Select The Right Platform

Everyone wants to be heard. In fact, your job depends on you getting your brand story heard by the right people just when they decide they need a product that your company offers. So, how do you avoid getting lost in the crowd? How can you make your brand stand out? Show up where your customers already spend their time. Platform choices matter. My straight-up advice: Don’t ask your consumer to come to you. Become a native on the platforms that they already call home and add value.

As a marketer, it’s very time consuming to track all the options, plans, and features that claim magic powers for proving marketing ROI, increasing your CT metrics, and reaping a harvest of the right eyeballs. I’ve seen some spreadsheets and flowcharts that would make your eyes cross! In 2015 alone, all 4 major digital advertising platforms added features while changing the rules on corporate advertisers. Meanwhile, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler, SnapChat, and Vine started gobbling up brand advertising market share like Venus Flytraps.

Yes, some platforms are better at splicing, dicing and tracking segments with a sexy, new (slightly creepy) location-targeting tool (Facebook, I’m looking at you.) And other platforms are handy for running a virtual newsroom that builds on news and topic trends while measuring audience intent to actually act on the content they see (hello Twitter.) We mustn’t forget LinkedIn who attracts the influencers and B2B crowd through smart, targeted content. Or the search goliath Google and Google’s video cousin, YouTube who can make or break your audience’s ability to even find your content due to their dominant search and mobile positioning.

But your audience preferences should always take precedence when choosing a platform because you’re asking your audience to do you a favor… consume your content. Very rarely will a consumer travel outside their preferred channels because it takes time and effort that they just don’t have. When you center your story, distribution plan, and marketing budget on what will seamlessly fit into your consumer’s day, you’ve solved a big part of your “how to be heard” conundrum.

And seriously, if you have the right KPIs and tools, you can most certainly track ROI to every portion of your funnel.

Think Omni-Channel And Go Where Your Audience Lives

Let’s say your data guys are seduced by Facebook’s ability to target and segment audience metrics, and your dinosaur boss has said, “publish or perish on that blog thingie.” You know that your audience does not have the attention span to burn on small blips of blog content and they don’t use Facebook. And to add insult to injury, your marketing budget has limits! What do you do? (Aside from pull your hair out while hiding in the bathroom stall and screaming into your rolled up jacket?)

This one requires creativity. You know that your audience is visual, has a short attention span, and values content that makes them look smart or makes their life easy. Bonus, your company actually cares about being seen as helpful. For example, your audience loves life-hacks. Your company has a CVP reading something like, “we’re here to help” or “we’ve got you covered.”

You create a relationship through that “help” messaging by creating a series of value-add content around life hacks.

  • A 30 second video cleverly exploring a life-hack that one of your consumers came up with to solve a common problem – maybe even using your own product
  • A short-form written interview with that hack expert exploring through photo detail how they came up with that solution
  • A long-form educational piece with images on another hack angle
  • A flipbook of images (taken during the video shoot) that walk someone through the hack without needing to watch a video
  • An infographic outlining the stats behind how this hack makes life better
  • An Instagram contest that asks users to weigh in with images of their best hackable moment
  • A Facebook-native video post that hits the local angle of that hack through an out-take from the original recording session
  • A tweet-storm that gains momentum for that hack subject
  • A Medium post by your CEO mentioning that hack
  • A live event hackathon…

And then, you publish according to your publishing goals. All of the content will “live” on your blog, and be cross-linked across all relevant platforms. Then, you take a look at the platform where your audience lives online, and you spend your paid there. And yes, you have to pay to play today. Platforms are definitely jockeying the players with bigger budgets to more targeted eyeballs, so if you have to fight for a paid advertising budget, do it. Ad blocking is sure to change the landscape soon, so in the meantime, get creative on your placement thinking.

By thinking of every piece of content as something that can live in multi-formats, you can create succinctly, pivot on successful formats and platforms, and build on momentum. Added bonuses – your content costs will be much lower and you’ll have solid data on which platforms and content types perform for your target audience. Win, win, win.

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