I wrote an article in May titled 'What I Wore Today: The Demise of the Fashion Blog'. The purpose of the article was to highlight the evidence suggesting a slowing interest in vacuous content, namely that of the self-promoting kind, often seen in fashion blogs focused around 'what I wore today'.
Originators of this content were ingenious at the time. It was as fresh as it was relevant. The fashion industry is often first on the scene to either create a trend or to follow one - the social media wave of 2006 was a good indicator of that. However; that was then, and this is now. The digital space is poised to enter a new wave and its focus is on quality, not quantity.
Last week I read that Facebook has decided to restrict the use of brand promoting ads in their newsfeeds from January next year. This means that marketers will no longer be able to put paid 'likes' on the pages of their content strategies under colourful metrics and eye-catching graphs - to throw in front of their employers.
They will, as was always the case before social media existed, need to spend time on creating unique, relevant and interesting content that is FOR their audience, not for themselves. Content that is created, not merely circulated.
Some companies are ahead of the pack already. Coca Cola, American Express and Red Bull have been busy creating spaces depicting the lifestyle/s we aspire to have, made open communities for their audience in a clever push to have them connect and communicate, and all under the clever guise of brand care. Research has never looked so easy.
The days of 'look at me' are over. Value will need to be created and those who have the time to eye your page need be rewarded. Marketers will need to ask: what are we doing to keep customers/readers engaged? The messaging for 2015 has been loud and clear.
Content. Content. Content.
The time for creative content is now, and companies that will succeed will mature and develop strategies that nurture good content and how it is accessed.
According to Forrester Report analyst Nate Elliott, continued dissatisfaction with Facebook and Twitter will lead more marketers to build their own communities; he even went as far as to say his 'favourite' prediction for 2015 is branded communities will make a comeback: "Invite a few hundred of your most satisfied customers into an exclusive forum, issue them word-of-mouth challenges, rank them on a leaderboard, and watch your reach multiply."
Right now, brands are devoting significant resources to growing their social fan and follower counts, which are little more than vanity metrics. Social media is merely a referral tool, directing target audiences towards valuable content that you, as a publisher, have determined they need and most importantly, want.
2015 will invariably see an increase in brand publications, where businesses control their own content and rely less on paid ads and search terms.
This is good news for everyone. Marketers and authors alike will work harder to create content of matter, and audiences won't be bombarded with meaningless content to sift through in their efforts to find what they are really looking for.