Social Engagement Is More Important Than Ever

blog 3The average human attention span has been decreasing extraordinarily in recent years. In fact, thanks to smartphones (and undoubtedly social media too), our average attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. Over 200 million pieces of online content is being produced every minute, and consumers are drowning in it. This leaves brands with one of the biggest challenges of all – making the audience care about you and your content.

 

Be Human

The truth is, good content needs to connect with users on an emotional level. If a piece of content resonates with a user, they’re more likely to engage with it. We’re human – that’s how we operate. If you create content that is relevant for your brand, resonates with your target audience and is put in the right context, you are more likely to come out on top.

Engagement is the greatest form of social attention. More than reading, watching or listening – this means interacting with content. And people don’t want to spend time engaging with a piece of content unless they capture both quality and context. They won’t “like” it unless it captures their attention. Now, some would say that “likes” are decreasing in value, and while this may be true, it does not mean they’re worth nothing – far from it. It’s still engagement.

 

Change Is the Only Constant

In three years time, 80% of the internet will be video, which will absolutely affect the way we engage. Just look at Facebook Live, which is changing real-time interaction behaviours as we write.

Different social media platforms allow, and indirectly invite users to have different types of engagements and reactions to content. Facebook links to your individual personal profile which deters commenters from vile, unwanted opinions – something YouTube’s anonymity has had trouble with for years. Platform features affect the way users engage. And brands need to adapt to that.

Marketers should strive for content engagement, yet constantly question the quality of it and consider how it can be improved.  Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before producing and publishing each piece of content:

Is this content relevant to the brand?

  • How will it resonate with the target audience?
  • What reaction should this piece of content generate?
  • What incentive do you give the audience for that reaction?
  • Is the CTA aligned with your main objective?
  • What are your expectations to the performance of this piece of content?

 

 

Live Streaming and the Demand for Now

blogLive video has been something reserved only for significant occasions in the past, whether it be a big TV event or an important news story. This is all changing now as social media gives the power to the people and makes it easier than ever to broadcast without a TV deal.

So where are we currently? It seems all the giants have joined the party now – YouTube is the latest to jump on board by adding the ability to live stream directly from your phone. It’s important to note here how different YouTube’s audience is to Facebook and Twitter’s – subscribers on YouTube are there predominantly to watch videos, and considering YouTube’s experience within video in general, it will be interesting to see how these two compete most of all.

Tumblr on the other hand seems to have taken a slightly different route by allowing third-party apps to stream live video straight to its service. A very open-minded approach that bears witness to the fact that social is embracing the live streaming movement.

 

Real-Time Marketing

So what does this movement mean for brands? In an age where we have access to an overloading amount of content, content marketing is taking a new form – “real-time marketing” will now gain a larger footprint than ever before and the fundamental difference is the urgency it demands from viewers. This in itself is extremely valuable, considering the sheer amount of content we’re already drowning in. Viewers are also less critical and less demanding when it comes to live video. The fact that it’s live is the biggest factor and it doesn’t play out the same way when you re-watch a video that was originally live. Therefore, viewers end up chasing the video as soon as they’re notified of the stream, instead of “saving it for later”, which in turn also eliminates the potential for it to be lost in the billions of hours of content it’s directly competing with.

 

Quality Control

I’d also say the whole removal of picture-perfect images that Snapchat brought to the table has eased us into live streaming our own content – it may not be perfect, but who cares? You can now also broadcast live to Facebook from MSQRD, which is extremely Snapchat-like. So will the fact that absolutely anyone is now able to stream their lives have an effect on the overall quality of this type of content? Compared to the quality control TV has had over the years, it’s almost non-existent on social media. Time will tell if we want to see our friends live stream themselves doing nothing or whether a stream needs more of a purpose.

All things considered, live streaming will soon be a standard form of expression via social, much like it’s become a standard form of communication over the years with Skype and FaceTime. It’s time for brands to take a good look at their strategy and embrace the live streaming age that’s only going to grow from here.