It’s been a long road, but I am delighted to announce the launch of the EchoJunction podcast!
This podcast is all about finding the industry’s finest minds from around the globe and picking their brains to help us all make sense of the noisy, fast moving and complex social media and digital marketing landscape. The podcast is in interview format and is very much about the “why” not the “how”. Cutting through the day to day noise and turbulence isn’t easy but the guests on this show will absolutely help you piece the jigsaw together.
The calibre of guests in the early episodes is top drawer and I think you will learn a lot from a variety of perspectives. For example, the opening 4 episodes cover:
- Scott Brinker, probably the global expert in his field, talking marketing technology
- Thought leader, leading influencer and NY Times best selling author Jay Baer talking the social media landscape
- Renowned local digital marketing expert Gavin Heaton talking social business for enterprises
- Robert Rose, top 10 influencer in his field, talking content marketing and media trends
Future guests will also come from the worlds of big data, marketing software and digital marketing. The podcast covers a broad strategic canvas but brings different perspectives and insights to deepen your understanding of social media, digital marketing and marketing technology.
On a personal note, producing a podcast has been quite a learning experience. From discomfort with the sound of your own voice to thinking on the spot in a live interview, it has been extremely testing but also extremely satisfying. I am learning on this journey with you in every sense. Please bear with me through the inevitable early rookie errors from a new podcaster; I am absolutely committed to this podcast for the long run, with the intention of producing an episode per week. Every. Single. Week.
By Adam Fraser
What a few weeks it’s been for live streaming.
First came the “breakout app” of the SXSW conference this year – Meerkat. Then came the launch of Periscope which had been acquired by Twitter earlier this year. Throughout – Twitter, the social zeitgeist and the digerati went into an excitement meltdown.
My stream became congested with [Live Now] precursors. Everyone went a little balmy in the way only tech and social media obsessives can when the “next big thing” emerges.
So hype or reality? How important is live streaming? And who will be the winner between Meerkat and Periscope?
Short answers in order. Real, very and not sure.
We have had live streaming before of course. Simple webcams were a fad in the late 1990s and UStream has been around since 2007 (but has a different business model and a less integrated social connection). And YouTube has of course been dominant and significant in online video more generally, a sector which Facebook are making some serious moves in.
But the game changer here is the confluence of technology development (iPhone6 video capability is astonishing), improvements in mobile broadband (allowing live steaming to transmit with less buffering), social media maturity (mainstream and at scale, to say the least) and the development of simple apps to produce live streaming (Meerkat or Periscope). We have a perfect storm of drivers to make this medium scaleable. The friction in the live streaming process has been almost entirely removed. Click one button (quite literally) and you can live stream to the world with immediate social notifications and a community to comment along the way.
We had cracked one to one “live streaming” (not that we called it that) with Skype and Facetime. Now one to many live streaming is easily available and ‘in-play’.
Of course the less serious side is people live streaming themselves making dinner, buying a coffee or sitting on a plane. We went through this on Twitter and the day to day clutter aspect isn’t key (and shouldn’t become a distraction).
As this develops the use cases and applications will be broad and impactful. Beyond cooking shows, live Q&As and many other traditional “YouTube” channel type applications, what does this means for media and broadcast rights more broadly? This is not so much disruption as potentially nuclear Armageddon.
Think of the value of live sports rights alone. Previously not easy (understatement) to broadcast live events quickly and easily to a large audience. Suddenly not so difficult. And very very difficult to prevent. I am not saying this will overnight create a broadcast quality alternative to TV but you can see where this could go.
Any events where live broadcasting has been monetisable are now in play and at risk of disruption in the long term. Think conferences, music concerts, live comedy. IP and copyright issues aplenty for the legal fraternity to ponder, but remember Napster and how peer to peer music sharing began? If copyright breaches happen at scale this is not an easy can of worms to contain.
This also has ramifications for the way news events are reported. Even the BBC has already been experimenting with Meerkat.
