I’ve been telling creators and businesses to build an exit plan before it’s too late. The way social media algorithms are evolving. There will be only a content engine.
No Influencer, No Creator, No Social Media business. What we would have left is an AI-controlled content engine.
That engine never gives a creator or business enough time to build that connection. Or brand messaging. We all are going to be affected by this. Me too.
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August 21, 2023 - 11 min read
Almost every social media marketing discussion starts without a social media expert in the room. The executives think of social media as direct channel marketing. Assuming their presence is charming enough to attract their existing buyers & new ones. My dreams at the age of 5 were more realistic than their ideas of how social media marketing works.
But why? What’s the issue? One of the biggest reason most marketers & brands suck at social media is because it isn’t real life. We understand Cinema marketing better because of the experience about why & how people enjoy the movies.
You can experience & learn it by just being in the room full of people. We understand TV Marketing better because the Ads connect with us if the context is relevant to the initial show we were watching & we hate it if the Ad disrupts the feeling of the movie or show you were watching on the TV.
In Real-life or 1:1 marketing, you can locate where the consumer exists & how you can resonsate with them. Social Media is a different world, where the consumer lives might change every single time. The same real-life person that might buy your product through a single-TV Ad might never resonate with you because you are reaching them during a different social media time. Plus, approached them through a different format.
That’s the issue. The continuity of a social media user & their fast consumption makes the brand think if we create enough awareness & force our Ads. We might get our next buyer. I’m like no, that’s dumb.
That same social media user watches a single video about Oppenheimer & goes to watch the movie in IMAX paying more than normal price. That same person watches the show “succession” comes back to TikTok & buys the outfit worn by Kendall because someone matched the clothing with a message from the show.
What’s the solution? How to fix this brand awareness-only problem?
Most Brands think that they need to do what they did with other marketing channel. Representing complex & Dreamy Ideas on TV & OOH Ads because brand was targeting locally that complexity works. That Complex Idea worked because your whole real-time store experience was enough to simplfy the message.
The Experience and message are married. On Social Media they aren’t married, may be AI & AR will help both of them with idea of getting married. Considering those days are far away. You need to simplify what you tell. Assuming you are a small business or startup not even a brand. Maybe you are a marketer at a brand with a very diminishing presence.
The reason you need to divorce complexity is “consideration”. On Social Media, People don’t come to watch what they want or what they need. They are there to seek and fill the emptiness. That’s Sad but true.
On social media today, most people are seeking a meaning & finding what fulfills them. And no one connects with what isn’t clear. Before naming brands that suck at social media, I am not suggesting their social media manager or agency is responsible. It could be a hundred different reasons for why they are bad at it. One of my favourite example is GAP Brands, they have a message of bridging the gap between consumers, product and creative. I simplfied their message for you, the text they provided on their website is more complex.
Can you sell your clothing with this message on Tiktok, Instagram or Snapchat? And Is telling the audience about your message one time enough? One time isn’t enough & the audience will not connect.
What audience seeks today from them is “gap”. Bridging the gap? There exists 100s of gap in society & fashion culture. Your social needs to show the gap because showing is different. The algorithm can suggest another brand saying we are bridging the gap between HipHop & Street fashion to share with you: The Backzip hoodie.
You think of complexity as unqiue & creative. Simple is what everyone else is doing. I am against both, no one I am telling you to dumb down your brand message to be like everyone else.
The practicality of divorcing complexity to build brand consideration is called “Remixing”. Every single social media app is a universe and Facebook universe people hate the other universes, and so on. Learning why people use a single app va other is the first part of your remixing.
Because that is you understanding the neighborhood. Then, you understand the consideration culture, you do it by why people follow each other. Many platforms have a culture of not following many people. Like Reddit, Youtube & Pinterest.
You remix why the exist & what they do with your product. And position product content around it. If I was part of GAP marketing team, I would do remixing like this:
My universe people are on reddit. And they discuss jeans, they like watching jeans content & discussions about jeans. What makes them follow is deal offers & clothing pairing Images. I am GAP, I would turn on social listening for reddit, have alerts for jeans & money saving related options. Someone discusses a need for outfit under $100, user replies with another brand. I will upsell a GAP sales offer at that time period. And I would make my identity clear that: I am from GAP, I like to usually help others with clothing deals & tips.
My Intro & showing up every single time in a reddit community will build brand consideration. Because that is me bridging the gap between the consumer & need.
The second Act of remixing would be, Getting an Influencer or Famous person to do a “account takeover” post on the Reddit Jeans Influencer account. Making it seem naturally organic.
In both style of remixes, The idea is simply that first level brand consideration is built by serving the culture & audience around you. A universe is a community, that serves each other. You need to serve first, if you don’t believe me. Think again? Why politicians exist? Study there origin to prove me wrong.
The serving person can’t make it complex because you haven’t contributed enough.
Wrong Question, I should ask. When do servers acheive the leader level? If you are lucky like an Indie move hero getting his talent discovered by the man on street. You might automatically have people buying from your business. And that is the strategy of many businesses on TikTok. Or should I call it dream of many businesses. Truth Bomb: I had the same strategy.
Just if I provide enough value, people might discover I sell consulting calls. That never happens in most cases. People on social media are filled with 100s of different options. The way this marketing space works is like a christopher nolan movie. People remember the feeling & sense of trust.
They are very unlikely to remember why you exist. Don’t serve so much or so long that they forget why you exist. Value conversation in business on social media converts to a business providing either relatable or valuable content.
