• Social media is not a strategy

    Social media is not a strategy

    The question of whether you should be ‘doing social media’ is — although out-dated — also misguided, because it leads to a thinking that social media is a strategy. It’s not! The strategy needs to exist within the ways in which we communicate, not be the channels through which we communicate.

    Commonly, people decide to invest in a social media or digital media resource, they choose which platforms to work within, and start on the content treadmill — one without a power off button. This is when the battle becomes merely finding something to share daily, just to be present, be seen, to be ‘doing social media’.

    And then six months later people claim that it simply doesn’t work or it’s not worth the effort.

    Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with posting daily, sharing content that doesn’t always provide earth-shattering revelations for your audience, or cutting edge news. In fact there’s plenty of evidence that suggests that doing this is quite effective in terms of key numbers within the platforms.

    But unless there is a plan for the business right up front, about where you want it to go, what messages will help you get it there, and how social media can play a role and be used effectively to build and grow towards this goal, then you are potentially wasting the opportunities that social media can offer.

    To be clear: this is not an article about how often you should post, or whether you should post videos or photos, or how long your videos should be. This is purely about what is in the videos, what is in the photos, what is in the blogs and what are these things communicating about your brand or business.

    This is also not a cautionary tale about posting something that goes viral for the wrong reasons and brings your business to its knees, gets you banned from YouTube or opens up the flood gates for abuse, negative reviews or an online witch hunt.

    It’s simply asking the question: how is this content communicating a message that is moving your business towards the objectives you have laid out for it? Is this piece of content helping to communicate your expertise in a particular area, is it communicating that you are a diverse and inclusive group, is it saying that you deliver an effective service on time and your customers are happy about that? Or, is it saying nothing, or worse, that you’ve run out of things to say, so you’re just saying anything.

    Whatever the goals are, whatever you want to be known for, this needs to be at the core of all of your communication efforts. Therefore, it needs to be central to the videos you share, the images you post and the people whose attention you really try to get a hold of. When you think about social media in this way, it changes the way you look at the content you’re creating and sharing, and also it changes how you pursue the outcomes that really matter. So if you find yourself asking the question, what should we post today, ask instead, what are our business or branding goals and what content will help us to communicate that.

    If you’re looking for a business that knows how to get the most out of your communications efforts, contact Hook Media at info@hookmedia.com.au.

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  • Media mergers are a bad sign

    Media mergers are a bad sign

    The merger between Fairfax and the Nine Network has been making headlines recently — even if mostly across their own pages and programs. A lot of questions have been asked about this move, in particular, how it will impact the quality and bias of the journalism being produced by, in particular, Fairfax into the future, considering the inevitable corporate influences and conflicts of interest.

    It seems to be a move driven more by survival than by a decision to improve the quality of content by either company, but one particular argument made by the Nine Network for the move is that it has been driven by a need to battle and win back some of the advertising dollars already lost to Facebook and Google.

    This is a fair argument on the surface — it’s pretty clear a lot of Aussie dollars have gone there — but the problem with it is the implication that news and media has been, or even can be, a platform that offers comparable opportunity for advertisers of all kinds.

    Media advertising traditionally has not been a fair and equitable space. The cost barriers to entry has meant that only the big players, the companies with advertising and marketing budgets in the millions of dollars could play there, giving small and medium-sized businesses very few marketing avenues with which to promote their businesses.

    Google and Facebook changed that. The barrier to entry into the Facebook and Google spaces, although increasing in price, have been outrageously more equitable. Early adopters have been able to gain valuable eyeballs and attention, in some instances, for zero cost outlay. That has since changed to some degree, but the value there is still astronomically more reasonable than advertising on TV for example. The other thing is people are spending their recreational time online, when they were once spending this time watching TV and reading papers.

    And this shift in attention is only increasing.

    The real scramble for traditional media companies is to hang on to their big clients and keep them believing in the value of the traditional media outlets. And the merger adds value to that offering. But by the same token, it waters down the ad space as well. If Mercedes was once paying for ad space on TV, on radio and in the metro dailies, and this merger now enables them to hit all three of those targets at a discounted rate, with revenue split across the different platforms, then in the long run, it’s hard to see how the haemorrhage will be stemmed.

    Really, the only way to really protect those dollars is to protect those audiences tuning in, logging in or switching on. And the only way to do that is through innovating the user experience and by creating exciting programming that people want to watch that can’t be found anywhere else. The problem there is that people are doing that (innovating and making programming) pretty cheaply, and offering that content for free. And all the ad money for that is going offshore.