In terms of Meerkat v Periscope the jury is, by definition, still out given the newness of the offerings. The two apps offer different approaches and features. The key feature offered by Periscope not currently offered by Meerkat is the ability to upload replays of previous live streams. Once a Meerkat stream is over it is gone (a la a Snapchat message). Clearly Periscope will also benefit by being owned by Twitter, including accessing its social graph which was unceremoniously pulled from Meerkat. Meerkat is already adding new features in response.
Gary Vaynerchuk and many others are still – sensibly – sitting on the fence on this hotly discussed topic. It is premature to call the end of Meerkat but Twitter’s ownership of Periscope certainly confers advantages.
Too early to call who the “micro” winners will be, but I think as a genre, live streaming’s time has come.
By Adam Fraser
After months of thinking and talking about it, and a few weeks of actually doing something about it, the day is finally beckoning.
My own podcast (“We’re talking social and digital”) is about to launch. Exciting times. I am pumped and committed for the long term to this project.
It has made me take a step back and think about how important podcasting has been (and continues to be) in my own educational journey. Central. Absolutely critical.
As I have previously written, I am extremely bullish on podcasting and personally love the format. Never a wasted moment for me anymore. Running, commuting on the train, driving anywhere alone, folding laundry, doing the ironing; I’m the guy with the headphones on. Listening. Absorbing. And learning so much.
In advance of my own launch, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge and thank a number of key podcasters who have been so central to my own educational journey. None of us ever stops learning – especially in the dynamic and rapidly changing social and digital space – and I have no plans to slow down on my voracious podcast consumption schedule anytime soon.
So here we go – my first ever list post. I had resisted for so long. The Buzzfeed approach to headlines had been held at bay. But here are the top 5 marketing podcasts that have shaped my thinking and I highly recommend.
- Six Pixels of Separation with Mitch Joel
A deep strategic thinker and incredibly insightful in his own right, Mitch brings a range of amazing guests to the table and probes them deeply. Often going broader than social and digital marketing, Mitch explores a whole range of topics including writing, productivity, media trends and disruption. This is in depth stuff. Following the usual podcast interview format, the shows last 45-60 mins. Very much looking at the “why” not the “how”, it’s well worth your time. In a swell of tactical noise, Mitch helps you cut to the broader trends and bigger picture shifts taking place.
- Social Pros with Jay Baer
Upbeat, informal, informative and lots of fun to boot, Jay follows a slightly different format. The anchor content is still an interview (with someone working in social media) but there are also features on social media case studies and social media stats. Co-hosted with Jeff Rohrs from Salesforce, the entertaining banter adds to the package. Jay is one of the leading thinkers in this space, so his context and questions draw the best from his guests and his own commentary add to the educational content. Focussed on “real people doing real work in social media” and typically lasting 45-50mins each week, this is a worthy addition to your podcast schedule as you hear and learn from those actually working in the industry at leading brands. [ps Jay’s “Jay Today” 3 minute near daily podcast is also ‘must listen’ stuff]
- New Rainmaker with Brian Clark
The over-arching theme of all of my favourite podcasts is educational, but with Brian Clark and the Copyblogger team this goes into overdrive! The “media not marketing” series of podcasts he produced were top drawer analysis. Each week the learning continues on content marketing, media trends and product development. Often guests pop in for a chat but the best stuff comes in straight exchanges between Brian and co-host Robert Bruce. Dry, witty, intelligent – Brian sounds like a guy you would want to have a beer with and exchange war stories. Lengths vary quite significantly from 15-50 mins. I have listened to Copyblogger podcasts since circa 2010 and shock horror – the long tail of content marketing – became a Rainmaker customer in 2014 with the development of the EchoJunction website.
