How Australian brands can produce better social media content

Reading Time: 2 minutes For better or for worst, mainstream Australian social media is concentrated within Facebook and Twitter. With Australian audiences being exposed to so much content, from so many different sources, brands are under constant pressure to publish content that will earn the ongoing attention of their target consumers.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Jeremiah Owyang recently published a post that states the audience needs are changing.  They want ‘faster, smaller and social’.

For better or for worst, mainstream Australian social media is concentrated within Facebook and Twitter.  With Australian audiences being exposed to so much content, from so many different sources, brands are under constant pressure to publish content that will earn the ongoing attention of their target consumers.

The problem is that traditional corporate marketing and PR teams are not built to regularly churn out unique pieces of content for various (social) channels.

So how do Australian brands evolve from strategy that includes a post every Friday that asks ‘plans for the weekend?’ and a post every Monday that asks ‘how was the weekend?’.

 

The new media environment requires new ways of positioning opportunities to market to consumers.

Robin Sloan, formerly of Twitter, classifies content as either ‘stock’ or ‘flow’.  ‘Stock’ is the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today.  ‘Flow’ is “the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.”  

A great description of the essence of ‘flow’ comes from David Carr who covers all forms of media for the New York Times and is no stranger to Twitter having tweeted over 15,000 times to over 300,000 followers.

In an interview with NPR, he says “sometimes you want to grab what is in the air, so to speak, and just put it out there,” he says. “One time after [the Winter Olympics ended], I just said, ‘I miss the Olympics.’ That got re-tweeted almost more than anything I’ve ever written about … it’s just something that’s in the air.”

Why traditional Australian corporations should start to go more with the flow

Corporations are more likely to be comfortable with ‘stock’ than ‘flow’.  Examples of stock content could be a product announcement or a television commercial hosted on YouTube.  This is content corporations currently create and modify for the social web.

But ‘flow’ is where I think brands can generate the biggest gains.  Regularly finding flow topics that resonates with consumers can give brands the permission to pro-actively engage target consumers in conversations loosely/directly linked to the brand.

How do you rate corporate Australia’s ability to create social content?

Contact Mike

7 thoughts on “How Australian brands can produce better social media content

  1. Great post Mike, I think Australian businesses struggle with both types of content (stock or flow). Event the best social businesses in Australia, haven’t evolved to encompass the entire organisation – they are still relying on a small number of content producers.There are very few examples of companies embracing internal social media platforms to assist with content capture and creation. I hope 2012 will bring more strategy than a daily Facebook post and a few tweets.

    1. agreed.  I wonder if it will require a few brave souls to take the leap or if there will be another driver (i.e. business urgency?) for particular industries (ex: retail?)

      1. I think retail needs to embrace these platforms and begin to understand the value of their individual customers. 
        Businesses are still using these platforms as pure broadcast mediums rather than locations to discuss their product or service with one individual in a public forum. 

  2. Great post mike, I think this will evolve quite naturally as brands slowly internalise social aspects and become more relaxed in conversation. I think at the moment corporations are going through the socially awkward teenager phase. To have flow you have to know the norms and be comfortable in expressing yourself, I just don’t think that corporates are there yet. 

  3. I like the idea of “stock” and “flow” – but it’s basically the same question of “conversation” vs “broadcast”. The comms and marketing teams in most organisations are built around broadcast. They tend not to have the flexibility, focus or authority to deal with the fluidity of conversation (or “flow”). And yet, that is not only where the most gains can be made – it’s also where the customer value lies waiting to be tapped.

    1. I agree that organisations lack the skills and/or strategy to effectively participate in the ‘flow’ game.  It will be interesting to watch how corporations are able to ramp up their content creation/curation in the next 12 months.

  4. Agree with Sam.

    When I was about twelve my best friend and I used to take our watches off so we could approach boys and awkwardly ask them the time before scampering off. But at least we’d spoken to them, right? 

    (Many) brands attempting ‘flow’ are inexperienced at courting* in a human voice, and for now, it shows. Hopefully their approach will get better with maturity. (I won’t guarantee mine has…).

    * there’s another discussion here about whether that’s what brands should be doing… but another time. 

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