2011 will be the year of videos, podcasts and creative content online

It’s funny how quickly we slip into bad habits.

Three years ago, armed with our company Facebook and Twitter pages, we made impassioned promises and predictions that this was the best way to talk to each other. This would replace the direct mail, the lazy splattergun approach of sending every scrap of information to every single person on your database, no matter who they were or where they lived – or what they were into. Old habits would be broken and these new platforms would change the way we communicated.

So we lauded our Social Media expertise. We talked to our audience and hey, they talked back. We tweeted, we blogged, we tumblred, we Google Waved (very briefly) and we looked excitedly into a new dawn.

And then what did we do?

Well, we fell back into old ways. We sent the same message to everyone in our Facebook group telling them about our screening/exhibition/product launch/opening no matter how often they linked on our site, or posted on our wall.

We tweeted, but we tweeted constant sales messages with no rhyme or reason to the reader. We linked our Twitter feed to our CMS systems and low and behold once again our customers were inundated with a stream of marketing messages that made it difficult for them to decipher what they wanted from you.

And what did the customers do? Well they unfollowed or they ignored. And it’s not hard to understand why. It is irritating enough to have junk mail come through your door, but at least you can recycle it. Usually, the takeaways that post through your letter box are brands you don’t care about anyway.

Yet when you’ve invested in a brand, you’ve signed up to receive their news, you’ve liked them or you’re tracking their progress on Foursquare you like to think these brands get you. You’re not an extension of them, they’re an extension of you. So actually, when you’re bombarding your fans with a constant stream of consciousness, you might actually be doing much more damage than you think.

So what to do?

Well this is my 2011 prediction. Content will be king once again this year.

Audiences are more savvy on Social Media than they ever have been before. It’s no longer on the fringes but well out in the open. Once Question Time starts promoting its own hashtag on Twitter, and generates real debate each week online, you know this is no longer something just for PRs and journalists.

Interaction will be the keyword for this year. Get people talking, switch your comments section back on and listen to what your audience is saying.

Provide them with real content, not just blogs but video, podcasts, animation – created by us and by our audience – will drive how people interact with brands this year.

It’ll provide colour creativity and all importantly start discussion.

It’s worth making time for.

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