    There’s no better example of that than the documentary I made called Fat and Back. We sold it into more than 20 countries around the world. It played once on Channel One in Australia, one of the last countries to buy it and run it (thanks for the support guys).

    Currently it’s on YouTube where in the next couple of weeks it will pass 2 million views. Someone’s benefiting from those eyeballs. It’s not me and it’s not an Australian broadcaster.

    If you need help in the digital space, get in touch with us today.

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  • Five years of Hook

    Five years of Hook

    As a handful of congratulatory LinkedIn messages came my way in the last week — thanks to those who sent them — it was time to acknowledge that Hook Media had just turned five.

    They say that if you make it to two years running your own business, you’re set. We’ve made it to five and I still don’t feel comfortable. But I guess as long as we get to six, seven and so on — and I am very confident of that — it doesn’t really matter how I feel. You’ve made it as long as you keep going.

    To be perfectly honest, my vision for what Hook was going to look like in the future was always flexible, partly because the industry is changing so much, partly because people’s needs for the types of services we offer is changing a lot, and also partly because I didn’t know if where we were heading was what I really set out to achieve, for the business and myself in the early going.

    I wanted to remain open to all possibilities, for the sake of the business and for me. That has been a good and bad thing. It’s good because being open-minded has meant that we have moved into areas I didn’t expect and those have been really beneficial experiences. It’s been bad because I’ve really struggled with a sense of identity and a sense of who we really are.

    The focus has certainly narrowed in the past 12 months. We’ve done a rebrand in that time, courtesy of my great friend Peter Trigar at CC&Co. That has helped me with that process quite a lot, and has served as a springboard into new territories and new strategies.

    With this change, I’ve realised that the essence of what we do has always remained solid — we do content that is meant to be seen and consumed. How we package that is what has been the important component for business growth.

    In 2018, the types and variety of content that people want is different, and the ways that stories are being told is different and that’s been a massive adjustment, to both the day-to-day and also my career objectives. I remember chewing the ear off the then Managing Director of Fremantle Media years ago at a lunch and he said that there’ll always be a need for content. If you’re making it, you’ll have a future. If you’re selling it, or distributing it, your future is not as certain. We kinda do both, thus is the challenge.

    Working out the kinds of content that people want to consume and also how to turn that into an earning when people expect to be entertained and informed for free, has always been something that has weighed on my mind.

    These are challenges we’ll continue to figure out as we grow as a business and a big part of that is listening to what our clients are telling us, listening to what the audiences are telling us, but also using our story-telling experience and ever-developing skills to take risks.

    Currently, Hook Media is a four-person strong team of myself, Jeremy Manson, Andrew Darrington and Daniel Hedger. We each bring something unique to the table and we’re doing great work. I’d like to see that team grow in the very near future, but I want to thank those guys on being an integral part of our recent growth.

    There have been other names who have done great work for us in the past — such as Brooke Giacomin, Sean O’Kane and Nick Barber — people whose work still makes appearances in examples and proposals to this day.

    We’ve made many great working relationships over a long time, who are major reasons why we’re still in business. People like Christian Gamble, Richard Turner and Andrew Funke have seen value in what we do and have been and continue to be strong supporters of Hook over the years.

    There are those who we’ve worked with that have enabled us to merge business and common interests and passions, and they have either been or continue to be great supporters of our work, and there have been some who have served also as the lighters of under-arse fires, such as Shane Howard from CCR.

    Some of the great highlights include following Dante Exum around with a camera for Bleacher Report, heading over to my first Mr Olympia with Josh Lenartowicz and producing what I think is a great little web series, shooting some incredible action at the many Warrior’s Way muay thai events for Mark Castagnini, managing livestream basketball events with Luke Sunderland and giving young basketballers a shot at their US College dreams (I’ll never forget the moment a kid was pulled from the court and offered a scholarship on the spot over the phone), the countless bodybuilding shoots with Nick Jones and the Gen-Tec Nutrition team, publishing Muscular Development and getting back into print, albeit briefly, and stepping on the golf course with Damian Shutie and working collaboratively with a genuine media talent.

    I also want to make a special mention of the involvement and work of my former business partner and friend Ryan Mobilia. His career has gone from strength-to-strength in the last two years. He’s a leader in this space and the three years he spent at Hook helped to form the foundations upon which we stand.

    I feel like we’re just getting started in many ways and although I do want to feel like we have ‘made it’ at some point, I never want to feel complacent. Innovation is certainly a buzz word, but if we’re always thinking in that way — of chasing the change — then our work will always feel new. There is so much opportunity out there for what we do, and we’re going to keep finding it.

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