Creative Brief: Do Social Media Right in 2020
Objective: Inspire content creators to be more intentional; improve the social media experience for consumers.
Background Info: The average person spends more than two hours using social media each day.
While sitting in a recent class, I noticed a woman in front of me using her phone. She opened Snapchat, responded to five stories, and then checked her own story four times. Next, she switched to Facebook, then to Instagram, and finally, back to Snapchat. She did all of this in about five minutes. None of the individual posts could keep her attention for more than a few seconds. It looked as if she were completing a checklist of tasks; keeping up her online life — while her actual life remained unaffected. I can relate to this feeling and I believe that many others can as well.
A study in March 2019 recorded 2.1 million Snapchats created and 4.5 million YouTube videos watched within one minute. A single minute. A high quantity of low-quality content is making social media more of a burden than a pleasure. As content creators, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and create better content that affects social media users’ real lives — not just their online lives. It’s up to us to make social media fulfilling in 2020.
Current Perceptions: Social media consumers know what they want, but it’s not always easy to find.
The social media pages that earn the most engagement are the ones that users can count on for quality, focused content — consistently. Users don’t have to sift through tons of posts to find something of substance. Users know to expect certain content from certain pages. For instance, the Instagram accounts with the most followers are Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Ariana Grande’s, with over 160 million followers each. The most-followed account for a brand or organization is National Geographic. These pages are popular because they give viewers the content that they’re looking for.
Problem: Empty content is clogging up viewers’ newsfeeds — and their minds.
There is a lack of substance in social posts, which keeps people scrolling. Many content producers make content before stopping to put themselves in their viewers’ shoes. This is a moral problem and a business problem. When social users are only active online instead of in real life, they are viewing, liking, and sharing instead of buying, experiencing, and thinking.
Single Most Compelling Idea: High-quality, substance-filled content is better for users than a high quantity of empty content.
Objective: To create compelling social media posts that inspire users after they log off.
This could mean that users are discovering something important, learning something new, or just gaining a new perspective. For instance, which classes do you still remember from school? They were probably not the classes with teachers who lectured the whole time. They were the classes with teachers who created conversation. The same metric can be applied to content producers on social media. The key to creating real-life experiences on social media is to create conversation or to make someone think.
Target Audience: Everyone, worldwide.
While people all over the globe are using social media, it’s actually really important to know who you are talking to — and you know your target audience better than we do. Imagine what a typical newsfeed for those people looks like. Which other pages are they following, and what are they seeking when they log on? It could be anything from entertainment to knowledge. If you know this, you can create posts that help them walk away from social media feeling satisfied.
Budget: The amount of your brand’s time and money that it takes to make your audience act, think, or converse.
It may be cheap and quick (sharing existing or third-party content, for example) or it may be more resource-intensive (like creating original content). Either way, time and money are not guaranteed to make a post more effective.
Deliverable(s): Intentional content.
Do not go along with what everyone is doing. There is nothing that you “have to do” on social media just because everyone else is doing it. For instance, typical Instagram posts have short captions and a lot of hashtags. Instead of following this trend, many people have started writing long captions worth reading with a few accurate hashtags — or none at all. These people were focused on creating content that actually benefited people’s physical lives instead of just their online lives, and bucking the status quo hasn't hurt their engagement.
A recent Redbull Instagram post that featured a skateboarder riding through the woods triggered my imagination. I watched the clip three times. I thought to myself, “How is skateboarding, which is traditionally done in urban areas, possible in the woods?” Ultimately, it made me want to do something similar — or, at the very least, show a friend. Next time, when I’m at the mini-mart, I’ll identify Redbull as an authentic, innovative product because of the company’s thoughtful social media content.
Opportunity: Mold the social media landscape.
It’s important not to give up on using social media because of its challenges. We can’t forget that it has allowed people and brands to be heard, solved problems, and united the world like never before. Social media sites are actually the result of prototyping: features appear, evolve, and disappear because of the ways in which people use them. So, if content producers change the way they post, it will change the viewers’ experience, which could even change the way the platforms are designed. You have the power to make social media more beneficial for both viewers and content creators in 2020.
— Jackson Houdek