Written by Ian Smalley • Published 21st January 2015

Cutting through the social noise

We live in the age of #social. From the alarm going off with an update first thing, to the last re-tweet before closing your eyes, our lives are swimming in big data.

In turn, content is scheduled and targeted to within a second of our lifestyle habits. Creative and incentivised campaigns consume and entice us into liking, sharing, retweeting, re-pinning, registering and downloading. Key Influencers guide or provide us and millions with their opinions. All via the iPhone, whilst we’re watching something different on the iPad, whilst another “The future of social” channel has sneaked in via the Android. And that’s just our personal social habits.

Amongst all of this, our individual social footprint, our profiles and interests, indeed our daily existence is pursued by multiple brands, all competing for our attention and engagement across the myriad of social channels and apps via multiple platforms.

It’s the way that we as individuals and the brands we engage with, now tell our stories.

There are a wide number of topical blogs predicting the social trends for 2015, including some of the obvious, some of the amazing and some of the obscure. It’s all positive. The beauty of Social and Creativity is that it morphs, adapts and expands on the platforms it is provided with, be that new or existing.

So rather than predicting the next big social channel, which at this moment in time may still subject to #Crowdfunding, what are some of the key social media techniques and mythologies that will help brands cut through that digital noise and tell their story today?

  1. Visual Content:

It’s nothing new, but as more brands fight in the clutter of digital and social space, the use of visual content to promoting a brand, an offer, a product or simply to tell a story will be of more importance. We’re time poor, so we scan timelines or go on recommendations. As a result we like smart creative, often simple ideas. We see them as they are visual as we flick down timelines or we share them on recommendations of their creativity.

  1. Content formats:

But if everyone just scheduled visual images, we’d just be in a slightly different big data boat. Visual content can take shape in a range of formats. Whilst not new, the ever creative expansion of Infographics neatly compresses big data for us into bite size chunks, provide effective methods to communicate anything from intensely factual information through to top level, key brand messaging.

Meanwhile as creative campaigns integrate across multiple channels and platforms, the use of short form animation (from animated GIFs, through to cinemagraphs along with the short creative video clips), helps us to engage.

  1. Creative, Shareable and targeted content

A percentage of that content, which the creative team have spent far too long on, often sees little or no immediate engagement. Despite using the best hashtag ever, it still plummets down the timeline.   If the idea has been developed to engage with the “known” interest and habits of the intended audience do make sure it’s scheduled around when they are receptive to engage, and on the channels and devises they use.

 

And don’t forget to adhere to social channel guidelines. When scheduled and targeted at the right times on the right channels, in the right way, that brilliant, creative idea or campaign will create engagement.

  1. Creative Paid for advertising:

In line with this, as Facebook and Twitter continue to develop their paid for, sponsored and promoted algorithms, it’s generally recognised that the days of pure organic growth and related engagements are dwindling. That said, the Insights available for these platforms almost ensure that your content will at least be within the sofa area of your intended audience. And you can experiment and dabble without breaking the marketing budget.

Paid for also doesn’t stifle creativity. Using different paid for functionality, in a creative manner, such as Tweetcards, will always help your sponsored campaign cut through the sponsored campaigns. You don’t need an algorithm to work that out.

  1. Search and Social

Everyone from content marketers through to PR agencies can see the continued convergence of SEO and Social media. As platforms continue to map our coffee tastes with our location via our colleagues favourite barista, the smart evolution of social based search will continue at pace.

“Real” reviews, (for which Google + is no longer an empty room waiting for the party to start) provide personalised sentiment, which in turn adds authenticity, whilst Influencer campaigns are an incredibly effective method of swimming ahead of the big data current.

Similarly to producing any form of campaign, identifying the correct key influencer starts with the strategy and planning.

Summary

From brands experimenting within the social arena, to those taking their first tentative post, the amount of digital noise and jargon can seem daunting. From a very basic perspective;

  1. Develop a base strategy: (Understand your audience, your competitors, key channels and influencers)
  2. Focus on the channels that will benefit you
  3. Create an integrated content plan around your core audiences.
  4. Be smart about how you create content.
  5. Monitor and evaluate
  6. Engage (regularly)
  7. Have a crisis plan, as some things may go wrong. It’s the way the world spins.

Developing strategies and creative campaigns to tell your digital story takes time. But it’s time worth investing in, as social content is ultimately for a digital footprint life, not just a one off timeline.