Last week, I gave the Day 2 opening keynote at the Multifamily Social Media Summit, the only conference specifically focused on how apartment building owners and managers can use social media and content marketing to attract and retain residents.
For this presentation, I revisited the core premise of my book, microMARKETING — that in an era marked by the hyper-fragmentation of consumer culture, the democratization of media-making, and the shrinking of attention spans to a point at which small has become strategic when it comes to content (the tweet, the photo, the Vine-ready video) — and brought that thinking up to date with fresh examples and new ideas about the power of interaction, the value of content, and a formula for coming up with stronger ideas for social media campaigns and more powerful structures for social storytelling.
For those of you interested in seeing what the Multifamily audience saw, here are my slides. The usual caveat applies: these visuals (along with multimedia elements that I’ve stripped out of the ‘leave-behind’ version embeddded here) were meant to accompany my talk, not to stand on their own. If you’d like more context, continue reading below…
If I had to summarize my talk, I’d boil it down to these key insights.
- The three big shifts from mass to micro (in culture, media and content) have certainly taken hold, and while many brands still cling to mass like a marketing life vest, enough have embraced the types of techniques I wrote about in the book that it has become likelier than ever that your social will be ignored by the very audience it’s intended for.
- Brands can do three things to earn (or in many cases, win back) and hold consumers’ attention. First: to get attention, brands must give attention. Yes, this harkens back to some tried and true social media advice — listen and respond(fellow keynoter Jay Baer focused on this point specifically, in his talk based on his forthcoming book Hug Your Haters). More importantly, it comes with an important corollary — the simple interaction is the most basic form of social currency. And the conversation is among the most fundamental forms of microcontent. Ultimately, interactions can’t be left to chance. Any organization that is serious about social must operationalize interactions and make them a key component of a total, consumer-centric brand experience.
- The second thing brands can — some would say must — do is use content as a way to create value for the consumer and capture value for the company. This requires brands to set clear objectives for content and be strategic. Beyond these things though, good content must super-serve its intended audience, be approached with a commitment to both quality and consistency, and be distinct from similar content offerings already available from other publishers or brands.
- And finally, brands can deliver stronger, more social, content-driven experiences if they follow a simple formula I laid out in the book six years ago. Create something that will be of high interest to your intended audience, allow that audience to build on your interesting idea as a platform for self-expression (nobody wants to share your message but they’re often happy to share their own message and let you “ride along”), and provide some form of motivation for participation (strong motivating factors can range from monetary incentives to headier inspiration like an opportunity to be part of something bigger than oneself). Sounds simple enough — and it is, but in the rush to chase the next new thing, even the savviest social marketers often lose site of the basics. And this is one basic approach that has delivered results for more than a decade, across a wide range of iconic social media marketing programs including oldies like the Ford Fiesta Movement to goodies like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Interest + Expression + Motivation. It just works…
All in all, it was fun to return to microMARKETING and see just how well the concepts have stood the test of time. Even more, it was exciting to bring these ideas to an industry that is committed to upping its marketing game to better meet the needs of its new and next generation of customers.