A Lesson on Storytelling Via Snapchat


The Clinton campaign used Snapchat’s unique features to run an anti-trump story on the platform. Regardless of our political affiliations, we, as marketers, should applaud her social media team for creating what is essentially a native political ad using a creative tone and approach that is perfect for the channel, and ultimately, their audience.

The campaign used Snapchat’s face-swap feature to superimpose former presidents’ faces over Trump while he spoke on a variety of issues. They used text overlays to “narrate” the story, as well as emojis and iconography to add emote sentiment; in this case, humor and sarcasm.

While the execution itself was brilliant, in my opinion, it was the choice to use Snapchat that truly intrigued me. In one of the most heated political seasons of our generation, candidates are vying for the highly elusive and potentially powerful young vote. By choosing Snapchat, the Clinton campaign is sending a signal that it is aggressively pursuing a younger audience that skews female.

The key takeaway here is that marketers should use the tools at their disposal through the various social platforms to reach targeted audiences with contextually appropriate native content. Kudos to the Clinton campaign team for creatively using Snapchat’s new features to reach potential voters with an engaging story that only Snapchat could have delivered, while injecting some much needed humor into this crazy election cycle.

Visit the Tech Insider article for screenshots and video of the full story.

This article was published originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

What the Instagram Algorithm Apocalypse REALLY Means for Brands and Content Creators

instagramA few days ago, I couldn’t help but notice that my Instagram feed was littered with arrows. I knew Instagram would be changing its algorithm, but this response from regular users and brands alike totally caught me off guard.

What is the “Instagram Algorithm,” anyway?

In an effort to make the user experience better on the platform, Instagram decided it is going to change the way it displays content on the feed. That’s right… I said “going to.” As of 3/30 when I wrote this, the algorithm is still in its testing phase. The apocalypse is not yet upon us. Currently, the content that appears on your feed is sequential, meaning that images and video appear in the order that they are posted. Although this seems like a fair way of displaying the content on your feed, it’s not always the most practical. Think of all the times you’ve scrolled past images and videos without pausing, until finally finding something that caught your eye and caused you to stop. Sure, you’ve chosen to follow all those users whose content you scrolled past. Friends, family, and brands provide a steady stream of “stuff” on your feed. But you’re into BMX and skateboarding… or kittens… or cigars. This type of content inspires you, and you like it… literally – you double tap it every time. You post your own content around these topics. This says something about you, the user. You like kittens. I know you like kittens because you literally like pictures of kittens, you obviously have a kitten because you’re always posting pics and videos of that black kitten, and you follow cat food brands because you love all those cute and funny cat clips they post. Wouldn’t it make sense to see the kitten posts, or the cigar posts, or the BMX & skateboarding posts on your feed first since that’s the content you enjoy? That steady stream of “stuff” your friends, family, and those other brands you follow will still be there, but you’ll have to get past the stuff you like to get to it. That’s what the algorithm does… it prioritizes the images and videos on your feed so that the content you are interested in appears at the top – and it has scared everyone into putting crazy arrows all over their images.

What are the arrows for?

Users and brands have turned to these arrows as a primitive, yet effective way of drawing attention to the area in the top right corner of the interface that contains the settings buttons. This is where users can turn on post notifications. You see, their plan is to get you, the user, to click on this button so that every time this user or brand uploads an image or video to Instagram, you get a notification on your phone. This is their way around the algorithm. They don’t need to be at the top of your feed because they will notify you every time they upload a pice of content. Sounds BRILLIANT! Except for one thing… I don’t know about you, but between my text messages, 3 email accounts, phone calls, alarms, get up and walk reminders, and weather updates, I get more than enough notifications on my phone. In fact, the last thing I want is another reason for my phone to buzz, beep, or hiss. What are they thinking?!?!

So what does the Instagram Algorithm Apocalypse REALLY Mean for Brands and content creators?

If you aren’t getting likes and comments on your content, and are worried that your audience isn’t going to see your images and video, it means you should probably stop what you’re doing and reevaluate your communication strategy. Your audience, the sole reason you are creating content on Instagram, isn’t relating with your content, and that’s a serious problem. Instead of trying to force your images and videos onto your audience, stop and ask yourself: “why isn’t my audience liking my pics?” There could be a variety of reasons why your content isn’t resonating. Perhaps it’s too self-serving? Maybe the creative isn’t right for the audience? Is the tone of the copy appropriate…Are the hashtags?

Brands and users looking to build a following on Instagram (on all platforms, really, but let’s stay focused) need to focus on developing content designed for their specific audience ON THIS SPECIFIC PLATFORM. It doesn’t mean that you can’t market to them – it means that you shouldn’t JUST market to them.

How do you think digital marketers and content creators should address the impending Instagram algorithm apocalypse? Should they resort to arrows, or is the content itself the key?

This article was published originally published on LinkedIn:

Are traditional websites an endangered species?

Social ecosystem2

There is no doubt that social media has changed the way we engage with content online. People are turning to social channels for more than “social” engagement; they are turning to social for news, current events, and product information and sentiment. In an effort to meet both current and potential customers in their preferred social platform, brands and publishers are responding to this trend by providing native content that is channel appropriate, and mobile optimized.

As digital marketers, should we begin to consider a world where the traditional website, largely considered the proverbial home base for a brand’s content, takes a back seat to an ecosystem of social channels that deliver contextually appropriate content in their customers’ preferred formats and channels?

It’s already happening. Obsessee.com is delivering fashion and culture content to teens solely through their social channels. Similarly, NowThisNews.com is providing news to its audience natively through a variety of social channels. In both cases, their “homepages,” should you make your way there, are simply landing pages with links to their social channels.

This approach is interesting for multiple reasons. By placing their content on social media, brands and publishers can:

  • target their audiences and provide them with native content that is contextually appropriate
  • simplify the user experience by doing away with the click-through, which on mobile, can result in slow load times and engagement drop-off
  • side-step ad blockers. No need for display advertising since the content itself will be served

As I create my first native post on LinkedIn, I ask myself: Are traditional websites an endangered species, destined to become portals for true audience engagement? What are your thoughts?

This post was originally posted on my LinkedIn profile: