Welcome to Toronto – POST G20…
I’m not going to discuss protestors, store politics, unhealthy police or commentary. If you are looking for answers regarding what transpired in downtown Toronto last month, close this window and search the many news portals throughout the interweb!
Today, I’m going to discuss the speed of meaningful and hurtful message delivery online. Companies can be reluctant to maintain a positive online brand because of the possibility of negative posting by users! Yes, WE ALL have a voice now with ‘super powers’ acquired through concepts like “Broadcast Yourself”, “Interact & Engage” and “Join The Conversation”. With all these powers developing at ever increasing rates, the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” comes to mind! Yes, cartoon super heroes (and their uncles) have a lot to teach us!
If anything, the G20 summit proved how quick messages can be delivered, consumed and passed along to shift public opinion. Think about how many real time tweets were posted right from the centre of the protests accompanied by pictures and video of “protestor aggression” or “police brutality”! Without the proper journalistic skills and research, who is to say what really happened? A 140 character message really isn’t sufficient to justify cause and action but today it really has become a driving force in the broadcast news industry. The mass collective are now socialized to receive quick answers to quick questions without the flow of information being bogged down by things like integrity, diligence or plausibility.
Content snacking is the way we consume messages and information online. It’s like receiving an executive summary on elements of interest. Users get headline feeds, snippets of articles, mobile episodes of TV shows and news broadcasts in quick, bite size form. Think of Twitter and how fast posts flow through your feed. In five minutes, a message is posted and gone – not lost, just off your feed! By searching the hashtag #G20 (or any topic of interest), you can find thousands of posts from EVERY angle and viewpoint, but most times, posts are disregarded!
So it comes to this – what catches the eye of online users? What makes them click a link and read/watch? What is it that gets a meaningful post viewed, RT’d (Re-Tweeted) or reposted to other platforms? Similarly, what makes a hurtful post stand above the positive ones? Before the planning process even begins, these are the questions that companies MUST answer in order to understand the social sphere!
Steps to creating meaningful content
I am very fortunate to know Lara McCulloch, a.k.a. @ready2spark . She is a thought leader in the event industry and a social media marketing and branding enthusiast who speaks around the world. Lara is an inspiration to me and to thousands of #eventprofs across North America! I have asked Lara her views on this subject and below are her five essential qualities that will help your messages spread across multiple platforms:
1. Relatability – If you write for everyone, you'll find it hard to captivate anyone. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of all the people who can read your post. I often tell my clients to imagine sitting in a cafe with their target market across the table from them. Write as if you're talking directly to them.
2. Obvious Value – Your readers have to see (very quickly) what they stand to gain from your post.
3. Emotional Connectivity – Whether they tug on our heart strings, get us angry or inspire us, messages that incite emotions are much more likely to spread than those that don't.
4. Clarity – The more convoluted or complex your point is, the more likely people are to move on.
5. Originality – There are a lot of blog authors that regurgitate information from other sources. Blogs that have gained notoriety and have a high share ratio are those that contain original thoughts and content.
Most importantly, when writing meaningful messages, ensure that it is easy to share! Avoid creating too many steps for the end user. “Incorporate social sharing links that make it easy for people to share your content in one click” Lara says. If users have to jump through too many hoops, your content will not travel!
How to avoid hurtful messages
With everyone having a voice through social platforms, it is virtually impossible to avoid hurtful messages. Lara says that “With the advent of social media, the number of connections we have and the sheer number of people who can be exposed to our thoughts have grown exponentially.” What is fantastic about this is that we can now dive into the minds of our customers and improve on our brands by using their feedback – negative or positive! We can listen to what they are saying deeper than ever before and improve ourselves, our teams and our companies as a whole. If you are successful at taking negative feedback and turning it into a positive, you are able to create better experiences for your followers and customers.
Is time a factor?
Web 2.0 has created a stage for all to become Lois Lane or Clark Kent! As responsible marketing/event professionals, it is important when developing your company’s online brand to remain as candid as possible. Create a welcoming and accessible presence in order to help your brand stand out against the digital clutter. I’ve always said to clients beginning their online journey that you cannot hide behind your logo and push out content like an indifferent machine. Your posts will get lost and disregarded. Meaningful posts are personal, intuitive and contain original content. Sounds pretty easy, but has proven difficult for a lot of brands because of one MASSIVE issue – TIME! Who has the time to sit online and post consistently? To lead the conversation, you truly have to be accessible online as much as possible to prove social worth. It does take time to build yourself as a thought leader who CAN provide meaningful posts, but once you reach that status, the benefits of being able to get your message heard are huge! Yes, time is a factor, but the payoff is worth the investment!
Thanks and feel free to connect with me anytime!