If blogging has democratized journalism, then social media has democratized brand engagement, making it easier than ever to connect with your target consumers. And there are a lot of consumers to connect with - 72% of Facebook’s 900+ million users say that they’ve liked a Facebook brand page, according to eMarketer.
So on the advice of your marketing team, you’ve built out your Facebook community, not to mention signed up eager hand-raisers on Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.
Congratulations, brands: You are now broadcasters, Rather than just passive receptacles of consumer appreciation, you are now obligated to produce and distribute content to audiences that "like" or "fan" you.
While the point is certainly not lost on brands these days, it comes with great significance, as your team is now responsible as a brand to program a slew of engaging content. Just ask that blinking cursor on your social media editorial calendar. And like any good broadcast network, you need to make sure that this slate is topnotch content that keeps your viewers engaged across numerous social media platforms.
Enter "branded entertainment." Marketers have worked on original video content for their brands for years. Some of it was compelling, some of it was utterly forgettable, but no matter the quality of content there has been one thing that rings true across the board: its development was often disconnected from the real-time editorial programming required in social. Rather, marketers would hub video programming on a portal and hope that the views rolled in – a tactic that worked with moderate, albeit uneven success. However, this strategy of keeping the peas and carrots separate cannot be viewed as an effective content strategy any longer.
Marketers must invest in social media campaigns that leverage video as a key aspect of their social strategy. Once they do, they’ll realize that video solves the social media content problem, and social solves the video distribution issue. Without social media, you have compelling content with a finite distribution channel. With a strong social media following and no content, you have fun memes, photos, and coupons – good tactics but a wasted opportunity to engage audiences with hyper-creative video content.
But, if you create a social strategy that focuses on content that people love and share, you’ll see the true power and ROI that social can deliver.
Digital advertising has trained marketers to believe that a consumer impression can be bought with a clever media plan. But in social media, those critical word-of-mouth impressions must be merited.
Social media has made that first impression more important than ever before. Brands now have a truly direct line to their consumers. It’s now up to them to create the experiences that keep them engaged and on the hook.