5 Principles of Effective 360 Storytelling

360 Storytelling

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If an incredible video is posted on YouTube amidst the 720,000 hours of video content uploaded every day, what is the likelihood your target audience will see it?

That depends entirely on your ability to effectively leverage integrated media, channel, and data analytics behind a full 360-degree storytelling strategy.

Today there is greater potential than ever before to build smart, hyper-targeted content strategies that best position you to get your story in front of your customers and key stakeholders regardless of the noise and clutter. And you can achieve that through the 5 principles of effective 360 integrated storytelling and content management.

  1. Plan your search engine footprint.

Proactively plan and control what your target audience sees about you on page one of the search engines. Think about how you search just about any kind of product, service, business, trend, event, etc. A few simple rules apply. You won’t read the same article twice. You are more likely to change search terms rather than go past page one. You will check out owned content, but you want to see credible third-party content as well.

Design your content strategy to enable your audience to control their own discovery journey. Diversity in storylines and content allows me to learn about you on my terms. I am essentially piecing together a puzzle about you in my mind based on my relationship with you and how I can benefit from you.

  1. Story and stakeholder alignment.

Content and storylines need to align with strategic business objectives and stakeholder wants/needs/value. That could mean planning your search engine footprint to help me learn and understand about your central product or service, new trends you want your company or brand to be associated with, sense of purpose and social performance, environmental and sustainability principles, financial performance, strategic partnerships and what distinguishes your employer brand. Or in most cases, all of the above. All contribute to how I form my opinion of you and the purpose and value you bring to me, my life, my business.

  1. Diversity in content.

Content is only king if it’s worthy of grabbing my attention in the snap of a finger (or scroll of a thumb). Video and animation that is easy to consume and surprises me. Interesting, impactful data visualization that is far more powerful than a by-the-numbers infographic. And just because we aren’t reading physical newspapers and magazines today doesn’t mean that news coverage isn’t just as important to your content mix today than ever. In fact, strong tier one news coverage in online publications with powerful search performance can have a significant lasting effect on a company’s search engine footprint.

  1. Owned and borrowed social channels.

A “one and done” posting strategy is likely to bury your content deep within overcrowded feeds. The goal is to improve the odds by connecting the dots between you and your target audience through a wide range of social channels. That could include tapping the channels, strategic partners and interests that are close to and aligned with your business, product, or service. Certainly, influencers fit within this group, as potentially do employees. How and where you extend the reach of your content depends on the story and audience.

  1. Power of data analytics.

This is the last mile. It’s where digital marketing and communications strategy come together with data analytics to give your content and storytelling true staying power. The beauty of a smart, hyper-targeted paid content promotion and optimization strategy is that companies don’t need to spend millions on a Super Bowl ad to get seen. In fact, in today’s world a few thousand dirhams can go a long way getting in greatly improving the chances your video will be viewed, your feature article read and your social channels followed. It’s all about leveraging data to be close to your audiences to enable understanding their search, social and online habits.

Whether we are talking consumer brands, B2B marketing, or government entities, while the target stakeholders and the overall content marketing approach will vary, these common principles apply.

Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s noisy. And yes, getting eyeballs on your content is highly competitive.

But given the abundance of available channels and the ability to integrate targeted stakeholder data analytics into content, media, and social strategy, marketers can do more today than ever before to get interesting content in front of the people who truly matter, regardless of whether or not they are in the forest to hear that tree fall.

5 ways to improve your social media strategy

social media company in dubai

Social media is an essential tool for all businesses, particularly in the UAE where social media users spend up to 3 hours per day scrolling on social feeds. It provides unlimited opportunity for brand awareness, social commerce, lead generation and direct customer relationship building. How can organisations ensure they’re using social media effectively to achieve their goals? Here are 5 simple things to consider when developing a social media strategy.

  1. THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER

Who is your customer? Develop a series of customer personas in order to deep dive into the way they think, behave, their preferences and the way they consume content. This will prove really valuable when it comes to planning content and making strategic decisions.

