It's no secret that social media marketing thrives on producing eye-catching content designed specifically with the audience in mind. Unfortunately, as a result we tend to see marketers following established patterns when it comes to putting campaigns together which can mean that we set an expectation with our audiences for what marketing for different industries should look and feel like. True social media marketers are always looking for a way to be different, to stand-out in an incredibly crowded marketplace and to be heard above the noise. It's what's been dubbed the 'battle for eyeballs' as audience attention becomes a currency for those of us who use social media for business. So here at Socially-M we're always looking for something different, something that's truly fresh and we applaud those that dare to stand out or break with tradition to deliver truly spectacular campaign results.
Like us you're probably familiar with the formula for how movies are traditionally marketed, with studio announcements, press releases, tweets from the actors involved, the appointment of a director or writers, first glimpse posters in cinemas and movie theatres, all the way through to teaser trailers, movie trailers, social media campaigns, press tours and finally the premiere and red carpet interviews. The movie business thrives on building expectation, hype and making audiences hungry for a movie long before the actors have even stepped on set and run through their lines. In fact, how many times have you heard the expression "this year's most anticipated movie release"? It's a phrase that's attributed to almost every film these days, because it makes you believe that if it truly is that 'anticipated' then you definitely don't want to miss it. So with such an established model for how to market a movie, would anyone dare to break with tradition or do something radically different?
Last night, cinema-goers who sat down to watch Michael Bay’s 13 Hours were treated with a rather unexpected trailer for a film that no one really saw coming. The film in question, directed by Dan Trachtenberg (Portal: No Escape) and code-named Valencia, has been in the works for a while now starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. and that’s pretty much all anyone knew about it. Now Paramount has released the official trailer, which you can view below. There's been no hype, no rumours and no tell-tale tweets or snippets from the actors themselves. Produced by J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot Productions, we're led to believe that the movie is some sort of sequel or 'blood-relative' as Abrams calls it, to the 2008 movie Cloverfield which followed the efforts of a group of New York party-goers as they try to navigate their way across the city after dark and an apparent alien-slash-monster attack.
Not much can be gleaned from the first look of 10 Cloverfield Lane in how it exactly relates to the original film, perhaps it's the aftermath of the attack or perhaps the events of the movie run con-currently to those of the 2008 movie? Which is exactly why we love the way it's been released completely under the radar and under the noses of an unsuspecting audience. The response to the trailer on social media has been amazing, it's featured in major tabloids and publications overnight. It's effectively turned an online audience of movie-lovers into it's own marketing and press machine, which is an exceptional feat by any marketers standards. Normally when the first trailer for a film drops we often have months, if not years, to wait and see what it’s all about. Thankfully, having kept so much of the film under wraps for so long we need only wait till the beginning of March 2016 when it’s released.
Surprise things like this happen so rarely in this day and age that we already love 10 Cloverfield Lane for catching us off guard. So if your business uses social media and you know there's already an established pattern or expectation to how you build a campaign online, why not start thinking about alternative approaches? A pleasant surprise engages and stimulates an audience far more than the usual pattern or tired old advertising that they're used to. We love this approach and we love originality, just like your audience will.
Start thinking less-traditionally, keep your audience guessing, they won't expect the unexpected so you can start delivering world-class social media that nobody even saw coming!
Here at Socially-M we like Twitter. A lot. It may even be fair to say that we love the subtle and succinct art of putting together a tweet with photos and links, and releasing it onto our followers' newsfeeds. Twitter has been good to us too. We've met friends, colleagues and customers through the platform that we would never have found anywhere else. We're rather fond of the platform and the 140 character limit tweet format.
So we were a little surprised when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at potential changes to the platform that would see the limit increase to around 10,000 characters. It's no secret that the future Twitter has come under scrutiny over the course of 2015, with many experts expecting the platform to do more to combat trolls and cyber-bullying or others, most notably CEO of Vaynermedia - Gary Vaynerchuck, suggesting that Twitter needs to cut out the clutter and evolve or it would be left behind by the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. We've no arguments there, it's long been the case that platforms need to 'evolve or die' as those of you old enough to remember MySpace and Bebo will know.
