Sharpen Your Social Perspective in 2016 - Veritas Communications
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Sharpen Your Social Perspective in 2016

Veritas’ Senior Digital Strategist, Kevin Twomey, looks ahead on how social media platforms, brands and agencies will hopefully begin to mature in 2016.

Proudly sitting on my desk is what appears to be a swear jar, but instead of adding money to it every time I swear (which is very often), I put $2 in every time I use the phrase, ‘fewer, bigger, better.’ My plans are to have the jar full by December (or sooner.)

This phrase will be used at every opportunity – not just internally but with clients and agency partners – in order to drive home what we should be concentrating on in 2016, mainly more eyeballs and higher quality creative content.

The evolution of social media has seen brands spend millions of dollars on getting fans to follow them on social media. A few years later, even more money is spent getting likes, comments and shares with little or no research to show what that comment or like means for a brand’s ROI.

For too long, brands and agencies have been distracted by metrics that have practically insignificant business impact. Hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars have been spent on developing ongoing content, supporting it with media and then hoping that month’s editorial calendar would surpass the previous month’s engagement as a percentage of reach metric.

Thankfully, social media platforms and brands are beginning to show signs of maturity and realizing what measurement metric really matters:

Reach.

Just like traditional advertising, the more people that see your brand message on social media, the bigger the business impact. As an industry, we now have the tools to effectively track a spike in social media reach to a brand’s bottom line. In order to take full advantage of this, agencies and social media platforms need to stop misleading brands and instead have the difficult, grown up conversation with their clients about how it’s OK to go dark for weeks/months at a time on social media. Brands don’t run TV ads 365 days of the year – the same should apply to social media.

The industry has developed an artificial fear that “if we don’t post on social media then consumers will forget about us.” That isn’t the case. It’s important to monitor social media on a daily basis and have resources available to answers questions and complaints, but gone are the days of having to produce content 24/7. Agencies might find this hard to swallow (as it justifies the monthly retainers), but if agencies want to be seen as true partners who are truly invested in the success of the brand, then they need to revise their strategies.

Moving away from mass-produced, micro-content, creative resources should instead focus on creating authentic, meaningful content that is relevant to the consumer while also adding value to the brand. We need to move away from thinking it’s OK to post an image with a holiday-card-quality quote and push ourselves to develop truly impactful stories. If this means only having 2-4 social posts per year then so be it; at least you’ll be having a meaningful engagement with consumers that will ultimately have greater business impact. This also applies to earned social content. At Veritas, we pride ourselves on Influencing the Influencers  — and focus on creating unique, authentic experiences for influencers, giving them the backdrop to share impactful and engaging content with their followers.

Not only does ‘fewer, bigger, better’ apply to content creation, it also applies to platforms. There is a tendency to get distracted by ‘new’ and ‘shiny.’ There is an unnatural desire to be on all things new, regardless of how strategically sound that might be. It seems like every other week, there is a new platform or social app and brands are clambering to be the first on it to prove their viability that they are innovative, responsive and at the cutting edge of social media. But in reality it shows mismanagement by the agency.

Every time a brand is tempted to sign up to a new platform, these questions should be asked:

1) Will this add value to my brand?

2) What’s the benefit to consumer of the brand being on this platform?

3) What content will I put on it?

4) Can I afford it?

I’m all for testing and trying new things, but not at the overall expense of the brand. As marketing budgets get tighter and expectations grow higher, brands and agencies need to be incredibly focused in order to deliver the best ROI.

As social platforms mature, and brands and agencies get a better understanding on how best to use them, I think we’ll see far smarter use of social in 2016. The tried and trusted methods of traditional advertising will be increasingly applied to social media.

 

Fewer posts, bigger reach, and better stories.

So, only three uses of the phrase during the course of this item – six bucks into the jar. Not bad…