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The pandemic had (and still has) people on their phones more than ever, consuming more content than ever. At the start of the pandemic, we saw advertisers jump on this opportunity to share their brand message, stating how “now more than ever” “during these unprecedented times” “we’re here for you”. The impact of these messages were quickly diluted as similar self-serving campaigns became indistinguishable.

What these brands were missing was this vital piece of information: people want to connect with each other online, not brands.

According to Hootsuite’s 2021 Social Trends report, 68 percent of people don’t think brands share interesting content. The report also tells us that 32% of people say “finding funny and entertaining content” is their main reason for using social media. With this in mind, if your content is strictly self-serving and not providing value to the customer, you are merely an interruption on their feed.

Moral of the story: If your whole strategy is driving engagement, you’re going against the entire reason people are logging on.

Brands continue to chase virality and measure “engagement” strictly on vanity metrics (likes, retweets, comments, shares), but relying on these metrics overlooks content that is being consumed passively. Hootsuite’s data shows that “Twitter’s total website traffic is 3x larger than its actual user base”. This is because much of the website’s content can be viewed without being logged in to the website. So how can we measure campaign effectiveness in these passive audiences? Look deeper! Look into video completion rates, link clicks, website traffic, etc.

PRO TIP: Know when to aim for engagement and participation and when to aim for reach and reaction.

So how can your brand create content that your audience will actually enjoy? Sit back and listen. The brands that we’ve seen succeed during the pandemic have listened to their audience, then found a creative way to fit into the conversation, not lead it.

Think back to the viral TikTok sensation of the summer – Nathan Apogada cruised his longboard while sipping Ocean Spray and listening to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac after his car battery died on his way to work. This quickly went viral and people were recreating the video (including celebrities like Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks) left and right. However, Ocean Spray was silent. Instead of jumping in right away, Ocean Spray watched the hype unfold and then waited for the right time to join the conversation – by gifting Apogada a new truck!

This is the exact type of content that will break through the wall of indifference in your audience.

Sydney Dauer

Author Sydney Dauer

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