The sun has just peeked above the horizon beside my 8th-floor apartment. My trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood is waking up from its mid-week slumber. Right now, CNN is humming in the background as the familiar scent of fresh coffee dances around my living room. Meanwhile, I’m still in bed, flipping through my phone.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Yik Yak, LinkedIn, New York Times…. check. In the span of about 10 minutes, I’ve been exposed to everything in the world available to me that I missed during my seven-hour absence.
Sounds busy, doesn’t it?
In the 2.5 hours before I’ve even walked into work, I’ve already been exposed to more than 14 different media channels. Over the course of that time, I’m attentive to each channel for somewhere between two and three minutes. With hundreds of separate posts, that’s very little time to capture my attention.
Data even suggests that I’m not alone. An August 2014 study by Localytics suggests that across all adults, we spend an average of 5.3 minutes on each mobile application per session. That’s not very much time at all to grab someone. If you think about it, when you engage an individual in a digital universe, you’re not just competing with your direct competitors, you’re competing with our friends, family, and co-workers (to name a few). So how do you go about standing out? Here are 4 fundamental tips.
1. Find your audience
Before building an engagement plan, and even launching a new page for your brand, you have to determine which platform is more important for your intended audience. You should either be where your target is already active, or have a firm plan on how to drive them there. For example, if your target is a 50-year-old male, you probably shouldn’t consider Snapchat. He’s not there.
Launching a page on a platform where your target isn’t even active is sort of like expecting to climb a mountain in Kansas. It’s just not gonna happen.
2. Tell a story
So you’ve found your audience and chosen your platform, so now you’re ready to think about producing content, right? Not so fast.
It might sound obvious to say that broadcasting a consistent brand image is vital to attracting the right audience, however, you’d be surprised how overlooked this is. We get so caught up in the moment that we often forget about the bigger picture. If you don’t take away anything else from this article, at least take this:
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Whether or not I’m following your page, on most social channels there are still ways to reach me. Facebook provides a targeting option called a “dark post,” which allows you to target me based not only on my basic demographics, but also personality characteristics. However, your one piece of great content will go to waste if your page doesn’t represent the consistency I seek.
It’s far easier for me to hit ‘Unfollow’ than it is for me to actively engage with content. It’s not fair, but the reality is that I’m driven by stories, not products.
So tell me a really great story. I will listen.
3. Cater your content for the strengths of each platform
Each platform is unique, and the content that you create should be exclusive for that medium. Instagram is great for sharing artistic imagery, however, it’s not a great place to start a conversation.
More important, though, you should be choosing your platforms on the strengths of each, and tailoring your content accordingly. Just because you wouldn’t think of your brand on a particular medium doesn’t mean that it can’t survive in that space.
For example, I never expected a hardware retailer to succeed on an app like Vine, but by understanding the “isms” of the space, Lowe’s generated national attention for two years in a row with their short “#FixinSix” video spots.
What I love about this particular campaign is how seamlessly Lowe’s integrated their brand into a platform, injecting content that was both relevant to the brand and interesting to the viewer. By playing on the idea of “life-hacks,” and pushing short, six-second stop-motion videos on how to fix everyday problems with everyday products, Lowe’s perfectly matched their intended audience to their brand by effectively utilizing the Vine application.
If you’re only going to post something once a month, then get off that channel. Think of each individual social channel as a relationship. If you don’t text or call your boyfriend/girlfriend every once in a while, then you will lose the privilege to call them such. The same holds true in social media.
It’s better not to be on a channel than to post on it only once a month. A lot of digital marketers would probably want to choke me for saying such a thing, but think about it. The iOS App store adds approximately 20,000 new applications every month. You’re not going to be on every one of them. Spend time getting to know a fewer number of channels really well.
Be great at one channel, not bad at several.
Now, take that idea and throw it out. As important as it is to focus, it’s just as important to remain nimble in a fast-moving environment. You can be great at something one day only to have it disappear the next. My focus on developing my presence on Twitter, for example, is one of the reasons that I have a place at Trisect, a mid-sized advertising agency in Chicago. Data suggests, however, that Twitter’s popularity has dropped sharply from its “golden years” a few years ago. My success on Twitter may very well be obsolete tomorrow.
Popularity of Twitter Over Time
However, what I’ve learned and developed from Twitter I am better able to translate into other “Mediums” (haha, get it?). By taking the time to perfect my personal brand on Twitter, I was not only able to succeed within a defined space, but I also learned a little bit about my personal brand in the process.
Follow these tips and you are sure to be producing engaging content in no time. Take your brand seriously and promote it the way that it should be promoted.
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Trisect is an Independent advertising agency with over 140 people across our two offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Simply put, we are a change agency. As one of the country’s fastest growing independent shops, we help brands navigate a constantly changing marketplace, adapt and win. We listen harder. Collaborate better. And infuse business with exhilaration.