- This Old Marketing with Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi
No interviews, but great commentary on weekly marketing news stories from Robert and Joe provides both an excellent curation source for current news as well as interesting discussion and analysis around the articles presented. Whilst Robert and Joe head up the Content Marketing Institute, I love the breadth of topics covered across marketing more generally and especially broader publishing and media trends. From content marketing to native advertising, print to social, you will learn a lot from these guys over 50-60 mins each week. Educational and entertaining with a “rants and raves” section thrown in for good measure, this is very much worth an ear.
- Social Media Marketing Podcast with Michael Stelzner
Social Media Examiner founder Michael Stelzner delivers an industry leading podcast on the “how to” aspect of social media. Bringing in a stream of the leading practitioners and tacticians in the industry, Michael expertly interviews guests on execution matters. Whether or not you operate in the “how”, it’s highly valuable education and tactics which also allow a listener to better understand some of the broader industry trends occurring. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, to be successful in this space you need to operate in both the clouds (strategy) and the dirt (execution). Michael’s longstanding weekly podcast (which typically runs for 40-50 mins) brings quality analysis on the tactical and execution side of social media.
Do you enjoy any of these podcasts? I would also love to hear your thoughts on any other podcasts you enjoy.
To be notified about the launch of the EchoJunction podcast, please sign up for our newsletter. I would love to have you on this journey.
By Adam Fraser
It’s been quite a year for fundraising in the enterprise social media software space.
I have discussed previously the deep, broad and complex marketing technology landscape. Almost 2,000 vendors across 43 categories. “Social media marketing” is just one of these categories but even it has its own living and breathing sub eco-system.
I often dissect the social media software market into verticals such as:
- social listening (think Brandwatch, Netbase, Radian6)
- social analytics (think Simply Measured, Social Bakers)
- social customer service (think Conversocial, SparkCentral)
- end to end social media management platforms (think Tracx, Sprinklr, Hootsuite)
There are of course many (many) other niche execution tools which help with listening or publishing on one or many social platforms (think Thunderclap, Tagboard and SocialBro to name just a few).
So as with the entire marketing technology landscape, the social media technology landscape is also deep and broad. There has been a massive investment of funds into marketing technology more broadly but the investment trends within the social media sector are interesting.
Venture capital and private equity investors expect growth, a return higher than the stock market and a path to an exit. Implicit in their investments is confidence in the enterprise social media space and obviously the specific business they are backing.
Some investors are betting that, increasingly, larger enterprises will seek one end-to-end platform to manage their social media activities, all the way from listening, through to publishing, analytics and customer service, rather than integrating a number of ‘best of breed’ verticals.
In the last couple of months, enterprise social platform Tracx raised $18m from Edison Partners and social marketing platform Spredfast raised $24m from Silver Lake Waterman. This comes less than a year after social management platform Sprinklr raised $40m from ICONIQ and social relationship platform Hootsuite raised $60m from a range of investors.
These are just a few examples but they highlight the key take-out – professional investors believe social media technology to be an ‘investment grade’ sector worthy of significant investment. It’s a sign of the maturation of the industry. We have come a long way from the “You should have a Facebook page” view of social media for enterprises.
Whether end to end platforms or best of breed verticals come to dominate within social technology will be an interesting topic to observe over the next 24-36 months. Mergers and acquisitions will also start to play a part in the landscape as some level of consolidation in a crowded market seems inevitable.
The battle lines have been drawn and people have made their bets. There will always be winners and losers, but the social media technology sector as a whole is healthy, growing and growing up.
By Adam Fraser
LinkedIn has come a long way from its origins. What began as a largely text based, pseudo job board has morphed into the prime B2B content distribution, marketing and networking platform in the world. Yes recruitment is still part of the story but there is so much more there if you look under the bonnet.
LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002, going live in May 2003. It’s the world’s largest professional network with more than 347 million members in over 200 countries and territories, and over 6m members in Australia (almost half the Australian labour force). Its website has a nice visual showing user growth since its inception. The pace of recent growth is impressive; having taken over 7 years to reach 100m users (in late 2010) it hit 200m in mid 2012 and 300m in late 2013.
