It’s the battle we’re all fighting; how do we cut through the noisy opportunity presented by Social Media? On the one hand, we know our target audiences are there and primed to be engaged. On the other hand, the sheer numbers present a hurdle many aren’t aware of. The travel industry, for example, has more than 70million conversations annually on Twitter alone. The need to stand out and grab dwindling attention has never been greater.

At IF, we call this ‘thumb-stopping content’. To hook in social, you have to grab a mind’s curiosity, intrigue or humour. The user’s reaction is to stop the thumb scroll. Clicks ensue. Understanding your customer journey and audience’s behaviour is key. Whilst online search permits a brand to race to the bottom of the funnel and throw a net over active brand search, what about the users who don’t know that they desperately need or want your brand’s proposition or service? ‘Filling up the funnel’ is hugely important, and sympathetic to those all-important PPC activities too  – not in place of them!

Social Media, (if done right!) has the potential to not only top up the funnel but ‘nudge nurture’ users from awareness, through consideration and to the trigger of purchase. Whether that consideration phase is a short-term ‘impulse to buy’ of consumer products or longer-term assessments of a billion-dollar spend on a technology delivery contract, Social Media has a key role to play.

We can substantiate this assessment with a mere glance at the numerous award-winning campaigns immediate future has delivered over the years. From making a travel brand (and its conversations) relevant to X-Factor and the viewers of the ITV broadcast iconic show – and subsequently delivering millions of pounds of travel bookings, to taking a challenger technology brand to the point of dominating C-Suite attention in industry and delivering numerous contract renewals valued in the billions. In both cases, Social Media was, and is, the cornerstone of standout marketing success.

So how does your brand stand out amongst the millions of conversations in social and foster the short attention span of our (soon to be) customers? Simple. You have to be bold with your creative. Clever with your execution. It starts and ends with the ‘pop’ in your creativity.

Here are 5 ways you can be more creative:

  1. Bin creative stifling brand guidelines! Less of a challenge for consumer brands, more prominent for B2Bs. The brand guidelines written a decade ago, created to control the ideation and creation of content for print and online (web) are not fit for Social Media. Tiresome fonts, over-engineered frames, and boxes and the hideous reliance on stock imagery are drab. It’s not creative, it is sleep-inducing. Rule 1: recognise the need for guideline flexibility and creative injecting leeway to create attractive, impactful and thought-provoking content
  2. Know your audience’s ‘sleepless nights’. Okay, so we’re not saying audiences are literally being caused a sleepless night having not bought your proposition or service. What are their nuisances that your product or service solve? How does your proposition speak to those pain-points and nuisances? By framing content, addressing ‘sleepless nights’ your content will instantly have resonance and ‘pop’ with users who share those ‘nuisances’
  3. Better brainstorming! Yes, it is possible. Ahead of the brainstorm, identify the challenge you need to answer. If point 2 was an eye-opener for you, starting with a brainstorm aimed at identifying your audience’s sleepless nights is a smart place to begin. Whatever the ‘problem’ identify it and make it visible in the room. Online you will find a whole host of brainstorming techniques. Be focused on your problem, limit time to half an hour, and use a specific tactic aimed at getting minds to open. A favourite tactic of mine is ‘Reverse It’. All too often we find a reason an idea won’t work. Negative blocks and hurdles come to mind far easier than random opportunities. So, start with the negatives. Have your brainstorm goal in mind. And Explore all the blocks and hurdles that prevent unlock. Get them all written down on separate Post It notes and deployed on a wall. Group similar words, and then, as a team, Reverse It. Explore the opposites of the roadblocks and hurdles. You’ll find you start looking at opportunities and possibilities. Then, build on each idea and concept. Have fun with it!
  4. Know each Ad format by social channel. How can you brainstorm a compelling Facebook, Instant Experience concept, if you don’t know what the immersive Instant Experience is, or the volume and type of assets required for this execution? The same can be said for Carousels et al. Know what Ad formats are available to you.
  5. Reset your thinking. Facebook never was and is not a consumer only marketing platform. Many people think this because of an urban myth set-off years ago by someone who didn’t know the platform or its compelling B2B performance. Simply put, all of our B2B clients are smashing it on Facebook.

Content SHOULD NOT be ‘buy me now’, or, ‘visit me at stand B4 in hall 1’. Here’s the thing you need to grasp: No one cares about your brand! But they will do when the sleepless nights resonate. Compelling content and Paid Media deployment, utilising behaviours and interests will identify your audiences and take resonating content to their feeds. Instagram isn’t just pictures and for consumer brands. TikTok isn’t going away and in fact, consumer brands should be unlocking its potency now. And lastly, but most importantly, one piece of content cannot be ‘cut n paste’ across all channels.

Ok, so there are many more thoughts that need resetting, but those are the main ones for now. Open your mind. Be bold with your thinking. Don’t stifle creative possibilities. Be bold and try something your brand hasn’t done. As someone much smarter than I once said, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

If in your case, what you got was boring social, then a step change is needed! Get cracking.

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