  1. CONTENT DIVERSITY

It’s easy to fall into the trap of sharing the same format and type of content week after week – if it’s not broken, why fix it? Well, data shows us that in 2021 social media users value diversity. Stale content results in engagement decline and harms your position in social platform algorithms. Keep your audience engaged by trying a variety of content formats such as video, images, carousels and play around with platform features such as stories, Instagram reels and guides.

  1. CONSISTENCY IS KEY

While your content should be diverse, it’s vital that your posting frequency is consistent. Through platform insights, figure out how much time your audience spends on a given platform. From here, decide how often you think you should post and stick to it. If you start to notice a dip in engagement, it’s a good idea to analyse the volume of content you’re posting. Remember, quality over quantity!

  1. PAID, PAID, PAID

Paid social media advertising is the strongest tool in your arsenal. If utilised effectively, it provides an enormous return on investment and helps you to achieve specific business goals such as website traffic, lead generation or app downloads. Organic content is great for reaching those who are already followers, but paid content is the only way to reach potential new customers efficiently.

  1. PLAN AHEAD

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Developing your social media strategy and planning content in advance helps you to prepare more effectively and take into account key dates, consumer behaviour at certain times and upcoming business objectives. This ensures you never miss an opportunity to deliver a key message at the right time.

 

The Rise of Social Commerce

Social Commerce

The phrase ‘new normal’ has been overused and thrown around this year like never before, but let’s face it, this year was a turning point for several industries and will likely change how business is done for years to come. As weaknesses were exposed in business models due to the pandemic, it became clear that the investment in digitization was necessary and could help save businesses in the long run.

While the global economy took a hit during the pandemic, one industry that continued to flourish was eCommerce, as online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide. In fact, in 2020, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to about 4 trillion USD, a number projected to exceed $6.54 trillion by 2023.

In the case of eCommerce, it seemed as if the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the growth of the already expanding sector as new firms, customers, and types of products hit the market. With more people at home, another form of eCommerce was on the rise, social commerce, the use of social media to drive eCommerce transactions.

In the past social commerce meant paid, owned, and earned media on social platforms to build visibility and drive traffic to an eCommerce store. However, in recent years social media platforms have added extensions that allow users to buy directly from the app.

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are leaders in the social commerce landscape, honing in on shopping extensions recognizing eCommerce as a pivotal part of each platform’s overarching growth strategy.

This year, as a part of the updated app features, the companies released shopping extensions that allow users to have a tailored and intuitive buying experience. This move resulted in a whopping 81% of consumers searching for products they need to buy on Instagram and Facebook, making the two channels a massive reference hub and marketplace for goods of all kinds.

As consumers spent more time indoors, shopping trends leaned towards online platforms, especially via mobile devices. This prompted brands to invest in social channels with convenient eCommerce offerings to target their consumers along their buying journey.

The power of social commerce lies in its ability to showcase highly visual and aspirational ad content, that stimulates the passive desires of users before their functional needs arise. For example, if I am looking for a new watch, the platform will utilize my browsing data and other data points to identify my wants, and then it will funnel inspiring ads to me that may satisfy my needs. But what does this mean for traditional eCommerce platforms?

Traditional eCommerce platforms such as Google Shopping and Amazon are not as intuitive as Instagram and Facebook, as they cater to solving immediate problems and not presumptive desires. For example, if I search for a new watch, it will show me several watches; however, unless I am specific with my product or brand name, I am likely to be presented with generic ads that are less aspirational and tailored.

While it is too soon to say that the buyers will forgo traditional eCommerce platforms altogether, we can see that there is real value for the businesses to utilize social eCommerce to attract and build loyalty amongst a target audience.

Social commerce will close gaps in the online shopping experience and provide the customers with a smooth end-to-end buying experience. With new buying habits and preference onset by the pandemic, we foresee that social commerce will remain a large part of the eCommerce industry worldwide.

Social commerce will also attract micro-businesses and craft shops, as the simplicity of the social commerce setup will likely persuade small business owners to skip more complex standalone e-commerce storefronts models. While this may mean more competition among brands and platforms, it also means competitive prices and more consumer choice, which is sure to enhance the buying experience for online shoppers.

