on organic social content and a small amplification budget to achieve more valuable results.
The biggest thing people do not understand is that quality content is so important to marketing to anyone under the age of 40. Anyone in that demographic discovers a business for the first time by either: (A) Google searching or (B) finding their content on social media. If you are not crushing it and focusing on the content that you put out on the most important social platforms, you are going to become mute and obsolete in the modern day of doing business. That is why organic reach is so important because the impression you get when someone comes directly to your page is a much more qualified lead and potentially a more valuable customer than someone you got through an ad buy.
Impressions do not equate to attention. YouTube is good at video, but Snapchat has consumer attention at scale. Understand the emerging markets, understand where your consumer is, and meet them there. Do not make them come to you. Whether you decide to write on Medium, or make a video on Snapchat or YouTube or Vimeo, the content needs to be authentic, stimulating and contextual to the platform. Be respectful of the consumer’s time and resources and engage in a value exchange: you should always give value to get value. Whether you are selling an iPhone or architectural services, remember that the same marketing rules apply. Use social media to your advantage to tell a compelling story that will help spark the right conversations.