Social media in 2017 calls for a reality check, writes Desere Orrill, co-founder and Group
CMO of Ole!Media Group.
As digital audiences grow bored with impeccable photos of everyone having a perfect life, or seeing brands using social as an extension of their advertising and “perfect world view”, we see a greater desire for REALITY in social media.
While this may seem like a contradiction in terms – after all, everyone knows that we live the perfect life on Facebook – it is nevertheless a growing trend amongst digital content consumers that they wish to share REAL experiences. People are no longer shirking away from the less than ideal image, or writing the purely poetic posts. This desire for reality is reflected in the swing away from the heavily curated world of perfectionism that lives on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, and which means that content gains an almost permanent home in the social sphere because it is archived forever in these digital landscapes.
New social apps mean REAL, unfiltered experiences:
Welcome to the stage the “new” kids on the block: Snapchat, Periscope, Beme, Meerkat and others. Had these apps tried to launch a few years ago – while we were still desperately seeking perfection in our every image, move, and moment in the social sphere, they would not have made it out of the starting gates. But now, as we grow bored with the misrepresentation of ourselves to our peers and of brands to their consumers, we are starting to crave a more realistic view. By removing the self-awareness and self-consciousness from our social presences we are being that all elusive “authentic” self that we love to talk about – so now we finally act on our words when we make use of applications in a much more compelling way.
Keeping it real:
Many believe that Millennials are running away from the ‘traditional’ social channels because their parents and grandparents crashed the party. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. It is more like a desire for a different experience, rather than a running away from a specific audience. The WAY that the content is shared is different: traditionally the user has to stop what he is doing to create the social content, so this means he removes himself from the experience instead of remaining within the moment and sharing automatically. He then also concerns himself with putting on filters, scrutinising content, reviewing and posting perfection. Gone, gone, gone are those days. Now with the new wave of social media applications, the content is shared spontaneously, with simple hand gestures and quick and easy flow patterns. All false bravado and posturing is removed from your feed: you become WYSIWIG and it is GOOD! Your work and the moments you live are portrayed as they really are, as they happen. This is the true meaning of REAL time.
The social media newsfeed is changing shape and the infinite scroll is no longer the alpha and the omega of mobile reading patterns. With the new apps, the infinite scroll is changing to an interface where users choose what content they wish to consume, since content CANNOT be consumed in the feed any longer. They must exit the feed and focus on one thing without distraction or the need to keep scrolling ad infinitum.
Instant and immersive:
In Facebook this trend is reflected in the new 360 degree ads which take readers into an immersive in-ad experience, and not forgetting Instant Articles which bring content in-app for Facebook.
Showing it like it is:
Just as marketers and brands were getting the hang of things on social media, the rules have changed and our approach is now considered “traditional social marketing”. So quickly does the tide turn in the fickle sociosphere, my dears? We now have to deal with trends in the ‘emerging social media countries’, where there is a new sheriff in town, and his name is REALITY. And what better way to capture reality than through video where we have nuance, images, gesture, movement, sound all rolled into one.
Living in the moment:
In 2017, focus on creating ephemeral content that tells your brand story in a completely different way. The ephemeral content lives only for a very short time, is not archived in a content hub and in general simply feels more truthful. The impact is powerful in the moment – although it doesn’t live on in the digisphere, if the content is strong or real enough it will live on in the minds and memory or subconscious of the observer who experiences it. And if your content can do this then you have struck pay dirt.
FOMO (fear of missing out):
For brands wanting to create this kind of real content, cast aside your fancy cameras and expensive edit suites. A simple video camera or smartphone is all you need. The effort that goes into pre and post production should rather go in to recording (or creating) real life experiences – and many of them – which can be shared as momentary or ephemeral content experiences. And this is the right thing to do for the Millennial market (and its parents) because it demonstrates that your brand is a living, breathing thing: people will follow you on social media because they will be afraid to miss out on the moments that are not archived or recorded anywhere, the moments that you have to be present in to experience and enjoy.
Come and see them now, because they will never be seen again…
Desere founded Ole! Media Group with her partner Tim Legg in 2009. She boasts 20 years of international experience in through-the-line marketing. As well as Group CMO, Desere is currently also managing director of two of our group companies.