BBH’s 10 New Rules For Bringing The Social Back To Social Media



Ben Shaw, Head of BBH Live, on why brands should focus on making content, not adverts.


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Advertising campaigns are no longer brand driven and companies fall into the trap of relying too heavily on data. In essence, the metric has become the goal. This makes social media less social. It also causes brands to lose sight of what really matters: engaging their audience.

At #SMWLDN, Ben Shaw, head of BBH Live, provided attendees with ten rules to follow to put creativity back into their social media campaigns. He believes that data has changed everything, and each rule aims to prevent frustrating your audience and will make them want to spend more time with your brand.

1. Choose Super Short or Super Relevant

People find banners ads annoying. You don’t want to spend time with them. What makes you think other people do? This is why it’s more important to be relevant. People are more likely to actively engage with content that they care about.

2. Prioritize Fame

This drives other metrics. If you focus on getting positive attention, your audience will be more engaged and grow.

3. Target Your Target

This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Consider: who are you trying to reach? Why would they want to spend time with a particular piece of content? Instead of shoving an ad in front of people’s faces, focusing on earning attention and getting them interested.

4. Primacey of the Idea

People want to see original ideas. Recycling the same old ideas causes people to lose interest. Be a trendsetter, not a trend chaser.

5. Use Data to Inform and De-Risk

Social media uses are constantly creating, posting, and commenting. Use this information as an idea generation starting point.

6. Find the Nuggets

What is your audience watching? Find out where they are spending their time. Keep in mind that, while cute panda videos were popular, they have become cliché. By becoming net literate, you will learn the in jokes of different communities and how to successfully integrate memes and emojis into content your audience cares about

7. Don’t Appeal to the Rational Snoozefest

Emotion drives people to act. Rational facts don’t. You can throw all the facts you want at an audience, but people are more likely to respond to content that makes them feel something.

8. Don’t Be Lazy

We get sucked into looking solely at data, but the data shows people are looking past branded videos. For a high view through rate, a video would have to be 4 seconds long. To create content your audience cares about, think about your mission. Don’t focus on what isn’t working for other companies because campaigns aren’t launched in a vacuum. It is impossible to replicate digital marketing conditions every single time.

9. There’s More to the Internet than Social Media Channels

Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and not the beginning, middle, and end of the internet. It’s time to start reaching out to bloggers again. Social media influences are not the only people reaching your desired audience.

10. There Are No Rules, Only Sins.

The biggest sin is dullness. People scroll past boring posts, which prevents your message from reaching the target audience. Creating original, engaging content will make you stand out from the deluge of new content produced every second.

When using these rules, keep in mind that there are no best practices. Digital marketing is still a young industry. Any supposed best practice has only been one for an extremely short period of time. Since social media is always changing, there’s a good chance that best practice won’t remain one for long.

Further analysis and commentary from “When Did Media Kill Social Media: The 10 New Rules for Winning” session:

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