On social, content is consumed and discarded at an alarmingly fast rate on social media. Think about how long you spent looking at something you particularly liked on Instagram. Maybe you spent five seconds and then you were on to the next thing? This has some implications. First, your content has to be good enough to have someone stop and like your post or retweet your wittily crafted phrase. Second, is quantity. You have to keep making enough content to make sure you show up in the feed in the first place without boring your loyal following by re-purposing or re-posting old content. Our digital marketing team has been investigating ways in which to take full advantage of the technical limitations of their domain, social media in particular.
Last Friday marked another Untold Labs make session, a bi-monthly agency-wide gathering where we put client work aside and focus on making. Making what, exactly? Yes! The culmination of our effort spent on an afternoon make session typically results in a concept or mockup for a refined execution on a later date, a few good stories, and plan for moving forward. There’s also invaluable insight gained when collaborating with Untoldrs from other departments within the agency. It’s crucial to begin to understand a colleagues perspective and goals within their role at the agency, and learn ways in which we can collaborate to improve processes and understanding. Make sessions are a sacred time when there are few boundaries and members within the agency are free to collaborate in teams that normally wouldn’t work together on an average day at the office. Teams tend to form naturally. Our code-savvy Untoldrs gravitate towards working with one another to make something with a new framework or fancy new code library, things I admittedly know little about, and the more visual creatives, like myself, are allowed to dream big. It’s the best time to try something new, different, or weird.
Our group brainstormed strategies for creating large quantities of quality content as efficiently as possible within the the constraints of various platforms. Each platform has it’s limits. For instance, Twitter has the famous 140 character limit for tweets. This “feature” is arguably what made Twitter, Twitter. However, as with all things digital, things change. Twitter recently announced that it will be removing the 140 character limit for people (or brands) who are sending direct messages and that direct messages will be able to be sent to users outside of the network that you follow. Instagram, what once was a platform dedicated to sharing single photos, has introduced carousel ads, ideal for sharing expanded “stories” instead of single moments and Facebook will support the popular animated GIF format. These changes may seem insignificant at first, but when one considers how social platforms have completely shifted the way in which brands communicate with their fans and fans with each other, these tiny changes add up to something much bigger.
Spending time to evaluate and understand the best practices for content as platforms evolve could potentially impact content production methods. Take time to understand the environment in which your content will live as it can have a major impact on the number of hoops you will need to jump through to get your content there. Taking full advantage of each platforms limits gives us an opportunity to become more efficient when producing content for digital. If you are designing a video that will end up in a 700 x 700 pixel window, is capturing in 4K necessary? Why not try slow motion in “old-school” 720p? Heck, you’ll have a few extra pixels to spare! Perhaps you could repurpose single video frames as images for Instagram, and those stills into animated gifs for Facebook!