Social Media Trends for 2014 By James Whatley & Marshall Manson 1
TREND 1: DISPOSABLE CONTENT 2
THE CONTENT CHURN ‘Content marketing’ is the buzz term of 2013 and as a result, every brand (and their corresponding agencies) is on the hook to constantly create content. Continuously churning through idea after idea, meme after meme… The desire to continually satiate the online hunger for more, more, more means that the content created in turn becomes smaller, faster and, unsurprisingly, quicker to consume. Inevitably, this leads to mistakes.
Tweet & Delete With the inescapable errors that happen in 24hr content hubs, the chances of a piece of work slipping out the door a) without the correct sign off or b) errors, increase. However, unlike an offensive print ad, or a sexist TV commercial, social channels allow media owners to reach into the past and delete the offending content – as if it had never existed in the first place. This comes with as many risks as it does rewards. The latter in that it can be missed by many; and for the former: the rise of screen captured content having post-deletion infamy on the Buzzfeeds and Reddits of this world.
TEENAGE LEGACY REDUCTION With the advent and subsequent global penetration of social media, the professional adults of today are finding that the penchant for over-sharing that was so new and exciting back in the noughties is slowly coming back to haunt them. Well, we’ve got news for you on this: the kids are wise to it. The generation growing up RIGHT NOW is unlike no other before. This is the generation that has never known a world without the Internet. Can you even imagine that now?
TREND 1: DISPOSABLE CONTENT EXAMPLES 6
SNAPCHAT It’s an obvious choice but it simply cannot be ignored. Given the veracity at which teenagers have embraced the platform and its Mission Impossible-esque way of dealing with messaging, it’s no wonder brands are also getting in on the act.
EXAMPLE: 16 HANDLES New York based frozen yogurt chain, 16 Handles, was the first brand to do anything with the disappearing content platform. Customers (who were friends with the brand on the app) received a special coupon code for 16%, 50% or 100% off which they then have just 10 seconds to show the cashier. The clincher: customers had to commit to purchase before opening their snap.
EXAMPLE: TACO BELL Taco Bell announced the comeback of its ‘Beefy Crunch Burrito’ using the platform to share the news with its biggest fans. This was the first brand/Snapchat tie in with the social platform using a ‘mass sending’ functionality for the first time.
EXAMPLE: DORITOS UK To celebrate Halloween, Doritos UK used its in-house Mariachi Band (as featured in its TV campaign) to send personalized Halloween messages to its biggest fans. The campaign only ran for a day and it was supported with media in other social channels.
QUICK! DELETE! Creatives love to be provocative. Be it running work in far away places to get a cheeky award entry in, through to just wanting to get something in for a Chip Shop* (Google it). The Delete and Tweet category shows that its not just audiences who want their media to disappear, sometimes it’s brands too. *Chipshopawards.com
EXAMPLE: CHARMIN UK toilet roll brand, Charmin, tweeted (and deleted) this pun-tastic play on words to tie in with the launch of THOR: THE DARK WORLD. We’re guessing legal wasn’t happy? Buzzfeed loved it at least.
EXAMPLE: HOME DEPOT The Home Depot quickly deleted this ‘agency- created’ photo banter after several followers pointed out its racial connotations. Home Depot apologized, blamed their agency, and sacked the individual responsible. In that order. Ouch.
TREND 1: DISPOSABLE CONTENT IMPLICATIONS 14
PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION Chance favors the prepared mind. To get that viral smash, you need to have the approval processes sorted, the brand guidelines locked, and the right people in place to execute.
WANT AN ‘A’ GAME? RECRUIT THE ‘A’ TEAM Too many times we see headlines that blame young talent for a social media mistake. No, the mistake starts at the top. You need damn good talent to make great content that’s worth missing. When it comes to the ephemeral, it’s time to be incredible.