With more than the 90% of white collar professionals signed up to LinkedIn in some mature markets, it is almost ubiquitous in many professional sectors. Across the board it is the 14th most popular website on the planet.
Less fashionable and talked about than its consumer focused peers in social media, LinkedIn is a financial powerhouse. Its full year 2014 results showed revenue of $2.2bn and EBITDA (fancy accounting term which is a good proxy for operating profitability) of $592m . Nice (as a comparison note Twitter’s equivalent numbers in 2014 were revenue $1.4bn and EBITDA $300m ). It is forecasting revenue of close to $3bn in 2015. That’s a healthy clip.
LinkedIn listed on the NY Stock Exchange in May 2011 and its stock price doubled on day one. People were concerned about over-valuation as it ended day one a $9bn company. Its market cap today is now over $33bn.
So how is LinkedIn now making money? It has 3 primary revenue generating divisions:
- Talent Solutions (recruitment related products and services) – 57% of revenue
- Marketing Solutions (sponsored posts and advertising) – 24% of revenue
- Premium Subscriptions (individual subscription packages) – 19% of revenue
Its full year results also highlighted some interesting trends:
- It now has 3m active jobs listed on the platform
- 70% of its members come from outside the USA – it is a truly global platform
- Over 1m long form posts per week are now generated on its publishing platform
After initially opening its native blogging/publishing platform in October 2012 only to influencers such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Barack Obama it opened this platform more broadly in February 2014 with great success. Whilst I have previously written about not building your media house on rented property, as a driver of awareness (and hence potential traffic back to your own mothership) LinkedIn’s publishing platform (and enormous audience) is of significant value.
In the past couple of years, LinkedIn has sensibly bolted on acquisitions which have both strengthened its core offering and diversified its range of services.
In July 2012 LinkedIn acquired Slideshare, a sharing platform for business documents, videos and presentations. In a honeymoon period for content marketing, this was a very important strategic bolt on. Slideshare is now the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content. Often over-looked, there are a number of ways businesses can use Slideshare as part of their B2B marketing. This is an important content discovery platform and should be a key consideration for any B2B content marketing strategy.
In April 2013 LinkedIn acquired Pulse, boosting its capability in publishing, content curation and content distribution. This has been seamlessly and effectively integrated into the LinkedIn platform and provides further compelling reasons for professionals to “check in” and spend more time on LinkedIn.
In February 2014 data-matching job search start up Bright.com was bolted on, removing a potential competitor and boosting capability in LinkedIn’s core recruitment value proposition
In July 2014 LinkedIn acquired Bizo, a company that helps advertisers reach businesses and professionals. Bizo offers targeting and analytics for display and direct response ads. Significantly this gave LinkedIn a chance to expand its reach (and associated marketing offerings) to platforms beyond LinkedIn itself. As alluded to it in its own blog announcement on the acquisition, it also enhanced LinkedIn’s analytics and targeting capabilities. Bizo has more than 2000 publishing partners and is now fully integrated into LinkedIn’s platform.
There was a key strategic game changer in the Bizo acquisition and integration. As stated in the LinkedIn blog (bold is my emphasis):
“Today we also extend our reach beyond the LinkedIn platform with LinkedIn Network Display, an audience network which gives brands the opportunity to engage professional audiences with display advertising both on LinkedIn and off-platform across thousands of publisher sites on the web.”
Pushing the ever-present privacy concerns to one side when looking at social media targeting and big data, this is an important and significant expansion of LinkedIn’s reach. Thoughts spring to mind re the Google framework – where ads appear on many properties beyond its own via the google display network. LinkedIn is expanding its tentacles beyond its own site, but utilising its proprietary data on its users. It doesn’t take too much imagination to start seeing your LinknedIn identity becoming your de facto digital id, driving content and ad targeting on many online properties outside of LinkedIn.
What next? LinkedIn is looking at the possible launch of an intranet service for businesses. A move into content recommendation, marketing automation or even CRM isn’t that big a leap. It is moving from a position of strength.
