I’m often asked, “What’s the next big thing in social?” While no one can predict trends, I think that a strong strategist is able to detect patterns in consumer behavior early enough to adjust and capitalize on them. As such, I’ve worked to hone my “trend detection” skills. And right now, here’s what I think all social media managers should be aware of when it comes to their content strategies:
- MOBILE FIRST. We’ve all heard the latest statistics: 40% of online time is on a mobile device; 64% of Facebook’s monthly active users are mobile; etc. Armed with this type of information, social marketers need to be thinking about the mobile experience first. This includes considerations big & small – from what your content will look like in the News Feed, to de-emphasizing Facebook apps & tabs (not accessible via mobile) as part of your strategy; from a QR code that drives to a mobile-optimized site, to creating a destination experience using responsive design. Before you commit to a social strategy, you must address how consumers will interact with your brand or business in the mobile space.
- IMAGE REIGNS SUPREME. Businesses of all types and sizes have hopped on the social marketing bandwagon and are blasting out their “stories” and “messages” to an assumedly interested audience of “engaged” customers. There is an excess of content in the digital space. Consumers are becoming quite savvy at tuning out our marketing, just as they have for traditional media. Realistically, you have 1-2 seconds to capture someone’s interest, perhaps another 1 second to make them pause and, if your content is REALLY good, maybe another 2 seconds to elicit a quick Like, Favorite, RT or Repin before they move on (which underscores another point, that an engagement as we know it does not necessarily mean that someone is TRULY engaged, but that’s another post for another day). The most effective way to achieve this “engagement” is with a single, compelling image.
The most popular content type on Facebook is the single-image post. Image-centric networks like Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo and others are growing at impressive clips. Late last year, Twitter added Instagram-esque image filters in an attempt to remain relevant and competitive. Face it: in the digital world, a picture is worth a thousand “engagements” (ha, one can dream, right?).
- BITE-SIZED FITS ALL. So let’s recap for a hot second. Consumers are increasingly partaking in social media from a mobile device (MOBILE FIRST)… AND, images work because consumers are extremely pressed for time and attention (IMAGE REIGNS SUPREME)… so it stands to follow that: every piece of content you create should be bite sized. Why do you think Twitter is a successful channel? The 140-character format is genius. People want nuggets of strong content; not whole, butchered chickens of mediocre content.
Keep your blogs and other social copy short. Focus on images. And my goodness, design (not just optimize) for mobile!
What other patterns have you begun to detect for the next wave in social marketing?
-Written by Carolyn Kent