Why Social Media Creative Can Make or Break Your Social Content Strategy
As brands grapple with the complexity of designing the right experiences for consumers, while battling for loyalty in an increasingly Amazon-centric era, content and storytelling can offer brands a unique advantage. Unfortunately for marketers, the ability to connect through great creative content is no small feat. Today, we must achieve a balance of content that is true to the brand, authentic to a vast array of distinct audiences, native to the platform and user experience – and, when distributed through paid channels, created to perform well. With all of these elements in mind, developing the right creative to live in your customers’ social spheres is often what determines how well your overall strategy ultimately resonates. A challenge? Absolutely. But, also a critical opportunity in a world that involves so many choices – particularly when it often times comes down to convenience versus a true brand experience.
So, what makes for great creative on social, and in turn, a social content strategy that fuels engagement across the customer journey? We’ve shed light on some of the top considerations that influence your content’s ability to connect meaningfully:
Create Non-Disruptive Content Experiences
It’s important to remember that Facebook, and even Instagram feeds once revolved primarily around a person’s inner-most circles. Over time, brands and marketers have infiltrated the space, and have not always done so in a complementary way. But today, the expectation is that a brand provide intuitive, non-disruptive content to their audiences, which puts a new level of pressure on companies to elevate consumers’ experiences on social, and not serve as interruptions.
Designing creative across different social properties now requires a much more nuanced approach, rather than simply resizing or reformatting visual content depending on where it’s distributed. Creative should feel completely native to the social platform itself, meaning what works on Facebook may not work on Tumblr or Pinterest. As a marketer particularly in paid social, it’s essential to take into consideration the experiences that a platform is designed best for, and what consumers expect from that platform as an end user. If you look at how Facebook and Snapchat, for example, have intentionally developed different content offerings for brands, it all comes back to the environment natural to users – Facebook with its more traditional, but continually impactful news feed designed for connection, Snap’s more dynamic and interactive interface, and Instagram’s more relaxed, inspirational and discovery-driven environment – it all matters to consumers.
Creating content that’s non-disruptive also means offering something that’s truly valuable to your customers. Was the creative designed to provide a solution? Offer inspiration? Evoke a particular emotion? Creative should always be a value add to whatever journey consumers find themselves in, whether that be closer to a purchase funnel, or at the start of a relationship with a brand.
Think About the Language of Your Customers through a Visual Lens
Today, the language of our audiences is visual. Gone are the days of people parsing through lines of ad copy, or intently watching videos longer than 2 minutes – in fact, today it’s even common for people to watch videos without volume. Given the nature of content consumption on smartphones and in the respective social media feeds, brands must think differently about how to connect with a person in a meaningful way, thinking visual-first. Consider the emphasis Facebook has recently placed on the development of video ads at as little as 6 seconds, and similarly, how TV advertisers have begun to mirror 6 second YouTube-like content. Facebook claims that on average, there are a mere 1.7 seconds spent with any one piece of social content. Given the limited time we have with an audience, brands need to design creative for immediate impact. Different from traditional storytelling, visual creative needs to captivate through emotion, and needs to make the brand connection much clearer from the get-go. It’s a balance of quality storytelling, but through a purely visual narrative.
Deliver Innovative Content Experiences
From an organic perspective, we can expect video content to continue dominating the social feeds due to the ever-increasing usage of mobile. But as consumers seek deeper engagement opportunities with brands, it’s our job to continue exploring and fine tuning more innovative social experiences.
In its recent report, Shifts for 2020: Blurring Boundaries, Facebook explains,
“The possibilities for creating empathy, connection, and transportive experiences will only continue to grow. And even as the lines between augmented reality, augmented virtuality, mixed reality, and virtual reality blur, people’s enthusiasm and expectations for the future of reality seem increasingly clear.”
Because of these new consumer demands, it’s become increasingly important to optimize creative and content for efficiency based on the context of the experience – like, voice assistant devices in the car, or immersive VR experiences when in-store or at home. Consider planning creative around these different types of experiences, using “on the go” (short and snackable), “lean forward” (interactive) and “lean back” (immersive) depending upon the unique context and environment.