 

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA Digital Awards with an impressive double

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA digital awards

Leading independent, full-service agency wins ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards at the inaugural event in Dubai’s D3

Seven Media continued its award-winning ways at the PRCA’s first ever digital awards yesterday evening and scooped the two most prestigious accolades in a double-whammy.

Following on from Seven’s two consecutive PRCA ‘Large Consultancy of the Year’ title wins in 2017 and 2018, the event saw Seven walk off the stage with the two coveted ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards, proving once again that Seven Media’s creativity and dynamism are proving winning formulas in a challenging Middle East communications landscape.

A key factor behind this success is the recent formation of Seven Studios, the video production team and creative force behind the video content created. Seven Studio’s work on the award-winning campaign for Manchester City Centurions Trophy Tour Fan Surprise, using unique story telling methods and hidden camera work that went viral across the world, ensured the UAE-based agency clinched the top prize.

Gregg Fray, Director and Co-Founder of Seven Media, said: “Digital is rapidly becoming the most important element to clients and we as a company are constantly evolving, as proven with the addition of Seven Studios, to ensure we remain ahead of the game. This award, as voted for by our peers, is a testament to our forward-thinking nature and excellent results we have secured throughout the year. 

“To be recognised as Digital Team of the Year, strongly underscores Seven Media’s deserved reputation as the top social media agency in Dubai with its track record of prestigious digital and social media activities for our clients. Our growth, client and staff satisfaction and retention speaks for itself and with the glowing endorsement from our incredible clients the judges deemed Seven Media victorious.”

The importance of new updates on social media

The Importance of New Updates on Social Media

New updates on different social media platforms can always be a little confusing. But look at the bright side of it, these updates bring along with them a handful of perks to boost your social media presence.

Tried and tested with successful reliable results, right here at Seven Media!

Since its inception, social media and its incorporation in businesses across platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter have undergone immense amounts of updates. All of which have definitely made life in the social and digital world a lot easier and better.

In the past year, Instagram incorporated new and inventive updates; one of which is was to add stickers to our Instagram stories. Besides being fun and entertaining, the key benefit derived from this update is the increase in engagement that arises from using stickers like polls, quizzes or the ‘ask a question’ feature on stories. As predicted by our social gurus, Instagram stories indicated a 30% increase in engagement as compared to that on posts. Talk about the power of new updates!

A recent update, the ease of sharing a post on multiple accounts on Instagram simultaneously and handling Instagram direct messages via Facebook, highlights the convenience factor of why constant updates are fruitful for social media marketing. Adding to the pros, with the introduction of the livestream feature on social platforms, delivering live content from events, conferences and other occasions is now made possible, grabbing the attention of a fairly large target audience within a short span of time.

While new updates help improve engagement, the algorithms on certain platforms do not always cooperate. To stay ahead in the game, it is crucial for your posts to be on top and be visible to your followers. Our predictions are that these social platforms will introduce new updates to change the algorithm. As a result, audiences will be exposed to good quality content than that based on engagement. And if social media isn’t your forte, leave it to the experts at Seven Media, the best social media agency in Dubai, to take care of it!

On that note, make sure to keep up with the new updates and use it to your greatest advantage…

The use of social media in the Middle East – what’s the best platform?

Seven Media - The use of social media in the Middle East

Two of Seven’s more experienced (older) PR professionals have been in the UK to get to grips with social media through a series of training sessions – and the way it is influencing their attitude to social media strategy is shaping Seven’s approach.

Looking at the use of Arabic language to tell a global brand story in the Middle East, there is no doubt Twitter has huge power. Short and sharp soundbites with great content to really cut through the noise and get directly to the target audience. But, on more local and lifestyle-based stories it has little effect. Yes, government and corporate communications campaigns that require an authoritative voice do need Twitter, but the impact seems to be growing less over time. Twitter is also very expensive to promote your content, compared to the other major channels.

