Dan Holden's Blog

Screenwriting, Film-Making and Web TV

How Entertainment, Advertising and Marketing can Learn from Social

Image: Jane E. Schneider

Image: Jane E. Schneider

Three of the biggest channels for content in the world are entertainment, advertising and marketing. And they can all learn something from social media.

Entertainment, of course, means everything from Hollywood blockbusters to Indies, the music industry, television, radio, and Internet sites such as Hulu and Netflix.

Advertising is all the content that is directed toward selling ideas and things to people.

Marketing is that big nebulous category wherein communicators figure out how to reach audiences and engage with them to create lasting and profitable relationships.

Every major company has a marketing arm and most of the smaller ones have figured out that some amount of sales activity has to involve outreach…which is marketing. Some have advertising agencies. The major entertainment companies tend to have both, while Indies often rely on funding campaigns such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to get the word out about their efforts.

Social can teach all of these channels a thing or two because social is even bigger.

Social is about all the sites that have emerged to help everyday people around the world connect with each other in meaningful ways. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, Baidu, Yahoo, WordPress, Tumblr, and many others have emerged as platforms for connecting with others who have common interests.

And in that, there is a nugget of gold.

Because traditionally – and that means for a hell of a long time – marketers and entertainers have sliced and diced their efforts to reach audiences as a function of longstanding – e.g. very old – business categories.

Social is about self-created markets.

That’s right. We’re talking about throwing away the books and watching how people self-assemble into their own social categories.

It’s as if the animal kingdom suddenly and profoundly realigned not just in terms of gazelles, elephants and tigers, but into entirely new, self-defined groups such as shade dwellers, water hole gatherers, sunbathers and meat eaters.

The world is reconnecting not around demographics, but interests.

And this is powerful, because it means crossing generational social and geographic boundaries.

People who would have never had any reason to meet in the past are now finding each other based on common passions.

It’s not about demographics. It’s about, well, emographics, for lack of a better word.

So how do you find these new interests? It’s easy.

Just listen.

What are people talking about?

The meme makers and photo sharers have a pretty good sense of this, because finding your passion is mostly intuitive.

Envision a few memes and widely circulated photos and videos that you have seen lately. I am sure several will pop into your mind very quickly, and they should, because on platforms such as Facebook they are already being served to you based on your known interests.

For example I can recall photos of tantalizing foods and fabulous vacation spots;  videos of crazy extreme stunts;  and memes about gun control, whacky GOP politics and sustainable energy projects.

At this point you are probably saying, “Oh geez, you want me to create memes? Really?”

But the answer is no. You don’t need to do that, although you certainly could, and to great effect.

The point that I am making is simpler than that.

Fundamentally, I am asking you to abandon your old ideas about reaching audiences. Just drop them.

Now, reset your concept of audience to appeal to what people are passionate about.

If you want to grow an audience – and I know everybody does – you’ve got to learn to connect with people in ways that mean something to them.

Because people are not categories.

They are sentient beings capable of making sense of the world in ways that matter to them, and others like them.

When you get that – really GET IT –  then you will have the magic.

 

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2014 by in Finance, Marketing, Stuff I have learned.
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