BIG BRANDS are turning to social media channels you may not have heard of to reach new audiences

On May 19th, the Wireless Technology Forum, held a panel discussion on Mobile Video with:

  • Cathy Farr, Senior Director Mobile Products, CNN Digital
  • Laurie Baird, Managing Director, Youi.tv
  • Pascal Racheneur, General Manager, Digital Video, Raycom Media
  • Eric McLoughlin, Director, Product Management, Comcast
  • Moderator: Karl Edwards, inCode Consulting

Cathy Farr spoke about going where your future customers are today (millennials) which meant CNN Digital on Snapchat. She spoke about creating content for Snapchat which means "vertical" videos instead of "horizontal" videos. She spoke about trying different things including broadcasting a presidential debate in virtual reality (with ATLvr led by CEO Annie Eaton). Lessons learned from broadcasting a presidential debate in VR included that people intrigued by the idea, but viewers had to remove their VR headsets after about 20 minutes because the headsets got too warm around their face.

Two important lessons here:

  1. Experimentation is Key - CNN wants to prove that they are leading edge, thought leaders, forward thinking in their broadcasting. They are not afraid to venture into social media channels.
  2. It's not always about an immediate ROI - There's no ROI for CNN on Snapchat today, but CNN is has the budget and the resources to get ahead of the game to create content for more social media channels than just the standard, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In my short time on Snapchat, here's what I have learned.

  • Developing content for Snapchat is a whole new game.
    • Storytelling in only a few seconds, or your viewer will likely move on to the next Snap. You need to capture the viewer's attention within 1-3 seconds with either a bold image and text or a video with a clear story
    • Maximum video length is 10 seconds, a far cry from long-form video on YouTube where the average watch time is around 3 minutes.
    • Portrait orientation (instead of landscape) - You need to develop content that is oriented and sized specifically for Snapchat. Don't use the landscape image created for Facebook or Twitter.
    • New and fresh content daily. Stories can only be viewed for 24 hours. This means content development for a very short lifespan.
  • ROI? I see advertising on Discovery CNN between stories, but it's so easy to move onto the next story, I'm not sure what brand I just saw. Unlike YouTube, there is no mandatory 5 seconds before the "Skip." Cathy Farr commented that Snapchat was "cost of doing business."

Mobile X Festival, Atlanta Hawks, & Tinder

At the Mobile X Festival (May 12, 2016), created by Jamie Turner, I learned from Peter Sorckoff, Chief Creative Officer, Atlanta Hawks, and Ted Wright, author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth about the Atlanta Hawks' social media weapon, Tinder. Peter and Ted found that their target audience were 30-year old single males living and working ITP (Inside the Perimeter), aka near Phillips Arena. They had to go where their target audience already was; this meant joining Tinder. 79% of Tinder users are millennials (target market) and since Tinder matches are based on proximity, the Hawks were able to get their message out to singles in the area. The Atlanta Hawks went as far as to sponsor  Tinder night at Phillips Arena on March 19, 2016. If you had bet me money that I would go to Mobile X Festival and learn about Tinder, I would have lost that bet.

As marketers, we can no longer simply develop content on a few social media channels, or even worse, develop 1 piece of content and then try to use it on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We need to experiment and connect with our audience by going where they are. We can't be afraid of failing; not every marketing campaign will be a slam dunk success, but we need to get ahead of our competition, and that might mean going where no brand has gone before.