Our attention spans seem to be following the development path of micro-processors—smaller and faster.
The art of the long conversation, the slow contemplation of the future of the planet over a leisurely meal, and prolonged human concentration have become so rare that perhaps we don't value depth of thought and long-form communication anymore.
Dinner parties could become 15-minute events.
When YouTube started to become popular, the videos were often two to three minutes. We were happy to stop and watch for a few minutes.
Now we are demanding videos that take brevity to a new level. You can even see the trend with the Old Spice campaign. The original videos were up to 30 seconds long, but as subsequent campaigns rolled out, the videos were often as short as 15 seconds.
Too short, too superficial?
Are we becoming consumers of the short and superficial, or as we have experimented with online video and social media, have we discovered that brevity is sweet and effective?
This fad for brevity can even be seen in the increasing popularity of TED Talks, which are usually limited to 15 minutes or less.
It is all about getting your message out quickly with no repetition or redundancy before your viewer clicks away.
Here are five types of accessible content worth considering for inclusion in your social media marketing:
1. Snack-size blog posts
Writing for the Web requires several key elements:
- A good headline
- Enticing introduction
- Tempting subtitles
- Short paragraphs (two or three sentences)
Don't confront your readers with a "wall of text."
People skim and scan blog posts to glean morsels and germs of ideas that add value to their lives and business. Don't bury those valuable pieces of information in a page of "busy-ness." Less is often more, and you only have to see the rise of simple design and formats such as Pinterest to see the power of minimalism.
It doesn't mean you should ditch the long form, but it does mean breaking your text wall into bite-size chunks.
2. The infographic
Infographics present information in a quickly digestible format. Text mixed with graphics can communicate a brand message in seconds. You can use infographics in several ways:
- Make it easy for people to include them in their websites and blogs by providing an embed code;
- Embed them in your own blog posts;
- Post them to your visual sharing platforms such as Pinterest.
They have the endearing trait of being shared frequently and quickly; my "Infographics board" is one of my most popular on Pinterest.
3. The 15-second video
Viddy has captured the imagination of 40 million users, and it rides on the tails of an Instagram filtered Web world but is still waiting to break through into mainstream mass media consciousness. It does offer promise as a valuable member of the social media ecosystem.
So, how can you use Viddy for business? Denise Kitt, in an article on the Media Funnel blog, provides the following tips.
- Give viewers insider access. Make viewers feel special by showing them a glimpse behind the scenes of your brand. What is "everyday life" like for people working for your business? Give viewers a new story.
- Show action. Can you show viewers a special feat, trick, or athletic achievement? Can any of your partners or sponsors? Viddy is a great way to exhibit a spectacle.
- Make it relevant. Remember that Viddy's audience tends to be younger, so use it to reveal the youthful side of your brand.
- Use testimonials. Have people talk to the camera. They are bound to say something entertaining.
- Provide teaser clips. Generate momentum for a product release or other exciting event with several promotional viddys.
Photos and images are the highest-shared media category on Facebook, and with social media marketing it is engagement first and selling second. Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram highlight the power of images to sell products in online stores and to grow your brand online. The online boutique Boticca found that images on Pinterest were driving 10 percent of its sales.
High-definition images are crucial in driving brand engagement when you're constructing your online store. Small, grainy photos of products are an instant turnoff for many would-be buyers.
Twitter and Facebook audiences love inspiring or humorous quotations to help them start or finish the day with smiles on their faces or songs in their souls.
Lori Moreno knows how to do this well, and you only have to follow her Twitter stream to read some treasures.
A version of this article first appeared on JeffBullas.com.