For me, I got 3 things out of this book:
- I got a simple introduction into the major social media platforms all in one place
- I got a simple explanation of how they all work and, more importantly, how they are different from each other
- I got dozens of examples of best practice and many examples of poor usage
- To be honest, I found this part a bit confusing at times – it was hard to tell the difference between examples Gary liked and those he didn’t!
Round 1: The Setup
- It took thirty-eight years before 50 million people gained access to radios.
- It took television thirteen years to earn an audience that size.
- It took Instagram a year and a half.
- You can’t just repurpose old material created for one platform, throw it up on another one, and then be surprised when everyone yawns in your face.
- No one would ever think it was a good idea to use a print ad for a television commercial, or confuse a banner ad for a radio spot.
- Like their traditional media platform cousins, every social media platform has its own language.
- Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling. That’s a constant.
- What’s always in flux, especially in this noisy, mobile world, is how, when, and where the story gets told, and even who gets to tell all of it.
- Jabs are the lightweight pieces of content that benefit your customers by making them laugh, snicker, ponder, play a game, feel appreciated, or escape; right hooks are calls to action that benefit your businesses.
What Makes A Great Story?
- Your story isn’t powerful enough if all it does is lead the horse to water; it has to inspire the horse to drink, too.
- On social media, the only story that can achieve that goal is one told with native content.
Round 2: The Characteristics Of Great Content And Compelling Stories
Outstanding content can generally be identified because it adheres to the following six rules:
1. It’s Native
- Content is king, but context is God.
- You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat.
2. It Doesn’t Interrupt
- Today marketers don’t have to intrude on the consumer’s entertainment. In fact, it’s imperative that we don’t.
- People have no patience for it anymore, as evidenced by the speed with which they jumped on the chance to bypass advertising altogether with the advent of DVRs in the late 1990s, and other commercial-skipping devices.
- If we want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, we have to actually be their entertainment, melding seamlessly into the entertainment experience. Or the news experience. Or the friends-and-family experience. Or the design experience. Or the networking experience.
3. It Doesn’t Make Demands – Often
- Leo Burnett offered the following advice for making great content: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
- I’m going to add one more directive: Make it for your customer or your audience, not for yourself.
- How do you know what content people find valuable? Look on their phones.
- Phone home screens show you everything you need to know about what kind of content people value.
- In general, the three most popular app categories are:
- a. Social networks, which tells you that people are interested in other people.
- b. Entertainment, including games and music apps, which tells you that people want to escape.
- c. Utility, including maps, notepads, organizers, and weight loss management systems, which tells you that people value service.
- When you deliver a precise jab with native content, it might take your consumer a split second before he realizes that the story he’s paying attention to is being told by a brand, not an individual.
- Yet if your content is great, the realization won’t piss him off. Instead, he’ll appreciate what you’re offering.
- Because when you jab, you’re not selling anything. You’re not asking your consumer for a commitment. You’re just sharing a moment together.
4. It Leverages Pop Culture
- Integrate your content into the stream, where people can consume it along with all their other pop culture candy.
5. It’s Micro
- Jab at people, all the time, every day.
- Talk about what they’re talking about.
- When they start talking about something different, talk about that instead.
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
6. It’s Consistent And Self-Aware
- Consider how each and every post, tweet, comment, like, or share will confirm your business’s identity.
- Though your business’s micro-content will vary wildly every day, it must consistently answer the question “Who are we?”
- You can and should learn to speak as many languages as possible, but no matter which language you’re using, your core story must remain constant.
- And no matter how you tell your story, your personality and brand identity must remain constant, too.
Round 3: Storytell On Facebook
Great Bang For Your Buck
- The sponsored story is one of the great ad opportunities of all time because it won’t let you spend more than your content is worth.
Questions to Ask When Creating Facebook Micro-Content
- Is the text too long? Is it provocative, entertaining, or surprising?
- Is the photo striking and high-quality?
- Is the logo visible?
- Have we chosen the right format for the post?
- Is the call to action in the right place?
- Is this interesting in any way, to anyone? For real?
- Are we asking too much of the person consuming the content?
Round 4: Listen Well On Twitter
- Today, entertainment and escapism are prized above almost anything else.
- Consumers want infotainment, not information.
- Information is cheap and plentiful; information wrapped in a story, however, is special.
Questions to Ask About Your Twitter Content
- Is it to the point?
