In a world of rapid changes, when the ways by which we share and communicate are continuously being reinvented, small businesses and big, international brands share a single, common challenge. Staying relevant.
In 2006, when Facebook opened to anyone, aged 13 or older, who had a valid e-mail address, Myspace was a leading social network with 100 million users. Just two years later, Facebook scored higher results on Alexa, having gained its first 100 million users; the rest is history.
In 2016, Myspace is (almost) no longer relevant in the social media arena.
In 2016, the four-year-old Snapchat overtook Twitter in terms of daily usage, with 150 million people allegedly using it on a daily basis.
In 2016, Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality game, had more than 500 million downloads, got an Apple Watch integration and prompted many creative campaigns from the various brands trying to get on the wave.
In 2016, AI, chatbots, voice recognition, AR, and VR are changing the ways by which we interact with and consume content.
In 2016, mobile searches resoundingly took over desktop searches on Google, finally making ‘mobile first’ not just a trend, but a must. Voice search is subtly changing SEO, which many industry leaders now insist on calling Search Experience Optimization, as the good old Search Engine Optimization itself has also evolved.
What will happen in 2017? I have no idea. But there is a way to stay relevant regardless. And it should be your content strategy for future social media.
Having a CLUE:
4 simple steps for good content
You should bear in mind four important rules, or four aspects of good content, if you prefer. Following these simple guidelines, you will not even need to guess what the next big thing will be to make good content and distribute it through the best channels.
I call these guidelines CLUE, which stands for Context, Language, User-centred and Engaging.
Context – Is your content relevant?
Context is the part that covers the story relating to your content, your content users and the times, places and ways they consume and interact with your content. Some of the most important questions to ask are:
- The time, or Is the timing right? DIY New Year decorations are a great topic for Pinterest users, but they sure are not relevant in July.
- The place. The cheapest flights to Tokyo? Sure, I would love to find some but, if I live in Europe, and you only list cities in US, your content is not relevant to me.
- The user, or what content your users care about and how they consume it. A longer guide on a relevant topic is a great thing, but your readers probably would not consume it on their smartphones while waiting for the train, and definitely not on their smart watches.
- The purpose, or Do you know what you are doing and why?
Never forget the context. It is the first and, in a way, the most important thing on the list. It has to do with the time and the place best suited to create and use the content, as well as its subject and purpose.
In the social media arena, you can guess that Pinterest users are not interested in the same content as Snapchat or LinkedIn users. Regardless of whether we are talking about future or existing social media, don’t forget the context.
Language – How do you communicate and distribute your content?
When I speak about the language, I am not referring to English, Italian, or Norwegian, for example. Or at least not just about these kinds of languages. In a way, your language can also be a medium. Do you communicate through different pictures, videos, 3D technology, sound, written text, etc.?
The overall style of your content is also relevant. A piece of content has to be adjusted to its user, whether we talk about written text, video or even VR.
Funny lenses, exploding cats or silly puns can work pretty well on Snapchat. I hope I don’t need to mention that they won’t on LinkedIn. When it comes to Future Social Media, we’ll see.
User-centred – It’s all about the content users
The user-centred aspect of your content could also go under Context, but it is a really important aspect nevertheless. It is all about the users, whether you wish to inform them, inspire them, convert them… So, you need to provide user-centred, relevant content; otherwise, they simply won’t care. And they shouldn’t. Consider why your content is important for its users or the target audience, and how you can adjust it.
Engaging – The X factor of content marketing
You should try to create content that occupies, attracts, excites and establishes a meaningful connection with its users. The way you should do this is largely defined by the first three aspects we discussed, but it is important to do it. It is not an easy task but, on the other hand, relevant and engaging content is rewarding on many levels; so it is important that you try, and great if you succeed.
Everything changes, but some things stay the same…
The ways we communicate and the technologies that enable us to do so change all the time – whether it’s social media, VR, AI, or some other future trends of which we are not yet aware. Social media rise and fall, what is the thing today may become completely obsolete tomorrow.
However, some things do stay the same, and that is why it is important to think beyond the tools you use, and more about the important principles of good communication and relevant content.
In other words, don’t forget the importance of having a clue.
Master in Marketing and Communication