“How do you grab attention in a world without gatekeepers? When infinite choice has fractured social structures, how can communicators get their message heard?”
Questioning how we find what we love… without social media ‘fomo’, Tom Cheesewright was our third talker to grace the Royal Exchange stage at the Creative North conference. He walked us through some intriguing strategies behind consumer navigation.
We’re constantly told about the things which we’ve missed out on; from holidays to exclusive events, social media is a storm of sharing enviable experiences we wish we’d been a part of. That’s the half the point, right?
It can feel like there’s a paralysis of choice, especially in the face of such a vast variety of options. To this end, brands and publishers are often faced with a variety of issues when working out how to connect with consumers through all the noise.
Many would argue that the rise of social media has actually led to the deterioration of societal connections, or as Tom puts it ‘the decline of the water cooler moment’… otherwise known as the dying art of conversation.
Up with a quick-fire presentation, Roxanne Parker, Paid Social Director of Social Chain ran us through the social media trends that should be guiding your 2019 strategy.
“First, fearless and ever changing.”
The team at Social Chain work hard to keep their clients ahead of the game. Following a this formula, they strive to create meaningful reactions and constantly personalise experiences for audiences.
Roxanne brought up the death of the feed, which she said will continue to be important, despite the fact that Facebook are going to try and push people towards events messenger. Their reasoning for this is to ‘create more significant interactions’, however, none of us were born yesterday, and we can all appreciate that the feed is simply running out of space with too many boosted posts. Today’s frustrations lie in ridiculously low organic reach and expensive paid advertising.
So, how do we deal with this?
Roxanne’s first tip was to consider broader advertising placements to expand your reach further. Her second point of call was to consider your Facebook Groups strategy, as this gives you the chance to be authentic.
She also recommended a ‘channel agnostic’ approach. In the simplest of terms, this means sending out communications through the channels that each customer prefers, and at the time of the day most likely to suit them – giving you more responses, engagement and therefore reach. Even more importantly, it means relevant reach: communicating with customers about things they care about, in channels they like to use.
Roxanne gave Liverpool F.C as an example, explaining how Social Chain recommended they join TikTok, one of the newer platforms to showcase short-form mobile videos. This nervy move proved pretty successful, and put exclusive content at the heart of the younger market.
The agenda went on to cover the pending instant messaging revolution, as users crave connections over brand noise. Increasingly, message apps are surpassing social network popularity, so brands need to think about the purpose of a messaging tool for their brands and how they can react to this.
Another strategy brands need to deliberate over for 2019 are formats that enhance experiences. Roxanne urges marketers to consider ways to make people dwell on ads for longer, for example, exploring canvas ads and more interactive options to personalise the user experience. The future of social advertising lies within long-form ads, whilst long-term content will start to feel the pinch if it’s graded as poorly engaged.
To counteract this long-form penalisation (which honestly feels a little tight), Roxanne advocates allowing data to inform your content length and hierarchy. She also recommends you allow your hardcore fans be the trail and testers of long-form. If you have minimal resource, don’t be afraid to take advantage of editorial and influencer partnerships – a great example of this is the way Media Chain devote teams to in-house editorial brands, such as Student Problems (a student news and entertainment site), Joyscribe (a collection of trending current news) and Gamebyte (a community of 6 million gamers, made by gamers for gamers).
To penetrate a super absorbed user base, Social Chain actually use a WhatsApp Subscriber list to communicate directly with their followers. Roxanne reports a really high open and click-through rate, which she puts down to the audience having expressed an explicit interest in the content.
Then came the top-line nugget we were all waiting for; the Social Chain social media strategy breakdown. We learned that…
70% of the content they put out there for their clients is ‘safe’. This means implementing tried and tested strategies that the clients feel secure with.
20% of the content features new platform releases, putting clients at the edge of future technology and proving campaigns to be as bold and fearless as ever.
10% goes to the blue sky, crazy ideas, proving it never hurts to try something a forward thinking and gallant.
Want to read more about our Future Of Content series? Take a look at our Freedom of Content feature, which explores how to find your niche.
Rebekah is Content Manager at One Agency. She is responsible for creating engaging content and managing the development of social strategy. She was previously on the editorial team, and PA to the chief editor at lifestyle publication VIVA Manchester.