In terms of marketing the conclusion is inescapable. When you are thinking B2B marketing you simply have to think LinkedIn (and Slideshare). The fact that it was never “fashionable” actually works to LinkedIn’s benefit. People were never there because it was a cool place to hang out. They were there for business. And unless LinkedIn scores some major own goals they are unlikely to be leaving any time soon.
By Adam Fraser
The worlds of the marketing and IT departments have never been closer.
As I previously discussed, there are now a plethora of software tools available to marketers. Approximately 2,000 tools. Being comfortable with technology and analytics is no longer an optional extra for digital marketers – it’s table stakes. As often quoted, Gartner have forecast that by 2017, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.
The term Chief Marketing Technologist is becoming increasingly understood and adopted in the USA – the true hybrid CMO/CIO role. As Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec.com describes, it’s a “marketer who understands technology. A technologist who is passionate about marketing” . A Gartner study from 2013 in the USA showed that 70% of companies sampled had a chief marketing technologist.
In early 2015, the Economist Intelligence Unit with Marketo surveyed 500 senior marketers from around the globe. Two of the key conclusions were
- Marketing needs to invest in new digital skills and operational expertise – marketing is shifting from an art form to art & science
- Marketing must leverage technology to succeed in this world of individual engagement at scale
In considering the synergies of a collaborative approach between marketing and IT, I like this quote from David Rubin, head of brand at Pinterest, from a KornFerry paper “Driving Change in a digitally transformed world” :
“With greater philosophical alignment between the CMO and CIO, technology turns into a weapon – instead of a cost.”
The PWC Digital IQ survey in 2014 indicated 5 key behaviours driving the success of an enterprise’s digital strategy, one of which was listed as the strength of the CMO/CIO relationship.
Many trends in the digital marketing space are global, but this particular topic is one I think where there is a clear disparity between the USA and Australia. In Australia whilst there is certainly awareness and discussion on the CMO/CIO convergence, I don’t think we have progressed to the point where the true hybrid role has gone mainstream.
Quick experiment to confirm – searching on Seek.com.au today (Feb 25, 2015) there were multiple listings for CMOs and CIOs but zero search results returned for the term “Chief Marketing Technologist”.
The over-arching reason why the CMO/CIO convergence issue has become the topic of so many conversations is based on the broader shifts happening in the market, namely the “digital revolution” driving the need for significant change management processes within enterprises. The Altimer group define digital transformation as:
The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.
Unquestionably the worlds of the CMO and the CIO are converging and will continue to do so. A key question to consider – is this departmental relationship enough to facilitate a true enterprise-wide digital transformation? The stakes are high in executing on this. An excellent 2012 study from Cap Gemini and MIT showed how digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry, driving real results for the bottom line.
Interestingly, the Cap Gemini/MIT study identified 6 common factors driving the successful digital strategies of the digital leaders, one being:
IT-Business relationships. Digital transformation is about re-defining big parts of the business, and IT is essential in doing it. In some companies, the CIO is the perfect Building Digital Maturity: Digital DNA person to suggest and even drive digital initiatives; in other cases the digital agenda will be driven by business or joint IT-business teams. In any case, shared understanding between IT and business executives is critical to success.
A common view is that the CMO should lead the digital transformation of an organisation. The 2014 State of Digital Transformation Study from the Altimer group confirmed that 54% of CMOs were driving digital transformation versus 29% CIOs/CTOs (and only 42% of CEOs).
Whilst customer facing aspects are not the sole consideration in an enterprise’s digital transformation, understanding the digital touch points across the end to end customer experience clearly represents a key aspect, hence the obvious interest of the marketer in driving this change management process.
We need technology solutions to meet a business requirement which is executing on a corporate strategy. Ultimately the CMO v CIO issue, whilst critical, is only one aspect of the jigsaw puzzle. The key is driving the overall business changes needed and reaching the desired strategic end point, not necessarily the methods (or org structure) you use to get there.
