Gen Y continues to lead the pack in using, consuming and sharing on Microblogging (Twitter) and Visual Social Media (VSM) (Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, etc.) platforms. This e-book will present the burgeoning growth of platforms that utilize media other than plain-based text and how they can be used to engage and develop relationships with your consumer and customers. Not only are these platforms particularly useful at transmitting and communicating visually appealing information about the brand, but also allow the marketing team themselves to pro-actively follow the VSM of their customers. The concepts presented here can be used for insight collection, insight sharing and, most importantly, relationship building with your customer.
1. Create Visual Social Media
Gen Y has been quick to adopt VSM. Despite the growth of microblogging, VSM may mark the future of engagement with consumers and customers for brands and Product Managers looking to deepen their engagement beyond Google+ and LinkedIn. This adoption, in its early phases, is of people using platforms that utilize an alternative media format predominantly over simple text. The content requirements are both technically and creatively more difficult to produce, and tend to preclude people without a skillset of multi-media creation and editing.
2. Create Online Video
As online video and data plans continue to grow in size and functionality, more individuals are beginning to use video to interact with their brands. Of particular note is the significant reach and effectiveness of using online video for new product development, launch and demonstrations. Video, and in particular YouTube, offers an incredible opportunity for Marketing Managers to step up the interactivity of their brand and new products, allowing customers and consumers to not only embrace the video for technical advice or inspiration, but video also is more adept at communicating technical instructions or demonstrations in a shorter amount of time.
3. Benchmark Your Content With Streaming Video
The rise of streaming video within virtually all demographics demonstrates not only the growing importance of unique video content overall, but also of the rise of data plans and mobile devices that can connect to streaming video services. Although brand videos and new product videos don’t directly compete with content on popular video streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix, the standard by which consumers and customers judge video stays at that very high bar level. Marketing and Product Managers must not only embrace VSM, but also look to create content on par with a typical user experience in the “real world” of Hulu, Netflix and iTunes.
4. Engage with Streaming Music Services
Streaming music, although not technically VSM, still embodies the concept of an alternative to text-fueled social media and also points towards growth with Gen Y (and Gen X’rs and Boomers). A compelling note on streaming music is that many of the free models are inclusive of advertising messages, allowing brands that are looking to embrace the future of social to embed messaging directly within the player. Interacting with your customer in the context of social, streaming music can have powerful brand benefits. In fact, even in the B-to-B realm, promoting new products via streaming music presents a compelling and powerful alternative to the traditional social media marketing opportunities. Brands looking to grow their reach within these crowded markets can find significant value in exploring this alternative social format of streaming cloud based music services.
5. Extend Search to Discovery
Search still plays a critical role for businesses and professionals looking to build awareness of their brand and new products. In fact, overall it still rates the highly as the most preferred way to learn about new products or a brand. However, this growth rate tends to slow with Gen Y, albeit a small percentage amount, yet nevertheless this combined with the growth in VSM should cause any Marketing Manager to notice the trend and take action to interact more richly and more frequently with VSM. The slowdown in growth for search may lead to a new era of importance of Marketing Managers away from search to one of discovery. While the meta-data for text is inherently structured into content, the meta-data for photos and videos is not always inherently clear, nor necessarily even coded.
WHY IS THIS RELEVANT?
Why would a company, that doesn’t even target Gen Y, concern themselves with the behavior of this demographic? Because Gen Y will likely lead all customers into VSM era. Looking back on the history and development of social media, one can see the incredible growth of “traditional” social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Under the lens of history we see, just with traditional social media, that the VSM trend is starting now with them but will likely spread to Boomers and Gen X. Building brand awareness, sharing brand stories and creating unique brand videos and sharing this content on VSM platforms will define future marketing success across all generations.