BE QUICK, BE NIMBLE, BE AGILE There’s no point in having the right processes and the right people if you simply don’t have the prowess to get it done promptly. Speed is of the essence
TREND 2: BRAND BANTER 18
BRANDS HAVE A VOICE TOO When social media arrived, industry commentators heralded a new era of 2- way conversation between brands and consumers. What they didn’t bank on was the same 2-way conversation being opened up between BRANDS. It will only GROW in 2014.
SOCIAL MEDIA MATURITY Social media is no longer a new thing. Marketers understand that while consumers expect brands to have a voice in social media, they can also get away with a lot more too. We’ve been talking about brands ‘Being Human’ in social for the best part of seven years, but finally some of them are getting the hint.
TREND 2: BRAND BANTER EXAMPLES 21
EXAMPLE: TESCO MOBILE, YORKSHIRE TEA, CADBURY AND MORE… What starts with a bit of chatter between Tesco and a customer soon descends into an all out FMCG love-in, including Jaffa Cakes, Yorkshire Tea, Phileas Fogg, and Cadbury. All with their own distinct tone of voice, all with their own bit of brand banter.
EXAMPLE: AT&T AND TMO When one customer wondered out loud (via Twitter) as to why he was still with AT&T, T-Mobile stepped in and beckoned him to join them. AT&T tried to fight back, but when TMO’s own CEO stepped into the fray, they had no chance.
TREND 2: BRAND BANTER IMPLICATIONS 24
CONTINUE TO BE HELPFUL Being a fun brand on Twitter will always endear you to your followers, just keep in mind that your customers will need you from time to time too. Being helpful and informative from time to time is equally as important, if not more so.
CHOOSE TWO Twitter UK have a simple image to help those ‘new kids on the block’ brands who have yet to find their tone of voice. “Helpful, funny, or informative: choose two” – Twitter UK
IS YOUR VOICE AUTHENTIC? Before you engage in brand banter, you need to ask yourself if your voice is authentic. We’ve already commented on the requirement for brands to show the more human side to them. This is not news. Keeping that side authentic and true is the tricky part. Do that, and banter will be yours.
ARE YOU WITHIN YOUR BRAND GUIDELINES? “Hey! Let’s be funny!” - doesn’t always work. Especially if your brand guidelines state otherwise. When finding your online tone of voice, using that dusty old brand book that’s currently propping up your monitor is not a bad place to start.
ARE YOU BEING STUPID? It’s so simple we can’t believe we’re typing it but IT’S TRUE: don’t tweet something that’s so stupid you wouldn’t tweet it from your own account. Seriously. Just don’t.
TREND 3: SUBDIVIDING SOCIAL COMMUNITIES 30
LARGE GLOBAL COMMUNITIES As global brands have pushed harder to engage with brand fans, communities have grown into the millions. But many are using this only as an opportunity to reach mass audiences with one-to-many messages. Connecting with smaller groups within communities for more substantive, relevant dialogue can be difficult and often inefficient.
MEMBERS JOIN FOR DIFFERENT REASONS Once new members connect with the brand’s community, they often don’t see the themes that attracted them reflected in the day to day content. This disconnect discourages engagement and undermines the value of the community.
NEW PLATFORM FUNCTIONALITY Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool provides improved targeting where paid content will appear in users’ newsfeeds. More data about community members is available from the API as well. The result is the improved ability to target relevant content more effectively at smaller community segments.
TREND 3: SUBDIVIDING SOCIAL COMMUNITIES IMPLICATIONS 34
FOUR PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESS Talking to smaller segments of your community will improve the content effectiveness and lead to higher engagement. The following four principles will drive success…
1. Target members with themed content consistent with the content that caused them to join or that they have engaged with recently.
2. Get a conversation going among a small group within the community around their focused interest.
3. Leaders in each interest area are potentially powerful advocates, both within and beyond the community.
4. Watch member interactions with other brand content to identify adjacent interests, then work to fuel their interest in those topics.