What are the biggest social media trends for the next couple of years?
It’s no secret that live-streaming video has become ubiquitous. It’s not a fleeting trend – it’s here to stay. But one of the biggest trends for the next couple of years will be brands trying to figure out how to make the most of it, reaching their key audiences in authentic ways, in real time.
Twitter’s Periscope, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are just a few tools that infuse real-time video into social feeds, and I won’t be surprised to see additional platforms emerge in the coming months and years. And anytime a new technology emerges, of course, many new add-ons and so-called enhancements emerge, as well. Software solutions like Wirecast and Streamshark allow you to create incredibly sophisticated live-streams that include live-switching, multi-camera operations, for example.
But the brands that will excel at live-streaming video will be those who best keep a finger on the pulse of how their audiences are actually using live streams.
For example, most viewers have come to expect a sort of run-and-gun, documentary-style footage that is best captured with a smartphone camera. That’s because it provides a more authentic experience and makes audiences feel like they’re experiencing the content along with the person who is filming it.
And viewers only want to see things “live” if there’s a reason to see it now, rather than watch it at their leisure, like general video content.
Why do you believe branding is so important?
Your brand is your business. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors. It’s what builds trust with existing and prospective customers. You can have the brightest business idea in the world – but it’s your brand that will ultimately make or break it.
There’s a common misperception, however, that branding is limited to a few simple things like your company’s name and logo. I can’t overstate the importance of a high-quality, memorable logo that reflects your brand, but in reality, your brand is an overall experience – and it encompasses everything from the vibe of your office lobby, to your “voice” on social media, to the way you speak to customers over the phone, to seemingly minor things like your company’s letterhead. These things should all work in concert to build something greater than the sum of its parts.Your brand is an overall experience, it is not limited to your company’s name and logo. Click To Tweet
What’s your advice for brands? How can they organically grow their audience?
First and foremost, you need to ensure you’re findable online. So many businesses believe that simply having a website means they’ve covered their bases, but they’re missing out on some critical – and simple – steps to making sure their target market can find them online. At Deluxe, for example, we provide a free tool that allows you to scan for how your business is showing up in business listings, directories, etc. Many are shocked to find incorrect information, and we help guide them through simple steps for claiming their listings and ensuring all of their pertinent details are visible. Just as important, you need to have a user-friendly website that incorporates the keywords that your audience is searching for, to help boost your search rankings.
Beyond that, the most successful brands are those that recognize the power of consistency, and the power of authentic storytelling. You should ensure there’s a thread that ties together your brand experience across every platform. Use strategic messaging across all channels – online, retail stores, events, and more – in addition to your logo and other visual designs. And make sure that all of those elements help communicate a compelling story – one that truly encapsulates what sets your company apart from the competition.Successful brands recognize the power of consistency, and of authentic storytelling. Click To Tweet
What is your opinion on branding monitoring tools?
Similar to that wide array of add-ons and other tools that are emerging for live-streaming video, there is an overwhelming, seemingly endless number of monitoring tools available to marketers. There are highly sophisticated, enterprise-wide social listening tools that can provide an immense amount of data about sentiment, demographics, trends, intent and more. There are complex tools that allow PR professionals to monitor online and broadcast coverage like never before. You can send surveys, scour search volume data, and scrutinize reports about shifts in your brand’s share of voice. In other words, we have more branding monitoring tools at our disposal than ever, which means we have more data at our fingertips than ever. But having more data is very different than having the right data.
My advice is to start with relatively broad strokes and see if there are any obvious areas that your brand needs to improve.
For example, if awareness is low, then home in on that specific metric, and tap into monitoring tools that will give you actionable insights about how to improve awareness, and that can measure your progress toward that specific goal.
More about Amanda Brinkman:
Amanda Brinkman is the Chief Brand and Communications Officer at Deluxe Corporation. She spearheaded the Small Business Revolution, a movement that began in 2015 as part of Deluxe’s 100th anniversary celebration, which profiled 100 compelling small businesses across the country in photo and video essays. The series also includes a documentary film, featuring Brinkman, celebrity entrepreneur Robert Herjavec and other small business experts, that showcases the importance of small businesses to the American economy.
Brinkman then brought the Small Business Revolution – Main Street one step further. Each season provides a $500,000 revitalization to one small town and documents the transformation in an acclaimed series starring Brinkman, Herjavec and other experts.
Brinkman is credited with creating a movement and new brand positioning for Deluxe. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Amanda’s responsibilities include advertising, enterprise brand, media relations, the Deluxe Foundation and marketing strategy planning for Deluxe. Brinkman has extensive background in brand marketing, which includes corporate and agency experience.
Deluxe is a growth engine for small businesses and financial institutions. Nearly 4.4 million small business customers access Deluxe’s wide range of products and services, including customized checks and forms, as well as website development and hosting, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization and logo design. For our approximately 5,600 financial institution customers, Deluxe offers industry-leading programs in checks, data analytics and customer acquisition and treasury management solutions including fraud prevention and profitability. Deluxe is also a leading provider of checks and accessories sold directly to consumers. For more information, visit Deluxe at www.deluxe.com, www.facebook.com/deluxecorp or www.twitter.com/deluxecorp.