Ep 19: Serious Social – Busting myths, sifting the bona fide from the BS

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Full Transcript

Welcome to the Serious Social podcast, created by the straight-talking social media experts at immediate future.

CJ – This week, we’re exploring marketing myths. We’re going to help you sift the BS from the bonafide.

Myths, they surround us. Many have tried to prove or disprove the existence of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Bodmin Moor is said to have its own beast who occasionally wanders into view, and lightening supposedly doesn’t strike twice, although some scientists take issue with that claim.

Like many other countries, myths and legends have been woven through Britain’s history. The story or Robin Hood and his Merry Men made it all the way to Hollywood.

The same reach can be said of marketing myths. Once cultivated from a person’s mind and shared initially from desk-to-desk, and then later computer-to-computer, and now we’re even seeing generational baton sharing is happening. The great thing about modern marketing is the data. It’s easy to prove or disprove something. Despite that, many marketers have been happy following the so-called facts laid down within marketing and not taking time to check authenticity.

For example:

  1. Only short-form content performs well on Social Media
  2. Blogs must be 800 words or less
  3. Social Media is free marketing

Are they bonafide or BS? Well, you can go right ahead and dump all of those in the cow dung pile. Utter tosh. Not true. Yet, over the years we’ve all – myself included – fall into the trap of believing these statements. To show this isn’t just my opinion being shared, I’ve got some evidence to back up our claim that those statements aren’t true.

The demand for short-form content yields from the challenge we have in retaining people’s interest. We know people’s minds get bored quickly and move on to the next thing. Given the speed people ‘thumb’ through social media, it would be easy to assume boredom levels are lowest when scrolling. But that’s just not true. And we’ve proved it. We proved time and time again that long-form content thrives on social media. We regularly exceed 15-minute view times on content for Fujitsu and we’ve achieved that with audiences spanning the Americas, through Europe, across ASIA and the Pacific Rim. We’ve proven the length does not matter. What we’ve discerned is crap content doesn’t perform. Brilliant content, irrespective of length, will thrive. Fujitsu Forum TV was a two-and-a-half-day long broadcast by a tech company. Metrics showed we smashed it. The recent launch of Fujitsu’s Technology and Service Vision, promoted within a Facebook Instant Experience exclusively to global board rooms, helping them to understand the importance of a Vision and Purpose to truly impact business and society thrived. The results soared – average view times of over 12-minutes per user on the video.

And we’re not alone with the ‘crap content fails, brilliant content soars’ mantra. A few years back, when he was still the marketing lead at LinkedIn, and before his internal move to Microsoft, Jason Miller was presenting at a series of conferences. I got to see his presentation a few times and it just got better and better. Jason is a passionate rock and roll fan and music photographer in his spare time. He has a great eye for a picture and nose for a story. Jason wanted to merge his passions with his day job – marketing for LinkedIn. He wanted to show you can create great content around engaging themes that hook audiences in on their own personal passions and interests. He also wanted to prove BS on a few myths too. Enter the 800-word blog. As part of his test, Jason wrote a strong 800-word blog, a week 800-word blog. He did the same for 3000-word blogs – I can hear PRs jaws-dropping at the prospect of a 3000-word blog.

SHOCK HORROR. The weak content bombed and strong content thrived. 3000 words flew into the minds of social media users and with it the mantra of an 800-word blog was broken forever.

Social Media needs investment. It needs time and quality. It needs senior minds who can strategically dissect your proposition or service, rooting out the opportunities of resonance and compelling storytelling that follows. At IF we’re blessed with a number of elders – and yes, I’m a proud member of the old farts brigade. Our knowledge of marketing and how to unlock brand stories and connect their potent potential with audiences is the cornerstone of marketing. Creating the storytelling to evoke brand trust, purchase and loyalty is the fun part. Busting myths is just something we like doing on the side. The key point though, you must invest in the strategic minds and the content creation to unlock potential, and then invest in the Paid Media to make it soar. The results will outperform all other verticals, including TV! We’ve case studies to prove it!

So, to recap, that’s BS on ‘only short-form content performs well on Social Media’, BS on ‘blogs must be 800 words or less’ and utter BS on ‘Social Media is free marketing’. We’re off to a good start!

Lets rattle through some other myths:

  • My customers aren’t on Social Media – BS, they are!! We’ve proven this for military, farmers, specialist financiers and the quirkiest of tech companies. I recall a project years ago documenting a Crop Tour in Europe, analysing the quality of crop yield for farmers. See, what we realised is that the quality of crop impacts the value of the commodity, which in turn drives up the cost of living. A good crop yield, lower living cost. Poor yield, rising living costs. Even the most bizarre of stories can resonate if you find the newsworthiness. The brand marketer who parked this test project with us actually won an internal global award too – oh I should say he had tens of thousands of colleagues, so it was a heck of an achievement.
  • You should be on every social network. BS! And you definitely should not place the same content on each network too! There needs to be a clear channel and content strategy. There are nuances per channel and some content performs better on certain channels.
  • Social Media is fluffy and doesn’t have solid metrics. Utter buffalo excrement. Social Media is the most tangible of verticals. Give us a call and we can walk you through the content, brand and category metrics we can deploy and track for you. There is so much more you can measure beyond a content like, but they’re still important so you know the content is resonating. How you map brand-impact is a really important part and social is out on its own with what can be tangibly achieved. There is a video on data that Belle Lawrence and I did a year or so ago – everything said, still stacks up. Go and check it out, you’ll find it on Facebook.
  • Social Media is just a place to troll and bash your brand. WRONG! If people are doing that, then something is broken in your brand and needs fixing. If there is widespread hatred for your brand or proposition then you need to address that. Complaints will happen in any vertical, social is just more visible. Ethical and morally sound brands and brand with fit-for-purpose products and propositions don’t get bashed!
  • TokTok and Snapchat are for the kids not marketing. Bovine dung. Watch this space, we’ve got a smash-hit campaign coming that will be on TikTok. It will prove this false. Brands like Wendys in the US have standout results on Snapchat too, pre-COVID, and driving footfall to the restaurant. Snap can share the case study with you if you’re interested!
  • We don’t have enough content for Social Media. Possibly true, but you will have more content than you think. BUT it will need reengineering. You cannot put web-first or print-first marketing into Social Media. The tenets of message and story may be there, but you need social-first content to thrive on social, otherwise, you’re wasting money.

So, there you have it, a brief summary of what’s bonafide and requires your attention, and what’s folklore and trying to become a Hollywood story.

Do hit me up if you’ve any questions or want to soundboard a potential myth with us. There are tonnes more myths I could share and we’ll happily go into more detail on anything covered.

If you’re after more know-how to break the social boring, subscribe now and check out the show notes for links to our website and social profiles.

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