Frugal digital storytelling for the restless eyes
My father jokingly tells me that back in his days, when Television was still a novelty, every new advertisement on TV was something to dissect and look forward to. Not only was TV serial watching a huge (in many ways religious) family affair, the advertisements were received with curious and twinkling eyes and gaping mouths. The slowness and eagerness of such content consumption meant an easy win for brands who could weasel their way into the TV primetime.
Come 2018, and everyone you meet owns a phone. The costlier the phone, the lesser the patience of the owner to look at incessant popping adverts on their phone screens.
Everyone is restlessly waiting to press the skip button on YouTube ads and preferring to watch things at their own pace online over the Television. Now what does that mean for brands? Even though the digital medium has opened gates for smaller brands to be 'seen' in other parts of the world, is anyone even watching them? Especially the ones who have just begun to mushroom?
How do we tell the story digitally to a restless audience who is glued to their phones and laptops, yet has very little patience for anything that is not adding value to their life?
Conceptualisation: It is very important to ask yourself these questions right at the start;
why exactly are you going digital?
Do you want to have a website, an instagram handle, a youtube account or all of them?
What purpose of your brand’s experience will each of these solve?
In my experience, sticking to one or two digital platforms in your initial months- like an instagram account and a website, helps immensely. Many new firms and nonprofits create many accounts on different platforms, just to be there. Understand that every digital property you create needs constant nurturing, so begin small and meaningful for greater engagement.
Choosing the right platform will be decided by who is your audience? Where they live, what platforms do they use. When you take into consideration your customers’ demographics, behaviours and feelings, you can tailor your medium and message to attract them. This initial study before investing in any platform or campaign will expand your base of regular followers and set the base for your entire strategy.
Building Narrative: Okay, so you have made a kickass website and have chosen your social media platform. Now what? Where does one begin telling the ‘story’?
Begin with picking not more than 2-3 key ideas about your social media page wants to talk about (from your product/service that your site is built on) - and stick to it. Consider these ideas as your three ‘buckets’ and start thinking what all you can put into them; in a way that it is effectively linked to your product and yet is something meaningful for your customer. For instance if your audience is a young woman for your handbag brand, instead of posting pictures about your product for selling, you can start conversation on your platforms about the history of handbag making, its purpose, the people who study the craft etc while subtly moving your product in between. Add emotional quotient, and value to your posts. Humans crave for connection and hence add words like ‘us’ ‘together’ ‘collaborate’ more.
User Experience: User Experience or UX is one of the key metric for deciding the success of your digital brand. What is User Experience? Simply put, it is the experience a consumer gets when they interact with your product. If you are an e-commerce or a nonprofit, make it extremely easy and enjoyable (in that order and priority) for the user to buy the product or donate/volunteer/engage with you.
For an online brand, it is very important that you put yourself in the users’ shoes and understand what they think before buying your product. Invest some time in getting user feedback. Google analytics is a great tool to have in this regard, so do take a tutorial or two about it and use it to your advantage.
Always, always keep coming back to the point of your website, it will define everything that you do around it. It is very easy to get lost in the digital media mayhem!
Investing little but wisely: The best part about digital medium of marketing is that you can directly reach interested audience if you are smart with your content and investment. Dive into your analytics to understand your key audience and leverage them. I can’t emphasise enough on how important Google analytics is in this regard, as you can actually track which social media platform is getting you the most views.
Influencer marketing: Social media influencers and bloggers have become a core part of building a digital media narrative. Who are social media influencers? Social media/ digital Influencers, like our real life influencers, are people who have an active, engaged and large community around their page/online space. Research about them on the platform you will use, find them or use online tools like Heepsy to find them faster. Have a real conversation with them and strike a partnership.
Open to learn & experiment: Lastly, there are no hard and fast rules in the digital world! The rules change as the platforms’ algorithms change. What might have worked yesterday- might not work tomorrow. So do keep your abreast for all updates on digital marketing front!
At the end of the day, humans are visual creatures. More than fifty percent of our brain tries to use and make the best out of the visuals we see around us. So make each post and design element count!