Have you ever feel social media users' seem to behave like zombies? I have. When you dedicate a bulky part of your day to analyze Social Media Users' behavior, sometimes, inevitably, you get the feeling they seem to act like a bunch of zombies. Many seem to move incoherently from one content to another following the next viral thing that pops up. HORDES OF LIMPING WALKING DEAD CREATURES LURCHING TOWARDS THE NEAREST FRESH BRAIN TO FEED FROM.
We live in a constant battle for attention, and there is little doubt, ATTENTION SEEMS TO FOLLOW GREGARIOUS ACTIVITIES. It's in our curious nature. If you drive by a place where you see a pack gathering, your attention will focus on the group, wondering what's catching so many people's eyes. It's no different in Social Media.But, like it happens in the phisical world, once you take a peek on what's attracting so many, it takes the blink of an eye to make you decide whether is worth your time or not. For that very reason, brands should seriously evaluate if that is the type of erratic attention they ougth to be seeking for.
Nowadays, brands seem to be zombies too. They see the group of undeads running towards something and follow the crowd, just like another confused flesh eating monster.They throw content erratically trying to fish some attention in the turbulent waters of zombieland. Or even worse, they place content like fishermen hook bait, trying to deceive fish with fake flies. That is wrong in so many ways, it scares me.
SOME BRANDS STILL DON'T GET IT: SOCIAL MEDIA HAS NOT CHANGED THE FIELD, IT HAS CHANGED THE GAME, AND THIS NEW GAME HAS NEW RULES AND NEW RESPONSIBILITIES. Let me point out 3 basic ones.
1. DON'T FEED THE ZOMBIE
It may be controversial, but my advise to brands is to stop feeding meaningless content to the "zombie" crowd, regardless how much attention that content seems to be generating. SOCIAL MEDIA USERS MAY, SOMETIMES, ACT AND LOOK LIKE ZOMBIES, BUT THEY'RE NOT.
You don't want to be the smoking wrecked car of an accident. Although it certainly catches attention, it's not the one you want. You have to be the event people want to voluntarily attend.
In Social Media, you have to PROVIDE CONTENT PEOPLE TAKE CONCIOUS ACTION TO CONSUME. The one they look forward and seek for.
Yes, funny cat videos get lots of viewers, but nobody wakes up eager to find the new funny cat video online. Plenty, however, look forward to watch a new chapter of their favorite TV Series or a game of their favorite team. Stop trying to earn erratic attention. Make your content worth the user's attention. Make each piece of content count.
2. YES, SIZE MATTERS...BUT...
I know: when talking about audiences, size matters. But you know what? Value matters more. Viral non specific content, like a light bulb to flies, is a magnet to zombies, I admit it. And zombie crowds are eye candy to marketers and brands...but there is little value in such audience.
DON'T WASTE YOUR EFFORTS REACHING OUT TO THE MANY, NARROW DOWN YOUR CONTENT, AND REACH OUT FOR THE VALUED FEW.
Remember: people may accidentally bump into broad content that catches their eye briefly, but they voluntarily seek and pay attention to content specific for themselves.It makes them feel special. And that, my friends, is the kind of attention you should be searching for.
IF YOU SELL OUTDOOR TREKKING APPAREL ONLINE, YOU MAY CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGIES: YOU CAN TAKE THE PATH OF THE FUNNY CAT VIDEO CONTENT HOPING TO BECOME VIRAL AND SEE IF YOU CATCH THE EYE OF THE OUTDOORSY PERSON BY CHANCE; ...OR YOU CAN MAKE A VIDEO LISTING THE 5 BEST TREKKING ROUTES OF YOSEMITE'S PARK. THAT VIDEO MAY NOT REACH AN AUDIENCE AS LARGE AS THE CAT'S, BUT IT WILL DEFINITIVELY GET TO ONE MORE VALUABLE TO YOUR INTERESTS. IF YOU GIVE VALUE TO SOCIAL MEDIA USERS, YOU SHOW RESPECT FOR THEM. THAT RESPECT WILL WIN YOU THEIR APPRECIATION.
DON'T STOP THERE: TAKE A STEP FURTHER AND NARROW IT DOWN EVEN MORE: THE BEST 5 YOSEMITE'S TREKKING ROUTES FOR FAMILIES. YOU MAY FEEL LIKE YOU WOULD BE LOSING PART OF THE AUDIENCE BUT, IN REALITY, YOU WILL BE GAINING MORE VALUABLE ATTENTION. The trip planning parents with kids will defenitely pay closer attention to that content: it will be percieved as done just for them! Of course, within that video, be sure you subtlely point out the special cooler cantine, the reinforced socks, the portable med kit, the boots, the hat, the new waterproof cammera, and the pocketted vest your online store carries and recommend.But careful! Don't make it too obvious! That would be creepy, zombielike.
3. IF YOUR BRAND IS NOT SOCIAL, IT IS A ZOMBIE BRAND
Zombies are not social creatures. They are individuals that do not interact with each other.They gather around prey, yes, but they're not organized nor collaborative.
IF YOU PUBLISH CONTENT APPEALING FOR ZOMBIES, CHACES ARE YOU'LL RECEIVE ZOMBIE BEHAVIOR IN RETURN. And, what's worse, you'll be collaborating with the zombification of society. You may think your content has value because it catches the attention of many, but the truth is you'll be adding noise to a noisy environment. YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGIES SHOULD ENCOURAGE RELATIONSHIPS, INTERACTION, SOCIAL BEHAVIOR... And I don't mean just within users, I mean with you, as a brand, taking an active role in the conversation.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MISTAKES I SEE OVER AND OVER AGAIN: BRANDS CREATING GREAT CONTENT THAT PEOPLE ENJOY AND SHARE, WASTING THAT VALUABLE EFFORT PUTTING THEMSELVES OUTSIDE THE CONVERSATION. IT MAY'VE WORKED IN THE RECENT, YET ARCHAIC, TRADITIONAL MEDIA WORLD OF THE PAST, AFTER ALL, WE DID NOT HAVE THE TOOLS TO EASE UP ANYTHING OTHER THAN WITNESS WHAT USERS DID WITH OUR CONTENT. THAT IS NOT THE GAME ANYMORE. IF YOU ARE NOT ACTIVE IN CONVERSATIONS, YOUR BRAND IS A ZOMBIE BRAND, REGARDLESS OF HOW GOOD YOUR CONTENT IS. Make it social.