Social media has evolved. Consumers wield all the power.
Nearly half of Gen Z is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google, according to Google’s own data. Competition for consumer attention is fierce and the market is fragmented. Consumers have the ultimate choice and their influence is increasing. Never underestimate the power of the thumb when it comes to deciding whether to engage or swipe. The ease and speed at which content can be dismissed is too easy, making it challenging for brands to achieve cut through, but it’s not impossible.
A simple framework can be followed but firstly brands must know the audience they are trying to engage with. This fundamental principle is at the core of deciding what content to create, on which platforms and in which format. Brands also need to be open to earned media to supplement paid media. Earned media can be used to help growth organically if carried out correctly.
Brands need to super-service audiences and build a community. There needs to be a value exchange between the brand and consumer to ensure the swipe doesn’t occur. Nike does this perfectly. It’s created multiple communities through its social channels whether it’s for women’s running, open water swimming or tennis enthusiasts where they can share specific content with an engaged audience (above.)
Only be on TikTok if you have the right content, audience and strategy for the platform. Don’t forget there are other platforms that exist where ROI can be achieved too, I promise! Take YouTube, it’s a platform where consumers choose what content they engage with rather than it just being served up to them as an option, so your audience is captive already. A recent Ofcom report states 16–34-year-olds were spending an average of 70 minutes a day on YouTube. Ask yourself why do you want to be on this platform and is it right for the audience you are trying to reach?
Being authentic is key when it comes to content. Knowing what to create and who to create for is the holy grail of the framework. There is no excuse or reason for dry, disconnected content. Too many brands use above the line content and roll it down into its social content – consumers see through this.
This is always forgotten but it’s important to think about where people are on their journey. Do they want to be educated, inspired or entertained? Take the time to understand what the reason for the campaign is and you will be rewarded. It will also help inform you about which platform to use as each platform has its different uses.
Earned media is a powerful tool for brands to unlock and leverage. Definitely don’t rule out paid media but used together with the application of the framework, you will be onto a winner.
Jade Raad is director of brand strategy at digital content agency and media network Little Dot Studios.