Steve Rubel presented an excellent talk at The Next Web recently and I highly recommend that you watch and absorb it. Rubel’s argument is that as most brands now post their content on Facebook and Twitter, the way that content is seen may not always reach its intended audience. Brands are “fighting” each other and individuals for attention.

Social marketers needs to understand that that the decay, or half life of a tweet, a Facebook update or posted video is incredibly short. Having compelling content is one thing, but making sure that content is timely for its intended audience is also a crucial factor. Here are some of the key points from the talk:

Economic Value is linked to attention

As content proliferates, it is all increasingly filtered through hyper-personalised social streams. Therefore, captivating attention is even more critical today for effecting a behaviour change.

The Digital space is infinite, yet time is finite

According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, the web fills with a deluge of new content equal to all the existed in either digital or analogue form prior to 2003. Yet, our time remains relatively finite, Attention doesn’t scale as noise escalates, content rapidly decays.

Twitter is recording 110 million tweets per day. However, like “wet snow,” they evaporate as almost soon as they hit the ground. This means your messages many never reach your intended audience. When your content is snowing, content has a shelf life shorter than milk.

Personalised Social Algorithms Curate

Every month than 30 billion pieces of content are shared globally on Facebook. Their EdgeRank algorithm curates art from junk in your feed based on personal affinities, content formats and timeliness.
Trust in the age of streams requires frequency

People need to hear things three to five times for it to effect a behaviour change. Therefore, you must craft a strong narrative and have it reverberate across both traditional and social news streams. 

Source: http://www.edelman.com/trust

How Twitter content decays

  • 71% of tweets get no reaction
  • 23% get an @ reply
  • 92% retweets are within the first hour
  • 85% of tweets with @ replies get just one
    Source: http://www.sysomos.com

How video content decays (Online video Attention Span)
>5 Minutes 9.42%
>3 Minutes 16.62%
>2 Minutes 23.71%
>60 Seconds 46.44%
>30 Seconds 66.16%
>20 Seconds 80.41%
>10 Seconds 89.61%
Source: http://www.tubemogul.com

Step One: Hand-Craft Your Content For Each Embassy

Networks aren’t homogeneous. Identify the micro communities driving the conversation, vary your content formats for each., deploy natives as ambassadors and maintain a robust content calendar.

Step Two: Activate Expert Employees as Thought Leaders

Experts and those in the know are among the most trusted. Digital thought leadership can break the space-time challenge. Make digital engagement 1% of 100 people’s role, not just 100% of one person’s job

Step Three: Tightly Integrate Owned and Social Assets

Social isn’t a channel. It’s a behaviour. People expect it everywhere. You can increase your social surface area by building such hooks into your site – and vice versa. Give stakeholders options.

Step One: Mindfulness Through Bifocal Awareness

Build an understanding of the world around you and the best times to engage by practicing mindfulness on two levels with situational and ambient awareness. These simple processes complement monitoring

Step Two: Optimize For The Best Times to Engage

Mining builds off mindfulness. Using an array of low-cost tools, businesses can determine
the idea times to engage. This includes engaging both at a macro level in a given network, like Twitter or Facebook, as well as within micro communities that are deep inside.

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4 Responses to Time and attention are the next big fight in social

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