There are genuine markets for all our current social broadcast ephemera but brands and audiences alike have little idea what experience and depth sits behind these. Do they care? Should they care?
In a world where anyone can jump on a live stream, become an overnight YouTube sensation or deliver an Instagram account to rival the exploits of Ernest Hemingway, how do we make sense of what we’re presented with, and what sticks?
I recently spent three days in London in the company of Chinese tech giant Huawei at their ‘Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017’, which sounds tediously dull to my regular audience. It wasn’t.
The main conference introduced the great and the good of various networks (BT, Vodafone, BELL, Viacom, Telefonica) and a collection of speakers telling us how amazing 5G is going to be. It will be, when it finally arrives, but Huawei are at least in the driving seat of the future of connectivity.
Consumers have little interest and even less belief in 5G when most of us still struggle to connect on 3 or 4G. Although we’ll be able to download every episode of Game of Thrones in less than a second with the new technology, in the real world we’d probably do this over WiFi before we left the house.
One of the greatest hurdles ahead for anyone hoping to sell the wonderful world of connectivity is to successfully tell the story of where it practically sits in our daily lives, how it invisibly weaves its magic by empowering the things we already love.
And this is where the most interesting part of the Forum kicked in – the expo. Here, Huawei were demonstrating the practical applications for 5G, such as streamed VR and AR content, connected cars, cows (yes, cows), robots, phones, watches and the world’s first full-size passenger drone – which I just managed to cram my 6 foot frame into. Next steps, test this future mobility platform in the skies where current legislation actually allows for it.
There’s a taster of the expo action in my summary video below.
The main reason I find myself spending quality time with Huawei is as a Key Option Leader (KOL) and I’ve built up enough social significance and driven public opinion through conference speaking and broadcast platforms to demonstrate relevance. My third day with Huawei was all about me, I mean us, well the future of ‘Influence’ anyway.
There weren’t any YouTube sensations or Snapchat superstars – this was about how influence will develop beyond the mere title, and how we can genuinely shape opinion rather than merely grab a bunch of likes.
I’ve seen some really poorly targeted influencer campaigns recently, including one global auto manufacturer letting a bunch of the aforementioned YouTubers/SnapChatter stars loose across Europe in their newest hero model, a car they’re never realistically going to buy – not because they couldn’t afford to (they’ve either made enough from their Instagram posts or rich parents to grab anything they want) but because the car was clearly aimed at an entirely different demographic.
I’m sure they delivered thousands of likes and views for the brand – but not from anyone that would part with their cash. The Social/Marketing team probably thought they had a massive success on their hands though as the initial results would seem positive. Let’s see how many cars they shift as a direct result…
So, what’s the future of Influence? Well, most agreed that the type of platforms will be similar – even if new concepts appear, they’ll be accessed on different devices but text, image and video will still be relevant, with voice becoming increasingly popular, especially with the adoption of more AI-driven content and interaction.
There was a general consensus of opinion that ‘likes’ wouldn’t be relevant in the future, but I disagree with this as it’s usually something said by people that don’t receive enough likes. Many people use a like as a way of bookmarking or personally expressing agreement. So unless we all plan to remember everything or agree with nothing, the ability to like is not going away in a hurry.
Also, seeking out your audience will become increasingly important as broadcast continues to increase, you can’t expect everyone to find you.
The best quote of the day came from Tamara McCleary “Relevance is the intersection between your opinion and theirs” – make yourself relevant but not by simply posting exactly what you think your audience wants to hear, as that adds little or no personality.
Here's my personal approach to social content that genuinely influences:
- Have an opinion – even if it causes controversy by conflicting with your audience because that generates conversation
- Make something – don’t just repost everybody else’s content or you become a researcher rather than an individual
- If you want to become an opinion leader, then lead by example rather than generate white noise in the continual pursuit of likes
- Don’t be afraid to hi-jack a conversation – play the hashtag game and tag your posts to amplify yourself by having the right opinion at the right time
- Remember, you've had no influence if everything remains the same
I’ve put the above into practice over the past couple of weeks, so here are a few examples. These links are to Tweets but I also posted supporting tailored content across Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn where relevant:
Lamborghini (I helped the Italian supercar brand to trend globally by Tweeting the launch of their latest concept car revealed at MIT).
Hattie meets Google meets John Lewis meets Moz (Google sent Hattie the cuddly Moz toy featured in their Christmas commercial. They also included the accompanying book which interacts with Google Home and Google Home Mini. My video of Hattie was then picked up by John Lewis, Google and the publisher, Nosy Crow).
CUBED (I filmed a promo video for my Keynote at CUBE Tech Fair in Berlin next year. Promoted by the event).
Go forth and Adfluence!