Social Media Has a New Paperboy in the Neighborhood; Benefits SMB Branding and Content Marketing Strategies
Last week, one day before celebrating 10 years of existence, Facebook announced the release of the Paper app, a news reader that allows readers to explore and share stories from friends and followers in a format mimicking an online newspaper.
Users will have access to links shared by connections and major publications combined with a set of new tools with which to post their own stories. Many industry experts are calling it a rival for Flipboard, another app that makes it easy to find and read news and other stories.
Users who download Paper will be able to flip between stories, select favorite trending topics and headlines, brands and other pieces of information while interacting in real-time, like the on-site version of Facebook.
Designed by Mike Matas, who also designed interfaces and artwork for Apple and the Nest Learning Thermostat, Paper features a new and refreshing change from Facebook’s current mobile app: a full-screen design. Paper is currently available for free in the iTunes App Store for users in the US.
The Change Has Started
What does Paper mean for the direction of social media? Is it moving in a new direction? Should brands be aware of these changes? The answer is a loud and resounding “yes.” People are interacting online in new ways like never before, which means that the time to adapt is now.
Users use social networks for a variety of reasons: to interact with friends, to share or promote their own stories, to keep track of world events, or to find others with shared interests. As such, business offerings must vary accordingly. All-encompassing products may officially be things of the past. Think about the way your brand interacts with your target customers, but first think about who those customers are.
Is your product or service so specific that it only appeals to a narrow demographic? If so, your approach can be traditional, direct and simple. If not, however, it may be time to adjust to the social media atmosphere. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Think about the content you create. Do different pieces address different market segments? Consider segmenting your email marketing lists to be sure the content that reaches a specific individual is meant for them.
If content seems irrelevant, it is likely to be ignored. This can become a pattern leading to emails being trashed without ever having had a chance. Look at your existing customer lists and think about how to separate them sp your content can work for your brand instead of against it.
Modify Your Site
Is your site a one-size-fits-all endeavor? Once again, if your target market varies in interest and demographic information, this may not be the most effective.
To modify your site to fit the interests of specific visitors, make directional options clear. Create links that direct various users to different parts of the site. If a visitor is interested in soccer apparel, and you’re a general sports retailer, create a “soccer” version of the site. If you’re a law firm specializing in various areas of law, set up a landing page for personal injury that differs from the family law page.
A few small modifications can go a long way to interacting with each visitor in a manner that is as personal, and therefore effective, as possible.
Think about each future marketing or branding effort through the eyes of the developers of Paper. What is your audience looking for? Do they all interact with your brand in the same way? If not, how can you reach out to a mass audience in a way that bridges any gaps and forges connections? Facebook is making strides to do so; your company should follow suite to keep with the trend.