At the center of Makati, Manila’s business district, a barista in a coffee shop demonstrates the art of the Pour Over, explaining how coffee as he saw it was an art form. He explains the rigorous process of capturing the flavor of the beans as he pours water over a filter in steady, circular motions.
This live demonstration was supposed to garner attention. But it fails to capture the audience. The supposed crowd continues to hammer on their laptops, lost in the virtual milieu that they’ve built.
As a brand strategist, I create a social experiment out of this. I take a video for Facebook Live where the virtual world can see the barista on their newsfeeds, viewing the activity as it happens. It garners 50 Likes in a minute, while the actual viewers can barely be bothered to take a look.
What does this tell us of this hyper customized world that the internet has created for its citizens?
It tells us that most people would rather forego experience in lieu of curated documentation. It tells us that people now trust the internet to use robotic logic to tell people what they want. The process of finding out for themselves is becoming obsolete.
This is the magic of your newsfeeds on Twitter, Instagram or Youtube. It is an amalgam of the virtual life you’ve created online.
It then becomes easy for brand strategists like myself to use technology as a direct extension to commerce.
There is a curated experience involved similar to what you see in a physical store that is painted through videos, photos, words, music, and design. All are meant to lessen the paradox of having too many choices. All are meant to provide you with machine-precision that you just can’t through human interaction.
To cut through the clutter means that your message as a digital marketeer has to be strong and purposeful. Know what to say before actually saying it. Attention is a scarce commodity.
As in traditional marketing, the digital marketeer must be able to sell through clarity: what is being sold, who you’re selling it to, why you’re selling it, when it’s the right time to use and how people can purchase. Otherwise, the seller fails in his attempt to curate.
No matter how complex the internet seems to sound, digital marketing is founded on the basics. Good copy. Good grammar. And good images. All of which lead to a strong value and selling proposition. The magic of tools like Search Engine Optimization and embedded tags only happen after basic content is met.
This is no different to the rules of personal branding. A Facebook account is virtually a curated design. Everything posted from events attended, books read, travel photos shared, people tagged, are carefully chosen. People instinctively show their best faces, choosing only specific details that attract. Anything boring or trivial is cut. Unknowingly , the internet as a platform has turned everyone into marketeers.
Tips on Digital Marketing
There is your real self, and then there is your digital self.
Your digital self is what you make of yourself for online consumption. Sometimes your digital self can even be more aggressive than your real self. It can be more vocal about views, opinions and stance on things. Your digital self is a direct extension of your credibility as a person. Whatever you do online creates a mark, an electronic tattoo that cannot be erased.
Digital experts warn the public on what to post online especially since your digital self is now also your resumé. It shows people what you are capable of and more importantly, what your personality is. Potential partners and employers attest that they gauge a person by his social network profile more than they would from his formal curriculum vitae. Selling yourself online is part of digital marketing. If you’re new to social networks or are unsure of how to “sell” yourself, here are a couple of tips to start you off.
No capital letters or exclamation marks.
There is a big difference between “HELLO! WHAT’S UP?!” and “Hello. What’s up?” No one wants to be shouted at, even online. Capital letters and exclamation marks are signs of overexcitement or anger. It can easily be misunderstood by those who read it. So be careful to use them only when you need to.
Don’t post inappropriate material.
People love to share things online - drunk photos and all. But there is such a thing as “oversharing”. To check the appropriateness of your post, ask yourself three questions: Does this photo or caption represent me well? What message am I trying to show or communicate to people out there? If I reread this post a few days or weeks from now, am I going to regret uploading it? If you’re unsure, then don’t do it. Curating images and posts are important to ensure that people see the best version of you.
Be sure to credit your sources.
If the photo, quote, illustration or copy isn’t yours, make sure that you credit the source. A lot of stuff gets re-shared in the information superhighway but always be mindful of where it comes from. This rule is especially true for blogs and discussion forums where sharing isn’t automated to credit the person, unlike through Facebook’s “Share” button or through “Regram”.
No trolling or ranting.
It’s one thing to share your opinion online. It’s another thing to insult someone for theirs. Arguments online are amusing for the spectators, but they don’t speak well for those involved in the argument. That’s what “Private Message” is for. Similarly, do not be part of any argument that you shouldn’t be part of. It pays to choose your battles. Do not rant about everything. So, when time comes you will have a credible opinion about a topic you truly care about. Then, people will listen.
- by Johanna Michelle Lim