Initial reactions to the announcement were of disappointment. Disappointment and disbelief that Twitter would even consider changing what many saw as the platforms's unique element. I'll admit, we were a little taken aback too. From a professional point of view we've built our business on being able to craft succinct posts which include a photo, link and less text. But having had 24 hours to let the news sink in and consider it, we're actually rather encouraged by it. If nothing else, it proves that Twitter wants to be responsive to it's users' needs. Jack Dorsey explained that their own research has shown that a lot of users are posting pictures of text that would outweigh the character limit. Are photos of text documents the future? Of course not. True evolution is finding a way to avoid having to take photos of words and come up with a more user-friendly alternative.
Which is exactly what Twitter are doing. We think it's most likely that Twitter will retain the 140 characters that you know and love as a standard in your newsfeeds, but will adopt a 'more' button, much like Instagram did last year, allowing the additional text to be viewed at the users' discretion. So your initial tweet can become like a headline for the rest of your story. Twitter is also in the process of introducing interactive posts with 'call to action' buttons, allowing you to direct users to your website, shop, newsletter sign-up or survey at the click of a button. This would also remove the need for links to use up those valuable first 140 character headlines. As Twitter evolves, the way we use the platform also needs to change, which is perhaps why we've seen so much resistance to their current plans.
There's always resistance to change but social media has to remain innovative, to keep pushing boundaries and improving user experiences. We can't just draw a line in the sand and say "we built this platform in 2001, it was good enough then and it's good enough now.
Likewise, we can't keep using the platforms the same way as businesses, marketers or influencers, can we?
Happy new year! We hope 2016 is a prosperous and successful year for you. But after the midnight countdown, the fireworks, the singing of Auld Lang Syne and for many the inevitable hangover the following morning, no doubt your thoughts have turned to your resolutions for 2016. Whilst many of us make the usual 'new year, new me' fitness and healthy-eating resolutions with the best of intentions, many of us simply can't keep them. So, here at Socially-M we've come up with some social media new year resolutions you can keep and that you should start seeing results from almost immediately.
1. Ditch Automated Direct Messages on Twitter
Have you ever started a conversation with a stranger and then instantly given them your website address, instagram handle, Facebook page, Tumblr blog, Snapchat, asked them to subscribe to your newsletter or asked them to download your latest e-book? No? We didn't think so, somehow. So why do it on Twitter? There's nothing worse than seeing someone's tweets, checking their profile and finding them interesting enough to follow, only to get bombarded with information in an automated direct message and that's how potential customers feel when they follow businesses according to one of our recent surveys. It's just not authentic and social media users want personality. Out with the old, we say.
2. Stop With The Emotional Blackmail Posts
You know the posts we mean, we've all seen them. The 'not one of my friends will post this', the 'are you brave enough to share this' and the 'only my true friends will share this' posts. This is a technique used to great effect by some questionable organisations, which preys on the readers' conscience, making them feel embarrassed or guilty enough to share your content. It's the equivalent of playground social media, if you feel you have to tell your followers that they're not really your friend if they don't share your content. Is that how you'd talk to your friends or customers in person? We doubt it. It's got to stop.
3. Quit Using Automated Quote Generators
One or two inspirational quotes make you stop and think. But a quote every 30 minutes starts to clog up peoples newsfeeds and timelines. Social media thrives on original and thought-provoking content, but if it becomes repetitive, annoying or the only thing you post on a regular basis, then you're not doing you, your business or your followers any favours. Let's cut out the clutter in 2016.
4. Ditch Negativity Completely
They say that misery loves company, but actually the complete opposite is true on social media. There's nothing worse than seeing constant complaining, criticism and finger-pointing on your newsfeed. If you're a business, what does that kind of posting say to your customers? On social media, positivity is the new black, it's uplifting, it's infectious and it's engaging. Which means more of your followers are likely to respond well to it. Which is what you want, right?
5. Promise To Deliver Relevant Content
When you follow a business on social media we imagine you do it because you're interested in their brand, their industry or their products, right? So would you expect to see an estate agent sharing photos of dogs, using the hashtag #wetdogwednesday? Would you expect a bar or restaurant to share news stories about computer games? You can see what we're getting at here (and these are both real examples we came across over Christmas) but your audience has already decided what they expect to see from you. Don't let them down.
So, there you go. There's 5 easy to keep resolutions to help you win at social media in 2016. But we'd love to hear yours! Let us know what resolutions or decisions you've made with your social media efforts this year, we'd love to be able to help you keep them too!