At this point in 2018, social media campaigns are everywhere.
They have become a prevalent and hugely influential avenue of organizations to further their brand, and grow their consumer base. Successful brands are now staying on top of modern marketing trends in order to remain relevant and interesting to their audience. However, the MOST successful brands are not just staying on top of these social media trends—they are creating them. The champions of advertising in 2018 are utilizing social media channels as invaluable platforms of consumer connection, and realizing the potential reach that each digital campaign actually holds. It is a world of boundless possibility, borne from tiny silver boxes in our pockets, heralding a new era of digital advertising into our ever-evolving society.
One of the most notable attributes of modern social media campaigns (and the one that I will hereby harp on) is the transforming tide of their purpose. In years past, social media has been employed as an online traffic creator, if you will. Companies would post information as click-dumps of marketing material with the goal of simply blasting their message to as many users as possible. This was effective, for a while, but with the vast tsunami of information that the average person faces day by day, it is no longer enough to keep your audience mindlessly following you – now, they must be engaged. 2017 witnessed social media shifting in this very respect, and 2018 will only further unfold this adjustment in the true purpose and essence of digital marketing. This adaptation in intent continues to open the doors to a customized, meaningful experience that personally sticks to each consumer of your brand.
This can be an overwhelming concept for any business – after all, figuring out how to tap into your viewer’s brain is a daunting concept, much less curating content that is specifically designed to uniquely engage them. But fret not, modern marketers. New apps and tools drafted for this distinct purpose pop up constantly; chatbots, hashtag campaigns, augmented reality apps, increased live streaming, and a renewed vitality of video prowess are simply a few of the several techniques businesses are using to their full advantage. Engagement is the secret to any truly great social media campaign.
The New York Times nailed this concept on the head in 2017 with their “The Truth Is Hard” campaign, aired during the February Academy Awards. Not only did they target their ad to a less conservative crowd (aka most people still watching the Academy Awards these days), but it was also spread via all the usual tools, digitally and through print. Their campaign was a risky one – but it paid off. They directly addressed heavy political issues circulating the world currently, including women’s rights, the fake news dilemma, and the truth that our country remains at war with itself. By having no fear of voicing these subjects aloud in their own advertisement, suddenly The New York Times engaged every citizen of the United States who could connect with this feeling of political panic. Regular average janes and joes sitting at home eating popcorn, discussing movies, oohing and ahhing over beautiful gowns and lush suits were mentally and emotionally involved for 30 seconds during the ad, and months afterward. This involvement has now led to record levels of digital subscriptions for The New York Times. People didn’t necessarily purchase subscriptions because of their faith in The New York Times ability to produce truthful, breaking news. They purchased these subscriptions because The Times, as a brand, was able to successfully articulate this seemingly indistinct yet unavoidable perception that nothing is what it seems these days, and we’re all watching it happen. They reached the ultimate level of psychological engagement. The Times can be awarded their laurels for this one. They killed it.
Last year observed an innovative year for brands that have identified the need to engage, and are now not only thinking outside of the box, but eliminating the box itself. Though it has only just begun, 2018 will no doubt prove to be a remarkable continuation of this movement towards connected involvement. Organizations able to recognize the influence of this shift and harness it to their full potential will no doubt experience sweeping success on a mass scale, while organizations that remain unable to adapt will continue to suffer. The playing field will level itself. Those found modernizing their social media marketing tactics will no doubt win the day.