Evolution of the Community Manager as we know it:
The profile of a community manager will evolve. Ad agencies have traditionally structured their community management teams to focus on moderating the conversation and addressing emergency situations. We expect the responsibilities to shift client side to alleviate the stresses of a ‘middle man’ in the time sensitive environment of social, where their teams will have immediate access to appropriate resources.
The true power and value of a social team is the creation of consumable strategic content. The social team structure will be founded on four core pillars – Content Creation, Content Strategy, Content Analysis and Content Amplification – a model truly founded in the need to be seen. These pillars will deepen the connection with the consumer, triggering a stronger client confidence in content, and enabling our team to think bigger. We have begun to make internal adjustments to suit our updated positioning through the promotion of two truly deserving Social Content Strategists who have never shied from pushing the boundaries of creativity: Owen Garscadden, Director, Connections Strategy and Patrick Tomasso, Associate Director, Creative Content.
At Grip, we relate this back to a 4 leaf clover analogy where each pillar presents a leaf that empowers us with the ability to ‘manufacture luck’ – this is the notion that luck doesn’t exist, it’s simply opportunity meets preparation.
Is “buying in social” really about buying reach?
Social media buying will shift from the media company to the agency. The power of social buying may be better utilized if it is in the hands of the social content strategist for social amplification. A question to pose to the industry is whether or not our current processes are structured properly to support this real time bidding, constant optimization and socially prominent forms of content amplification. Algorithms can get us so far, but in the same way social requires a human interaction, social amplification demands the attention of a specialist. Social strategists will need to know this skill set to ensure they’re employable in the very near future. Social amplification will not become a revenue generator for agencies, but is rather a confirmation of content consumption.
The Sleeping Giant Awakes!
Google+… If I had one social community to hang my hat on (for brand building) in the next 12 months, it would be Google+. Their platform integration into everything they do makes it an absolute powerhouse. From Google’s algorithm instantly indexing Google+ content, giving it greater value within search results, to the importance of it influencing SEO/SCO strategies, and +Brand pages showing up in the significant right-hand column real estate, Google+ will easily win the ROI value comparison. Google’s recent introduction of “+Post ads” is a brilliant depiction of the next web and the evolution of how we communicate as advertisers. Our content strategies are more than just “posts” when they can be amplified around the web. When you think of the network Google has available to promote your richest content, simply putting ad dollars to promote within Facebook or Twitter seems too limiting. With Google, your content now has an opportunity to gain contextual relevance within a user’s web behaviour. Imagine Honda Canada posts a question to its loyal customers, asking, “What’s your favourite Honda – tell us why?”, then promoting this post within an Auto website to potential car purchasers. That’s when social content delivers true utility – while influencing consideration and, ideally, purchase intent. This simple approach also keeps the community un-cluttered with brand messaging that algorithmically doesn’t deserve to be shown to you. That’s huge.
What does content look like in 2014?
Another significant change to what “social content” is was highlighted with Google’s recent algorithm update, Hummingbird (great article). A significant shift to conversational search results from keyword search results is now affecting 90% of all searches. This notion that your web content’s keyword strategies no longer take precedence in the same way they once did changes the game. Google has placed significant value on content relevance (are you providing utility?) and authority (being recognized by your peers) within its search results. In true evolution, they are recognizing that social doesn’t need to stay on platforms, it is now contextually relevant to web browsing “wants”. You can say that Google is essentially humanizing itself. This isn’t a new thought by any means – content is exactly what it has always been. People still need value and utility from content and there needs to be an idea behind it, however the importance of what content is has grown immensely. The role of social has evolved. It is no longer about your content living within its given platform, but rather how it can support a search result or simply live on the web. How can my content be considered relevant when someone is contextually in the realm of considering my category/product/service (ZMOT)? To think that Google is now indexing TripAdvisor and Yelp as “social content” suggests a significant shift into how our brands need to think when producing “social content”.