Happy Social Media Day! We wanted to pick the brain of the man behind the brands and influencers, our resident social butterfly… director of our digital division and Dulcedo partner, Benjamin Carter. Ben began his career in the infancy of the Influencer space, over a decade ago. As an early adopter of the influencer marketing model, Ben cultivated a reputation as one of the pioneers of the Influencer industry, specifically within Canada. He has worked on some of the largest influencer campaigns in the country and has represented some of the best-known names and faces within the field.
So who better to talk to about the ins and outs of social and the evolution that's taken place in the last decade?
What do you feel is the biggest misconception about working in social media marketing?
THAT IT IS EASY! Whether it's planning, content creation, community management or growth-- social media is a tough game. It is constantly evolving and no matter how experienced you think you are, there is always something to learn. Keeping up with this is tough and I think that is the biggest challenge to explain to people thinking that working in social media is easy!
What do you think is the biggest challenge that comes with trying to gain exposure on social media for your talents and clients?
Building up reach, having an engaged community/audience and keeping up with an ever changing content landscape. Over the last few years the industry has moved from a vanity approach of huge numbers to a more content performance driven approach. Big numbers are great but if you can't back them up through solid content performance then it's pointless. Keeping up with an ever changing content landscape is also crucial. We live in an age of short attention spans so that is why we are seeing more and more short form video (maximum of 60 seconds) and TikTok has been the catalyst for that. If you are not producing content that is in line with the landscape then you can bet that your competitors and/or other talents are.
What strategies do you feel are the most effective in terms of social media marketing today? And what strategies do you feel are no longer working? Are there any that have consistently worked throughout your years working in digital marketing?
What doesn't work is that picture perfect, hyper edited, inapproachable image. If you look at the evolution of social, we have gone from majority text based (i.e. bloggers) to short form video (with an average video length of 15 seconds) over a span of eight years. Any channel that is not incorporating short form video is shooting itself in the foot. In terms of most effective? Educational content is key. People want to have a take away from social that they can share or use offline. If you are providing your audience with value through educational content, this is a huge plus!
What do you love about social media? What do you dislike?
I love the fast paced nature of it. The evolution of social has been crazy and the next years are looking to be moving at the same pace or even quicker in terms of evolution. Keeping up with it is a challenge but I always want to test myself by being on top of content trends, tips and tricks, and new features. What I dislike is the toll it can take on people's mental health. I think this is an important aspect that is far too easily brushed under the rug. There is always a real person receiving a negative comment that is written and and a real person receiving a negative DM that is sent. It's all being read by a human being. In my opinion, there is not enough support out there-- from the top down starting with the platforms themselves.
What is the major difference in marketing a brand through social media versus an individual talent?
Relatability and authenticity. Brands usually are far too editorial in their content. People want relatable content that they feel is authentic, which triggers them to engage.
What is one major key to gaining exposure through each of the following channels? Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch.
Instagram - Short form videos through Instagram Stories and Reels TikTok - Community engagement through giving your audience what they want to see in terms of content (reading through the comments can be a GOLD MINE for this) YouTube - Short form videos through Shorts Twitch - Community engagement through streaming and then using that content to be multichannel-- allowing your followers on other channels to engage with your live content.
What advice do you have for someone looking to enter into a well established influencer space? How can they cut through the clutter and make an impact?
Hard work. At the end of the day, it is all about consistency. Like anything in life, consistency is key to building any relationship and that is the name of the game. Build a relationship with your audience through authentic content. Posting regularly, giving the audience value and being multichannel along with keeping up with content landscape should place you in good stead.