What is clear is that IT is a key enabler of this process. The extent to which they are driving the process may vary depending on the individual characteristics of an organisation, but at a minimum they absolutely need to be engaged, contributing and facilitating.
Marketers clearly have a seat at this table, quite often at the head, but the key for any organisation is to remove the silos and harness the collective IP of the senior executive team to drive the holistic digital change program needed in these dynamic times.
With other business processes arguably also in play beyond marketing – including customer support, internal collaboration, operating efficiency and employee retention to name a few – this digital change process will sensibly encapsulate more than just the CMO and the CIO. It also needs to be backed by CEO sponsorship.
By Adam Fraser
Snapchat has become the poster child for the “millennial social network”. Launched in mid 2011 as a mobile only platform, it now has at least 100m monthly active users (some speculate the actual number is closer to 200m), 71% of whom are under 25 and highly engaged, sending more than 800m snaps per day.
In stock market parlance, millennials have gone long Snapchat and short Facebook. Quoting again for the recent medium post “A teenagers view of social media“:
“Snapchat is where we can really be ourselves while being attached to our social identity. Without the constant social pressure of a follower count or Facebook friends, I am not constantly having these random people shoved in front of me. Instead, Snapchat is a somewhat intimate network of friends…”
Snapchat is more popular than Facebook with teenagers in many markets.
However, the social network with the ultimate millennial audience may just be growing up in media terms.
It has gone through the tried and trusted model of social networks – attract an audience, allow free reign for “organic” content, then once a scalable loyal base has been established, find a native way to monetise this via advertising and sponsorship. As Gary Vayernchuk says “marketers ruin everything” and in Snapchat’s case with 100m+monthly users in the very attractive “youth market”, the marketers are certainly coming.
Snapchat has evolved a great deal since it commenced as the quirky mobile app which allowed users to send video or photos which disappeared after 10 seconds.
In October 2013 it launched stories, allowing users to create connected narratives which lasted 24 hours. A rolling storyboard of your daily life. Increased engagement. Increased attention.
In May 2014 it moved into the straight ‘traditional’ text messaging space dominated by WhatsApp by adding text chat and video calls.
In early 2015 it launched its new Discovery platform which in one fell swoop effectively moved Snapchat into the world of online publishing, backed by sponsored ads. In a complete pivot from its trademark disappearing messages, 11 media partners including CNN, MTV, Daily Mail and CNN offered short form video content in a separate area of the platform. Snapchat’s own announcement on this included a telling remark:
“This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”
Interesting move. Snapchat is self-proclaiming itself “not social media”. No algorithms to determine what is found within Discovery. No self-curation of content. For now this is controlled by Snapchat. Straight media within the broader messaging platform. The content refreshes every 24 hours encouraging regular engagement amongst its users. The advertising options within this are more open, including a possible “click to buy” button.
Shortly after the launch of Discovery, Madonna released her new video on Snapchat. Now I know its not 1985 and Madonna is no longer at the peak of her powers but that’s still an impressive marker for such a new media platform. Not itunes. Not Facebook. Not Instagram. Madonna chose new kid on the block Snapchat. Rumours had previously emerged of Snapchat’s interest in the music industry based on its audience demographic.
It’s still early days, but of all the networks Snapchat seems to be managing the inverse relationship between revenue generation and user experience the most effectively. Driven by the powerful psychology of ‘view it now or it disappears forever’, the sponsored content to date has been received reasonably well.
800m snaps and 1bn stories viewed daily. Thats a lot of attention – the scarcest commodity around. Whilst not yet profitable, investors like what they see. A current fundraising is rumoured to value Snapchat at $19bn.
Novel and unique as Snapchat’s platform is, ultimately they have followed the golden rule of media. Its all about the audience. Build a large, engaged and loyal audience, then the monetisation opportunities will take care of themselves. Snapchat needs to execute on this without overly disrupting the user experience but it seems to be navigating this minefield reasonably well. Whether it is worth $19bn is a question for another day, but the new kid on the block is growing up fast.
