Social Channel Selection & the Content Sandwich

Back when the social media revolution began, there were few options available to businesses – blogs, forums and MySpace were the highlights. Shortly thereafter, Facebook, which began as a platform for college students became available to the masses and Twitter launched… fast-forward to today. Social media now takes the form of networks (Facebook, Google+, LinkedInMySpace), videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), images (Instagram, Flickr), blogs (Blogger, WordPress), microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr), chats and video chats (SnapChat, WhatsApp, Skype), bookmarking/content-sharing sites (Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, SlideShare), communities (reddit), music (Spotify, Last.FM, SoundCloud), Q&A forums (Quora, Ask.FM), location-based platforms (Foursquare, Swarm, Yelp), review sites (Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor), and shopping (Amazon, eBay).

Online social opportunities for each and every business are endless. Unfortunately, time and money are not. Think you can just choose your favorite platform and dive-in head first? Probably not a good idea. It’s unlikely that your entire target audience will be devoted to one social site (see below). In fact, they most likely use several different social platforms at different times for different reasons. So try to be everywhere, right? NO. You’ll spread yourself too thin.

Social Media Matrix

Pew Research Center, 2013

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Let’s Get Visual! Let Me See Your Content Talk!

There’s a reason that popularity of social sites like Instagram and Pinterest have skyrocketed recently.  It is the same reason that you used to be drawn to the stories in the newspaper that had images associated with them (hey! remember when you actually held a newspaper in your hand and read it?).  By design, we’re visual beings.  We’re built to see a wide spectrum of colors, depth and texture.

But the reason we’re drawn to imagery goes beyond that – when we view imagery, we each see something unique and we connect emotionally to the visual by creating our meaning for it.  Visuals make more lasting impressions because we process them differently than we do text.  According to a recent LinkedIn blog post, when we process imagery we are using 75% of our sensory neurons.  Imagery has become the new headline.  In this new fast-paced world where we’re dealing with a barrage of messages and continuous noise via every social channel, imagery is what we (marketers) need to use to capture the attention of our audience.

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Samsung scored with Ellen’s Oscar selfie

By now we’ve all seen the best selfie ever. (See below in case you have been living under a proverbial rock.)  How could you not love this photo? The spontaneity, casualness and silliness of it made it go viral instantly.  So much so that it not only set the record for the highest number of retweets (more than 2.5 million right now and 700,000 in the first hour), which was Ellen’s goal, but it also crashed Twitter.

EllenOscarsSelfie

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Watch Your Tone!

Ever been checking out a brand’s Facebook page and noticed that their posts are obviously being written by a couple different people?  Yikes! That’s no good. With strapped marcom budgets, reduced staff and large workloads, many brands rely on several different people to post to their social pages and profiles.  How can can a brand ensure that all the people posting on behalf of the brand are singing in the same voice rather than their own?

Each person posting needs to understand and embrace the brand’s personality.  Is the brand formal or more casual?  Is the brand fun or serious?  Ultimately, the brand’s personality needs to be determined by the executive team and everyone, from the top down, needs to buy into it. Once the brand’s personality has been established, the marketing team needs to figure out how to marketing materials will reflect it.

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An SEO Boost from Google+

All marketers know that SEO is important.  But what’s a marketer to do if he/she doesn’t have the ability to update website content and metadata on the fly to improve rankings? Sounds like crazy talk, right?  How would a marketer NOT have that access?  Sometimes websites, especially very complex ones with many integrated systems, live in IT instead of Marketing and any changes to website content or metadata need to follow a formal request process.  So what’s a marketer to do to improve SEO?  Head to Google+!

I know, I know.  You’re saying, “WHA??? But no one uses Google+ except for IT peeps, marketing/social media geeks and photographers. Why would I spend my time and effort there?”  It can certainly be frustrating to invest the effort in a social platform where audience growth is slow and engagement is few and far between.  While G+ doesn’t have nearly the usage that Facebook does, there are still millions of people who use the social network each day.  According to a recent New York Times article, Google says that the platform has 540 million monthly active users, which does pale in comparison to the 1.2 billion who visit Facebook.  But the real value of Google+ is in the SEO weight it carries.

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