On Instagram, the visual approach works well but can you really tell a serious story on Instagram? The majority of big businesses say no and it for that reason it is only part of the mix. There is also an increasing reluctance to have a separate regional page on Insta, as brands aim for global strategies. But with the right, powerful content, visual campaigns can grab the Instagram audience.

So where does Facebook fit in? For an audience in middle-age and with families it is the go-to – but when you add in Arabic to the mix it is not so clear.

And therein lies the puzzle for communications professionals. Bring them in from different regions across the globe and put them into a room together and it is clear that not only is the relevance of each social media platform changing, it is becoming more diverse country-by-county, making it a more complex process than ever before.

And that’s why you need Seven, one of the best social media agencies in Dubai, to help you.

Coca-Cola Arena Dubai – a powerful integrated PR and social media launch campaign

Seven Media - Coca Cola Arena - a powerful integrated PR and social media launch campaign

The launch of the incredible Coca-Cola Arena Dubai is the perfect example of a modern PR campaign that ticks all the boxes when it comes to communication in the region.

From a classic media launch event with print, digital radio and TV reporting live to ongoing social media influencer buzz – it showed that if the story is powerful enough it can run for weeks.

The Seven team were right at the heart of the launch and emerged with a really positive outlook on the state of the media landscape in 2019.

The quality and scale of breaking news reporting was first class, in-depth features looked at the impact of the arena on the local and regional economy and the crossover into entertainment media went global.

Social media content was also brilliant – with influencers at the launch delivering live reports and a range of innovative communication techniques.

There are some who worry about media in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the Middle East but if this integrated PR and social media campaign proved anything it is that we are really in a state of progress – you just need to look a little deeper into what is really happening.

Seven Media is a leading PR and social media agency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, offering both standalone social media campaigns and fully integrated PR and social media campaigns, as well as Seven Studios, the most creative and bold video production team in the region.

Know your audience!

Seven Media - Know your audience

The rise of digital and the decline of print media is nothing new – but the effect it is having on the GCC media landscape is evolving on almost a monthly basis.

In the past a classic PR campaign in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would cover the major media platforms in the two cities with a nod to generating coverage in key markets such as Saudi Arabia.

But is that really how people consume stories these days?

Increasingly, people in Dubai will take in elements of local media, dip into stories from across the GCC and also consume all sorts of information on social media. The same applies to the large markets right across the GCC.

The challenge in Middle East PR, more than ever, is taking a story and knowing as accurately as possible who the target market is and what the touchpoint for that story will be.

Content and a good old-fashioned strong story will always be at the heart of what a PR agency does, but everyone has to avoid speaking to either the wrong people, or in the worst case scenario nobody at all.

At Seven that is a challenge we take on and solve daily – and as ever the proof is always in the positive effect your PR campaign has on the bottom line.

When Seven becomes the story…

Seven Media - When Seven becomes the story

The case of a missing gorilla in Dubai helped propel a homegrown UAE PR agency to two major honours at the Middle East PR awards. Seven Media landed Digital Campaign of the Year for the story of Gorgeous George, a lifesize plastic gorilla that went missing from the famous Barasti Bar. The viral story was followed by more than a million people over the course of two days, from the first official missing report to his safe return. At the PRCA ceremony Seven also won Agency of the Year, the showpiece award of the night, for the second year running.

Matt Slater, owner of the agency, said: “The success of Seven Media is built on the creativity and storytelling of every single person in the company. “Digital campaigns that go big need to be driven by traditional and social media and with George the missing gorilla we hit that sweet spot. “Winning agency of the year for the second year running is an incredible achievement for the team who are as talented, dedicated and determined group of people you will see anywhere in media.”

Seven was recognised by the PRCA for their work in a total of eight areas, from major sport such as F1 and English Premier League football to entertainment campaigns for Novo Cinemas and across a wide range of business and lifestyle work.

Matt, who founded Seven with business partner Gregg Fray, added: “Myself and Gregg have been involved with media in the Middle East for more than a decade. “The whole media community is changing and improving all the time and it is great that Seven is at the heart of that.”

Seven Media are fast becoming one of the best social media agencies in Dubai.