Social Media Demystified

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to social. With so many channels, and constant changes, it can be challenging to plan and then implement a successful social campaign. The site aims to give advice, suggest good practices and in general, help you ‘do’ social well.

We’re still populating the blog below with useful content, so in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

A Brief History of Storytelling

Storytelling is essentially the conveying of events in words, sounds and/or images, often by improvisation or embellishment. It’s the passing on of information, albeit in a more florid way and it’s an intrinsic part of human culture and human nature to share ideas, learnings and stories, but has the way in which we tell stories changed much over the past 200,000 years?

Oral Tradition

One of the most ancient art-forms, oral storytelling has a long and honourable history. Stories were passed on by word of mouth, taking many forms including songs, poetry, chants, dance, theatrical displays and so on. We have an obsession with narrative, and this is a characteristic in every culture. Epics such as the Odyssey, Beowulf, and indeed most of the Bible were passed along orally at first.

The Odyssey - Oral Storytelling

Written Form

Writing seems to have been invented in two separate places, Mesopotamia around 3200 BC and Mesoamerica around 600 BC. It allowed for stories to be recorded and collated, probably preventing what we could call ‘Chinese whispers’. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, storytellers would roam the countryside, collecting the stories of the people. We see this in the works of The Brothers Grimm. Our passion for narrative remained true.first wriring

With the invention of the printing press around 1440, stories could now not only be recorded, but circulated more easily, without the storyteller being present. This allowed rapid socio-cultural development. By 1500, printing presses in Western Europe had already produced twenty million books.

Digital Age

At this point, storytelling belonged to writers and collectors. The stories remained stories about other people, either fictional or newsworthy, but nevertheless, for the layman, the realm of the narrative belonged to someone else.

The digital revolution began in the late 1950s, and fundamentally change society with the development of the personal computer. The key thing about the proliferation of personal computers is that it created connections, and just like the roaming storytellers, information (stories) could now be shared with more people.

Community Engagement

And so began social media. Yes, as far back as the 80s, there was social media. It started with the Bulletin Board System which were online meeting places that allowed users to communicate, download files and games and post messages to other users. CompuServe also allowed members to share files and access news and events, and send e-mail, a technology that was new for the masses.

Bulletin Board System

As the internet has evolved, with AOL, Yahoo, Amazon and Google, so too did methods of storytelling. Now almost anyone, anywhere could create a story to share online. Evolution continued, and connection methods and platforms increased, from Classroom.com to the annoying SixDegrees.com and onto MySpace, Bebo and Facebook.

With the proliferation of channels you get the proliferation of stories. Twitter lets you broadcast every thought, Instagram every meal, and Facebook… everything… and the stories grow.

Conclusion

But what does this mean? This clutter of stories and information? It means that real stories can get lost. That epics are no longer of interest, and visuals need to be intrinsically looped into your story to grab any attention. It seems like we’ve come a full loop. Social media is essentially oral tradition mixed with some cave painting. Is that a bad thing? No, but we just need to remember that at our core, we still need a good narrative.

Optional - Marketing storytelling quote

Digital Adspend Trends

Try saying that fast.

Here are some key stats from the incredibly useful H1 2015 PwC Online Adspend Study.

    • Digital Adspend grows by 25% in the first half of 2015 to a landmark high of €162m
    • Irish Mobile Adspend now represents €2 in every €5 of total digital adspend
    • Social Media spend was €22m in H1, an increase of 107% over H1 2014
    • Native Advertising cross platform is at €16m, which is 27% of the total digital display spend for H1 2015

You can read more and peruse the handy infograph here.

But what does all this mean? Quite simply, digital is continuing to grow. Some may have anticipated a plateau, but that is absolutely not the case. Digital is a vital part of every marketers strategy. 47% of marketers said they would devote 20% of their budget to digital.

Scared of the change? You don’t need to be. Growth means opportunity, so if, unlike these blokes below, you are not averse to change, you could find that the next bronze. (Watch the video. It’s ‘zeitgeisty’)

Stone Age to Bronze Age

Change can be hard to deal with, and no industry undergoes more rapid change than the digital one.

Saw this little video and thought it clearly shows the reluctance to change.

So if you are facing change, or are concerned about making the jump to digital, get in touch, I can help!

What KPIs do I need?

Once you have established the objectives of your campaign, you need to firm up those KPIs. I’ve touched on this already, but you can never have enough checklists. Hopefully this short list helps you determine how best to measure the outcome of your campaign.
As always, feel free to comment below if you have more to add! The ones I have suggested below are ones you can easily access through the social platforms below, rather than ones you may need a tool to analyse.

Metrics

Reach/Impressions
Likes/Favourites 
Shares/Retweets
Clicks/CTAs
Comments/Replies
Growth of likes of page
Growth of engagement of page (this one is really key!)
Social Mentions

In reality, you can use a whole range of combinations above. And then some. Set your objective, THEN work out how to measure. That way you’ll keep your eye on the goal.