- Is the hashtag unique and memorable?
- Is the image attached high quality?
- Does the voice sound authentic?
- Will it resonate with the Twitter audience?
Round 5: Glam It Up On Pinterest
- Unless you sell a product that no woman in a million years would want for herself or any person in her life—and that’s a pretty limited list of products—or your legal department is dragging its feet, you’re a dope if your brand is not on Pinterest.
- And even if you firmly believe that you can’t sell to the female demographic that outnumbers male Pinterest users by about five to one, you’d be wise to continue reading this chapter.
- Though the specifics of how jabs and right hooks work on Pinterest is unique to the platform, learning more about how companies successfully capitalize on the forces behind Pinterest’s meteoric popularity should help fuel your creativity in devising new strategies for reaching consumers on other platforms.
Questions to Ask About Your Pinterest Content
- Does my picture feed the consumer dream?
- Did I give my boards clever, creative titles?
- Have I included a price when appropriate?
- Does every photo include a hyperlink?
- Could this pin double as an ad or act as an accompanying photo to an article featured in a top-flight magazine?
- Is this image easily categorized so people don’t have to think too hard about where to repin it on their boards?
Round 6: Create Art On Instagram
- Instagram is another visual-centric social network.
- Like Pinterest, it has what I like to call “baked-in utility,” meaning that it’s really good at what it’s supposed to do, which is help you take better mobile photographs. Yet it is a vastly more challenging platform for marketers.
- Unlike Pinterest, where repinning is encouraged, users can only share their own Instagram photos.
- And whereas on Pinterest you can embed a hyperlink into your photo that with one click will direct users to your product or service page, Instagram is a closed loop.
- Anyone who clicks on your Instagram photo gets brought back to Instagram. Smart move for Instagram, not so good for marketers interested in sending traffic to a specific online location.
Questions to Ask About Your Instagram Content
- Is my image artsy and indie enough for the Instagram crowd?
- Have I included enough descriptive hashtags?
- Are my stories appealing to the young generation?
Round 7: Get Animated On Tumblr
- Tumblr isn’t for everyone. It skews young, appealing largely to eighteen- to thirty-four-year-olds with a slight tilt toward women.
- In addition, it skews extremely artsy, providing an exhibition space for photographers, musicians, and graphic designers.
- If Twitter is hip-hop, Tumblr is indie rock.
- And yet, though Tumblr doesn’t have the scale of Pinterest or Instagram, you should be there.
Questions to Ask About Your Tumblr Content
- Did I customize my theme in a way that properly reflects my brand?
- Did I make a cool animated GIF?
Round 8: Opportunities In Emerging Networks
- 200 million members
- Every second, 2 new members join
- Where we get deals done
- The future of Google+ as a viable marketing platform is one big question mark.
- It has a big selling point: its implications for a Web property’s SEO. Google gives preference to its own products, so having a Google+ account influences your search rankings.
- The numbers say differently. Google+ points to its 500 million users as proof that it is steadily gaining a fan base. But the numbers are as overinflated as the lips of a Beverly Hills housewife, because Google requires consumers to sign up for a Google+ account if they want to register for any other of their product accounts, like YouTube.
- 40 million users
- Six second looping videos
- Allows users to send photos and videos that self-destruct in a matter of seconds
- Snapchat was made for a world that can’t stand one minute of boredom
Round 9: Effort
- Content is king, context is God, and then there’s effort.
- Together, they are the holy trinity for winning on Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform, and even for winning in any business.
Round 10: All Companies Are Media Companies
- Could Nike one day have it’s own sports programming and compete successfully against ESPN?
- Could Amtrak launch a publication that could stand up to Travel + Leisure?
- The start-up costs would be extremely low for a luxury brand like Burberry to publish an alternative to the Robb Report
- A hundred years ago Michelin tires started reviewing rural restaurants to encourage people living in the cities to drive farther and wear their tires out more quickly
- Guinness created the Guinness Book of World Records to reinforce its brand and give people something to talk about in the pubs
Round 11: Conclusion
- The investment you make in familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of these platforms will pay off, now and in the future
- Yes, it will be frustrating when Facebook once again makes changes to its algorithm and newsfeeds, and Twitter and Pinterest will probably make tweaks and redesign.
- But if you don’t give in to the frustration and use these changes to your advantage, you’ll instantly be leagues ahead of most of the marketing pack
Have your say in the comments below.