Now we have entered 2018, I thought, instead of embarking on yet another blog containing predictions for the forthcoming year, it might be more interesting to share a lesson from the previous 12 months. A big thank you to Jane Trill for being kind enough to let me tell her story.
Jane runs a growing online fashion design business. A year ago she had five employees, in 2017 she took on another 2 and in 2018 she hopes to employee at least three more people. Two of which will be going into her marketing team.
A couple of years ago, I met Jane at a networking event in the City. She explained to me that she had built her business on networking but she was beginning to find it tiresome as it wasn’t scalable. Jane had accomplished many things in her career but the ability to be in more than one place at a time was still evading her.
Jane & I went for coffee a few weeks later because she wanted to pick my brains about video marketing. Like many business owners I speak to, Jane had heard the hype around video but her previous attempts hadn’t gleaned the results she was hoping for.
The first thing I wanted to clarify was her expectations. What was it that ‘everyone else’ was supposedly achieving that she wasn’t? As it turns out, a few friends of hers had utilised video within their marketing and had seen success growing their database. For Jane, she was lucky if she even got views, despite paying for engagment.
As it tuns out, Jane was victim of a two things; changes in the way social platforms prioritise content and crucially, the content she was making wasn’t really fit for purpose.
1) Changes In Social Platforms
Organic reach has been undergoing a slow and painful death. According to a study from EdgeRank checker ‘between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%.’ What does this equate to in real terms. Well if your page had 100 fans, then in 2012, 16 of them would have seen your post in their feed. In 2014, that was as low as between 6 & 7.
In many ways, the decline of organic reach has been borne out of necessity. If you look at the average Facebook feed these days, it is an incredibly busy place. There are simply too many Pages, producing too much content for too many fans. What that means in a nutshell is, competition for visibility within the News Feed is incredibly high.
If the writing wasn’t on the wall for organic reach by 2014, things took a turn for a worst in October last year when Facebook introduced the Explore tab. In doing so, they subsequently moved a lot the organic content into this view freeing up the main News Feed to be exploited by paid content.
It was Jane’s understanding, that Facebook prioritises posts which include video. This is only the case when the videos are published natively to Facebook. Jane was publishing her videos to YouTube and then sharing the links onto her company page on Facebook. A common mistake we see regularly. As soon as we published these videos natively, a combination of video on the platform and some tweaks to her paid targeting engagement quickly increased.
2) Content Type
Producing fashion lines for both younger and older women, from the outset it was obvious that Jane had more than one audience. Using one film to speak to both of them was unlikely to succeed. We have a principle at Element 26 of 1:1:1, which essentially represents one film, for one audience with one message. Adopting this policy has been a great way to make sure our videos stay focused.
Whenever I am asked to take part in speaking engagement, I invariably ask the audience how successful they have been with video marketing. The response is often a mixed bag and a lot if it comes down to a misunderstanding around the role video can play on the web. I have come to the conclusion that video has an identity crisis because almost everyone I speak to, presumes that video is purely for advertising purposes; aka top of the funnel. In reality, there is a versatility in video which should be embraced from everything from advertising to sales enablement.
Jane’s goal was to turn more of her customers into advocates but she didn’t have the budget to create videos out of all of her lines. What we proposed was a mixture of branded content (telling stories about how the fabrics are ethically sourced to the relevance to the community) and also user generated video. Thankfully Jane already had a number of passionate fans who were easily motivated to make their own films. Your possibly thinking that this sounds expensive when in fact it was highly cost-effective. To begin with, to test the waters, we repurposed the footage she already had; changing the messaging depending on the audience. It was only when this was proven to be effective that we created any new videos.
3) What is Jane going to do 2018?
The content plan has evolved somewhat now that Jane’s database is up and running. We have a monthly plan dedicated to creating content that is focused on nurturing her database and converting those prospects sending us a hand-raiser. Jane isn’t completely free of networking but she does have one more evening free to spend with her young family.
So, rather than publishing predictions for the year ahead, I thought it would be more helpful to focus on the timeless principles of marketing. Tell a meaningful story and you will form an emotional bond.
If you’re interested in learning about the story types which are proven to connect with audiences we have produced another blog on the seven basic story types. They’re all top of the funnel and designed to move your audience emotionally. You can find the blog on this link here.
If you’re interested in taking video marketing more seriously in 2018, let’s grab a coffee or maybe some lunch? If you’re not in London or would prefer to have a quick chat then there is always Skype. All the best for 2018.