By Victor Potrel, VP of Platform Partnerships at TheSoul Publishing
The Age of Multi-Platform Media
Since its inception in the early 2000s, social media has rapidly evolved to become a diverse ecosystem of online exploration and self-expression, with the average user spending time on more than seven different platforms per month. These platforms each have their own culture, unwritten rules, and purpose, allowing users to access entertainment, news, shop, catch up with friends, or watch various live events.
This diversity of platforms’ “zeitgeist” means that users’ interests and behaviours differ across social media. It’s crucial that creators understand why users are visiting particular platforms and that they use this knowledge to guide the content they create and share. For instance, image-based platforms such as Instagram are primarily used to find funny and entertaining content, whilst text-based platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn are typically regarded by users as information sources. Promisingly for brands and content creators, audiences are demonstrating an increasing willingness to use both text and image-based social media platforms to find and follow content that resonates with their tastes.
With this willingness to engage on social media comes a demand for original and tailored content. We are currently in an age of saturation: the amount of content being created vastly exceeds the audience available to watch it. To be successful online, content creators must give audiences what they are looking for, and also fit their platform-specific persona in order to cut through the noise.
The Integration of Branded Content
Research shows that audiences increasingly use social media to engage with branded and shoppable content. Over the last two years, our online activities have increased and diversified, with more time being spent streaming music, listening to podcasts, scrolling apps, watching films, or playing games. This has come alongside a rise in social commerce, aided by the development of live streams, VR, and AR which have enabled more immersive social media shopping experiences.
There is now an expectation that audiences no longer have to seek out products – they need to be part of the online experiences where they already are. For TheSoul Publishing, this means moving beyond being just a digital content creator to exploring other verticals. For all content creators and brands, it means a willingness to explore other formats and tools.
Multi-Platform with a Purpose
TheSoul is built upon principles of versatility and innovation, which continuously inform our working practices and culture. Creating fresh content for our portfolio of brands, in more than 20 languages, means we’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to engage our diverse audiences. On TikTok, our pages, such as 5-Minute Green concentrate on garden-related fun and quirky videos which inspire creativity whilst over on YouTube, Bright Side is all about longer-form videos exploring the world around us.
Most recently, our channel expansion has taken us to the creation of our first “digital popstar”, Polar. Polar headlined The Solar Sounds Festival in Avakin Life in July where more than 2.2 million players spent more than 100,000 combined hours watching her perform.
Polar’s content differs significantly across her platforms depending on whether her audience engages with her music, herself, or with fans with like-minded interests.
Within metaverse worlds such as Avakin Life (pictured), the focus is on the live performance, and it’s important for viewers to “show up” and be part of a shared experience with other fans. On a platform like YouTube, the emphasis is on the music, with her first single “Close To You” garnering eight million views and repeat viewings and listens. On Instagram, Polar’s posts are orientated towards lifestyle content, where she reveals more about her personality. TikTok plays a similar role with a focus on shareable and recreatable dance routines.
Without changing the core of your values, it’s critical to acknowledge the different purposes of each platform and adapt your content strategy to fit with your surroundings and resonate with what each audience is looking for. In addition, be open-minded to new experiences and assess how they can change your fans’ expectations. This will enable you to constantly adjust your approach and ultimately continue to grow as a brand and content creator.