Pay Me Some Damn Attention…Please!!!

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Last week me and my partner announced we are expecting…a puppy that is (before mum freaks out again). He’s a Golden Retriever/Labrador cross (also known as a Goldador), and is as cute as a button (that’s what they say right?). Here he is saying hello…

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Notice how I have captured your attention with something completely unrelated to what we’re really here to discuss?

But wait…don’t go just yet. What I’ve tried to demonstrate (admittedly rather poorly) by exploiting my new pup is that a lot of what you end up clicking on social media only ends up being very loosely related to what you actually thought you were going to see.

This is an editorial method that has been used to build entire online businesses (I’m looking at you LadBible), and despite Facebook’s repeated attempts to quell it, as yet shows now sign of abating.

We all probably know it as clickbait, although if you are a publisher trying to sell it in to advertisers, you may be more inclined to call it…creating a knowledge gap. It’s like a lad who shoves a rolled up sock down his tighty whities – looks great on the surface, but inevitably leads to ‘massive’ disappointment when it comes to the headline act.

We’re all guilty of clicking on a headline that ends with “…and you won’t believe what happens next” at some point or another. Fortunately most of us have cottoned on to the fact these links usually direct us to crap sites full of pop-up ads, and therefore many publishers are adapting their editorial styles.

This certainly doesn’t mean clickbait has gone away however, instead it focusses on areas like football where fans will be ‘amazed’ by which player their club has been linked with…but only once they click through to the publisher’s advert filled site.

The simple problem is that Facebook (and other social platforms) have significantly clamped down on organic reach for pages, meaning that publishers (and online businesses) have to resort to increasingly annoying tactics in order to get people onto their sites.

It is a bit like the dark days of SEO, where poor quality links and keyword ridden paragraphs became commonplace. Fortunately the industry has almost completely cleaned up their act, but unfortunately social media still hasn’t quite caught up for some.

So how can we combat significant drop offs in social traffic?

Well the first thing to accept is that Facebook sure as hell doesn’t want you to leave their app or website, hence the introduction of Facebook Live, Instant Articles, etc, all of which are aimed at keeping brands and users on Facebook. With this in mind, you need to decide, is it more important to increase brand awareness, or increase traffic?

If you are looking to build an audience, and just generally increase awareness of your brand and products, your best bet is to kowtow to Facebook’s increasingly erratic demands. Start uploading all of your video content directly to the platform, make use of Instant Articles, and generally keep as much of your content on Facebook as possible.

However, if you are desperate to get potential customers off Facebook and onto your site, then there are a number of things to consider. First off is simply just paying for it. Facebook is more than happy to take your money off you in exchange for sending a few more visitors your way.

Investing in paid social is something that every business serious about social should be considering at this stage. Although you are unlikely to see the kind of sales results you would from a good PPC campaign, there are still many benefits to paid social activity.

When considering this aspect of your marketing, it is important to remember that unlike with an AdWords campaign where you are targeting users based on specific searches, with social ads user intent is very different. Therefore tools such as Facebook ads are a great way of increasing brand awareness and affinity, even if they don’t result in direct conversions.

Think of it this way; if you’re on Instagram scrolling through the latest Victoria’s Secret feed (for research purposes of course) only to be interrupted by James Dyson’s latest snoozefest what are you likely to do? Click on it and drop £500 on a wall mounted vac, or carry on with your ‘research’? Thought so…

Instead however, if you see a video of a vac being used by an ingenious dad to sort out his daughter’s messy hair, you may just stop for a few seconds and actually pay it some attention. Equally you may decide that the lacy lingerie is much more important at that particular moment, but at least there is some chance of the vac grabbing a moment of your attention.

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In reality, there are a million and one different things you can do to improve your reach on social media; from correctly choosing the best time to unleash your carefully curated content on the world, to optimising the visual content to attract user’s attention (there’s a reason Cadbury’s chose purple).

The cornerstone of your social strategy however should be creating amazing content that actually serves a purpose to your users, and gives them a reason to put down the Victoria’s Secret Instagram feed for a few minutes.

We’re not talking about going out and writing some Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece here, but rather than simply trying to sell, sell, sell at every opportunity, instead think about what will make your users sit up and take note. On each and every social platform they have so many posts trying to grab their attention, that without genuinely adding some value to their day, you don’t stand a chance.

Once you have solid content, then you can start thinking about what headline is most likely to drive clicks, or whether your latest vlog should be 5 minutes or 5 hours long. If you’re stuck for ideas, why not give us a shout and see how we might be able to help?