Social media matters. Despite all the hype, I think we can agree there is tremendous potential in using it as a platform for building deeper relationships with your customer, allowing you to talk to them consistently over a longer period of time. That’s why most companies collect the likes, the follows, and the subscriptions (how many do you still know that don’t?). Some take it further – monitoring online conversations, setting up more robust communities or Facebook platforms, using a service to identify “influencers”.
But one area of social (and I’m lumping relationship marketing in here because they are so closely linked or at least should be) is still criminally overlooked in all but a few cases: the content. In other words, you have the attention of your faithful and the signal they want to hear from you. But what are you actually saying?
In many ways it’s a trickier problem than communicating via paid advertising a few times a year or whenever the campaign needs a refresh. This is an ongoing stream of content meant to not only engage an audience but also respond and adapt to their feedback. It’s content as conversation. In essence, it is content that lives and breathes and behaves like a person. We call it continuous content at Denuo and believe it represents the next great creative frontier.
Sure, plenty of content already exists on relationship platforms- brands having banal conversations with their fans about weekend plans, B–roll footage uploaded to a YouTube channel, CRM newsletters highlighting the deals of the week. But surely there is an opportunity to do more.
This type of flexible, adaptive content can be almost anything: a series of videos, a community, a collaborative platform, a game, a combination of many of these. Examples are increasingly emerging and they are often the marketing we’re talking about most. The Old Spice Guy on YouTube is clearly one. The many ways Sony uses Kevin Butler is another example of a character who traverses television, social media, and beyond while creating continuous content. Habro’s Monopoly City Streets on Google showed how this could be done within a game.
We’ve been experimenting regularly with Continuous Content ourselves for clients like Taco Bell, Champion, and Cascadian Farms. Our latest is in progress right now as we collaborate with Razorfish to launch the world’s first Twitter-fueled race for Mercedes Benz. You can follow it live here as it unfolds.
With Facebook boasting 500 million people and Twitter and YouTube becoming the tools of celebrities and revolutionaries alike, you can no longer really draw a distinction between mainstream and social media. But the gulf between what’s been accomplished in the media forms of the last century vs. how we’ve capitalized on the still-new opportunities afforded us via the two-way channels of today makes you believe that we’re only just beginning to figure out where marketing creativity can lead next.