Opinion

A well-placed, topical and witty post can change the world, or win an election

With 91% of millennials using newsfeeds as their primary source of information, Aaron Brooks reckons it's time we put to bed the belief that social posts are disposable and their content less valuable.


Aaron Brooks - VampAs we all know, patterns and habits when it comes to digesting information and content have changed drastically since the internet became our primary source of information.

Rather than gorging heartily on information at certain times of the day, we now graze constantly, with our social media news feeds being the primary source of nourishment.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, these platforms are informing our decisions, tastes and opinions via bite-sized, snackable content tailored to our shifting modes of consuming information.

Facebook reaction emojiThe most successful practitioners recognise this, adapt their posts accordingly and are now positioned to reap the benefits of a rapidly changing world of information.

This seismic shift in the way we gather and process information has its share of detractors who point to the sheer quantity and brevity of posts as evidence of information overload – arguing that much of the content released is discarded as quickly as it is processed – that it is disposable.

Disposable implies that the content is ephemeral, of low value and that its impact on the user is fleeting at best but such criticism ignores how these channels are instrumentalised by content producers and users.

Responsible and successful social influencers know that their posts should be personal, creative, lasting, and easily searchable via #hashtags, and therefore must be used to create a credible narrative about the poster.

sjanaleise instagram picThey also recognise that the dominance of the news feed means that the opportunity to catch the readers’ attention, is limited to a matter of seconds and that their message must be communicated within a single, simple eye-catching image, pitchy sentence or video.

These influencers want to take advantage of the fact that their posts can transcend the original platform and shared to potentially millions of others instantly with the click of a mouse or a tap on the phone’s screen. They become a crucial part of the story rather than simply reporting on it.

This is becoming increasingly common. We’ve all seen our news feeds light up with #nofilter as Sydney puts on an especially beautiful sunset and have seen these photos end on mainstream news sites (attributed to the creator).instagram sydney sunset
And who else feels that the Instagram meme battle will actually influence the way people vote in the approaching US and Australian elections?

With a recent survey by Sharethrough revealing that 91% of millennials use newsfeeds as their primary source of information, I don’t know how you could deny it.

Simply put, a well-placed, topical and witty post can perfectly encapsulate a moment and provide laughs, as well as sparking debate and inspiring potentially millions of people.

In a world where information is becoming snack=sized, who better to take your brand to new, mass audiences than the savvy influencers who truly understand their platform and community?

As mentioned before, I suspect the notion that posts are disposable and instantly forgettable deters brands from getting involved – that the sheer number of tweets, posts and mentions, combined with their relative brevity, make things too messy for consumers to navigate and for content to have an impact.

social media - like share follow illoAnd it is certainly a mess at first glance! For the generations of people who haven’t grown up with social media, this new form of media looks shallow and forgettable and, in isolation, posts can appear that way.

But when seen as part of an ongoing narrative and dialogue with their audience, each post carries a weight and purpose as social influencers are instantly accountable for their content in ways that traditional media content creators never were.

If an influencer misses the mark with a post, they risk being ignored but more likely, they’ll be bombarded with criticism immediately (and we’ve all seen these twitter beefs make headlines in traditional media).

The stakes are high and it can be a volatile place – the content is anything but disposable – but it’s one that brands can’t ignore if they want to speak to an audience that likes information to be timely, credible and concise.

betty white superbowl tweet viralWhether it is a beautifully created Instagram post, a meme or a 140 character Tweet, they could have the impact of a Super Bowl television commercial with the added benefit of immediately having the potential to go viral.

Brands can’t ignore this growing pool of influential and savvy talent any longer, as they are a cost effective and efficient way to create quality content around the brand or its product.

If they aren’t already, it’s time they became a serious consideration when planning for campaigns.

Aaron Brooks is the executive director and co-founder of Visual Amplifiers (VAMP)

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