A great example would be Buzzfeed, not the perfect business for you to take as an example. But Buzzfeed was a business that kind of failed to make their buyers understand their existence. Not every piece of content was valuable but still they had 1000s of valuable articles. Mostly they were different, comparing it to my favourite Indian Show “Tarak mehta ka ulta chasma”. Buzzfeed provided more value than the show to my life still I never considered reading it regular or buying a subscription. Why?
Because value doesn’t mean connection. This statement is becoming more truthful as we approach a world full of AI models creating value. How value is seen builds the connection.
If I am your longtime friend who went through shitty days and losses. My words about success will mean less to you. The same other friend can tell the same thing to impress you and it will work. We see value in each other differently.
Buzzfeed failed because the audience never saw their value in the way buzz expected. Because they had no control. Value needs control, you need to silence and speak when needed.
Think of why we value diamonds. Why you listen the least to the friend who never stops talking? Why we buy a movie ticket in a blick but scroll through 1000s of movies on netflix?
What’s the reason you like your cousin in another city but hate spending time with your brother? The simple answer is value control.
Behavioural science shows that we want more of what we have less. But most of the times companies think lets provide more even though they are already giving a lot.
And that’s what buzzfeed did wrong. Oh they like it, let’s have some more content about that topic. And then people hated it. We all remember Seinfeld, Jerry was very familiar with this behavioural mindset, that’s why he ended the show. Now the show is known to be the best sitcom ever made.
You have created emough value, now you control it. Where’s the practicality of executing this?
Before beginning, I would like to address a major saying in advertising which is run an Ad until it stops working. Value control is built like that but it is hard to define when to stop without doing the work of being aware.
The value control is you changing the framing what you do & why you do it. You were providing value to your audience & now you need them to see you as leader who influences them.
One of the examples I have is wikipedia, when they started asking for donations. One of the biggest strategic thing leaders do is making the ask meaningful and showing their point. Wikipedia is the home of value, and the donation pop-up is shown while user is getting the value. That’s the first method to integrate your ask and be meaningful.
The value control here is donation in exchange of value. The fear.
Another example would be Apple’s weekly show rollout versus Netflix’s one time release. Or any paid community that holds weekly calls. That time frame is the value control, you generate control through no-spoiler conversations, video leaks & much more.
Even when you were a server, you might have become a leader in front of few. They became your early followers. And in scenarios like above,
those early ones help you with value control, they might become your referrers, conversation starters within the space. You have controled the value in a product/ paid service, those adopters are now bringing new people because they are still servers connecting with servers bringing others to awareness about your leadership & controlled product.
At last, If I am selling a candle kit. And I have educated my audience about candles k & provided value over time. What value control would look like to make them my buyer is by increasing my role.
I have done regular value, now it is all about me. Starting an interactive candle buying series on how to find a perfect candle, how the touch of your hand helps to define a good versus bad candle.
I am becoming the center of everything & the candles I sell will be the examples in those content series. Now, the controlling poing would be the action-taking from the buyer side.
Are my candles available at Target? I would do a video at Target; the value perceived will change with this.
In a TikTok livestream, I could do “how long my candles last?” Content. Connecting the value with time & use case.
In my 50% videos, I would stop generalizing. Moving from you need this candle to someone specific & niched being talked about.
The value control doesn’t mean stop giving the value. It is about who you hand the value. Think of why most celebrities are given exclusive clothing before store launches.
This act of me controlling the value and giving it to only people who want to see interactivity, availability & durance of my candles. Build my community & early adopters.
Then, that brand consideration moving forward is always built strategically and in boxes. One box of audience interactivity of candles focused connects with another squared box. The rectangle box of audience focused on durance connects with other similar box.
A relevant brand consideration is built through value control existing in your content & social media strategy.
One of the biggest reason I wanted to talk about this issue within social media marketing was My own struggles. I am very much aware about everything in marketing because that’s my job. Running a newsletter about change in marketing. It includes more than social media updates, Google search news. Everything that happens in SEO is known to me, still I am very bad at doing it.
Awareness doesn’t change much. Unless you connect the dots. That’s why brands should focus on how the content builds consideration. Now, to do that don’t chase attributions & tracking of what connect lead to X result and made the buyer join the funnel.
Chase your competitors, continue to maintain a track of what they do. Very much chase how your followers & non-followers react to message-oriented non-complex content & value-control content.
By now you have simplified your content & controlled the value to build the brand consideration. Now it all ends with continuous guidance. Every platform provides you with features or existing tools assisting the audience with purchase decisioning.
On Instagram, You have Story highlights & Multiple links as the guidance tools for potential buyers. When they visit your profile make user you have content that introduces them to what you do & sell.
On TikTok, The pinned posts feature & Stan store page are heavily used by creators & marketers to introduce the audience to paid offerings.
On LinkedIn & Facebook, Your main profile has a lot to offer in terms of guidance & past work.
Your Social Media Accounts are actual landing pages, you build your own UI/UX by having what is needed on your profile. Too many people take the profile for granted. Show Continuity in tracking how the profile visits on these platforms change & improve them.
Now I need you to show continuity in the trend tracking & cultural changes. Social media moves fast, now more users are comfortable with uses of social media in a more open way. People are sharing a lot on these platforms. That’s changed only recently. The social media universe changes, and you need continuity to adapt.
The biggest reason for showing continuity is because context changes. Social Media changes their context about someone very frequently & especially the users trust each other more than businesses or creators. That’s also why chasing virality isn’t mentioned here, most brands are never ready to have so many different points of view impacting their brand. Be consideration focused and show continuity in practicing the right tactics.
With that, I end this insight here. In case you find this too much to execute yourself, feel free to consult with me. I am always open to help brands & marketers in the space. May be it is your time to show consideration and buy my work.