Well this morning I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Schaefer talk about the future of digital and social media in his eyes. Having dragged him away from his holiday of hot pools in Rotorua and Waiheke Island they managed to get him around the royal entourage in Wellington. Mark presented over a live feed from the capital.
Mark’s blog businesses grow is a great source for all things social and he began the presentation with two mega trends online.
The selfie and cats. Culminating in! Wait for it. The cat selfie – Boom.
So after this opening gag, Mark walked us through 3 digital revolutions we have all been part of and a 4th we are approaching. The first three we know as:
Presence – which is the online brochureware we all saw at the beginning of the internet.
Search – Which was getting your content found and tricking google to be in the first SERPs.
Utility – Which is engaging fans through content on social (our current phase) and the volume of this content is overwhelming. Data will increase 600% by 2020. And it’s not all from IoT. It will also be user generated, like the #catselfie.
On average adults in the western world consume around 10 hours of content a day. Already the web is our major provider of this content. As brands we are finding it hard to cut through the competing content and I like Mark believe will hit the limit of content consumption soon.
Mark then quoted Richard Simms from Facebook ~ “Organic reach is dropping as there’s 1500 odd possible stories we can show a user each day”. Hence the need for the edge rank algorithm. But as seen here, Facebook will be charging more and more to reach your fan base, to enhance their revenues.
So how do we get around this as we move to a new era? Well here are three options.
1. Create a niche and OWN it! Be the best source of information on a specific topic so that search engines can’t ignore you. Relate to your audience so that you’re top of mind in your niche.
Mark talked of a Knoxville cosmetic surgery clinic that moved from sell, sell, sell – to educating people.
They used the doctor as a face and voice of the clinic to answer weekly questions on YouTube and Facebook then blogging for SEO.
They went a step further creating ebooks for those that didn’t want to post questions publicly. The ebooks were so successful that even competitor clinics wanted to buy them. They then wrote cookbooks for their fans. The book was so good that it was a talking point at Christmas time at Mark’s house (brand recognition and top of mind).
2. Borrow a bigger pipeline. Create sponsored content, do some brandscaping (combining with a brand in a niche you’re targeting) or get newsjacking.
One area that Mark believes will get very interesting (he’s written a book on it) is leveraging Influence marketing – through simple publishing tools and mobile technology, influence is democratised now. Think how powerful Robert Scobleizer.com is or Jamie’s World!
But to succeed in influence marketing you need to remember the content plan and the network plan. HOW WILL IT SPREAD? What’s your share of conversation in your niche?
Mark mentioned a recent conversation with Coke execs and how Coke look to create great content. Content so great, fans will wear it on their shirts, and they will have a majority share of youth culture. As we know, Redbull are of course beating them to it…
Power on the internet is who can move your content (so find a bigger pipeline for your content).
3. Think of content as currency. Is it cool enough that people will feel proud of sharing, is it relevant to their peers or will it make them look smarter.
You’ll share content if by association you look cool.
Mark asks, to really get a feel if you’re into the digital space, as a brand take a napkin and finish this sentence on your own. “Only we…” ITs surprising the insights this gives to what is your niche, what is the message you need to share and to who!
Mark also offered up a great filter for compelling content. R.I.T.E.
Entertaining (the most important)
The key to breaking through the noise is being entertaining. Mark cited Chipotle creating entertainment to sell burritos. See the case study here.
Now to the new 4th age.
Which is all about wearables, augmented reality and filters. The future.
In filters, Mark mentioned Zite, which after two years of use is really starting to learn more about the content I like and filter my consumption back to preferred brands, or blogs in my case.
He also talked of Watson at IBM, a supercomputer that is learning and consumes content as fuel. They predict Watson may well be on your wrist in coming years.
Google may not be the source of all info in the future so do we need to optimise to invite people OUT of their filters and to come spend time with our brand.
Understanding and being first movers in content on Wearables and AR will give significant competitive advantage.
The question I’m asking myself is – when there’s a digital layer between us and everything, how do we dominate it? What will digital marketing look like when there no boundaries like cables, screens or WiFi needed?
He believes being entertained and wanting to play will be our focus. Sounds about right.
Finally Marks parting note was -
Be more human.
A fantastic motto to live by. We buy from people we know and relate to irregardless of digital advancements. We should be switching to ongoing engagement, developing communities of interest and earning loyalty!
Well with many an idea floating around my head now I’m off to brainstorm – What do you think will be the future of digital and social media?