By Adam Fraser.
If you’ve taken an office coffee order in Australia lately, you’ll know all about the precise nature of customer needs these days.
Fifteen Years ago – 5 white coffees please. Today – an extra hot latte with one sugar, a decaf flat white with a sweetener, a weak soy cappuccino with a caramel shot, a strong skimmed macchiato and a chai latte.
We know exactly what we want, and we know exactly how and when we want it.
Boost Juice just emailed me to let me know I can now order a juice via their app and it will be waiting for me when I get to the store. Because that 2-3 minute wait while they made it was simply too disruptive to my day.
Get home at night and no more waiting for the 8:30pm slot for your favourite TV show. It’s pre-set to record on series link, so you watch it when you want (fast forwarding all commercials of course).
More likely of course you aren’t even waiting for TV shows but are watching video on demand via YouTube or Netflix. Exactly what you want, on a device you choose, when you want it. In the Netflix era, we now live in a society where people watch entire seasons in one hit.
The rigidity of radio is being challenged by the flexibility and customisation capabilities of podcasts. If a media company’s schedule doesn’t work for you, you can now design your own radio station.
Newspapers are clearly in decline in terms of mainstream popularity as we piece together the news and information based on our interests, in a form of our preference, from a source of our choice. And there are many choices. Some would say too many. Self-curation is the order of the day.
If it sounds like the world is being turned upside down….that’s because it is. Driven by technology, innovation and most critically the internet itself (still only circa 20 years old).
Ignoring the deep sociological and psychological impacts of this instant gratification, always-on environment (more than a blog piece in its own right) what does this all mean for your social media marketing strategy?
As ever “it depends” based on your business objectives, but a few high level general thoughts and observations would be:
First and foremost, it’s not about you and your preferred medium, content or timing – its about your customers’ needs and preferences. Think audience first.
It’s about multiple screens, and responsive design so your content looks good whether viewed on desktop, tablet or mobile.
It’s mainly about mobile more generally.
It’s creating bite sized chunks of content for people scrolling at pace on the go – how are you going to stand out and force a pause in the thumb scroll as a consumer rapidly browses through the stream? Attention is getting scarcer, more valuable and harder to earn. Some even say humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
It’s flexible and fast moving; consumer preferences are changing quickly, your marketing and social media strategy needs to as well. Pinterest was in beta testing with 5,000 users 4 years ago; and Snapchat didn’t even exist 3 years ago. The next big thing is always just around the corner. Secret launched earlier this year, Ello just 2 months ago and all of a sudden here comes Tsu. The big platforms change strategy in a heartbeat. ‘Set and forget’ strategy no longer works. Be where your audience is and constantly adapt and evolve to the changing social landscape.
Visual content has rapidly increased in importance (as demonstrated by the rapid growth of Instagram and Pinterest, but evident on all social networks) along with short video (Vine, Instagram). Bite sized popcorn consumables are generally the order of the day (although the right type of long form content still has its place). On YouTube short bursts are likely to get more traction than longer videos. The duration of the average online content video on YouTube was recently calculated to be 4.4 minutes.
The market is drowning with content and data. 90% of the world’s data was created in the past 2 years. If content marketing is part of your equation, to cut through the clutter you probably need to go narrow and go deep – carve out a niche for your hyper-specialised expertise. If you are talking to everyone you are probably talking to noone.
Sometimes it may all seem overwhelming. Too much change. Too many platforms. Too much noise.
Yes, yes, yes and yes. But that’s the way it is and you need to market based on current realities, not based on the way you wish things were. Or the way you think things should be.
You personally may not like or “agree” with how things are in 2014. And it may well have been a lot easier being a marketer broadcast blasting 30 second ads on mass across a dominant TV medium where consumer attention was almost exclusively (and very predictably) focused. But arguing against reality is somewhat futile and nostalgia is not a sound basis on which to run a business. The need to adapt has never been greater.