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Interview with Born Social strategy director, Callum McCahon

Ask the Experts

10 May 2017

Posted by Ana Maria Nica

Hi Callum, tell us about yourself in a few sentences - who are you?

I’m the Strategy Director at Born Social, and we do social media for Davids (not Goliaths). I’ve always had a strong interest in technology and social media, and the way that they can bring real value to brands. In my role I work across our client base in order to drive effective output, helping our clients to stand out and really speak to their audiences in creative and innovative ways.

Talk us through a successful campaign you’ve worked on...

The most interesting piece of work I’ve undertaken recently was The Social Survey. We interviewed 1,000 people, asking them questions about their social media habits. From this I was able to produce a fairly comprehensive report on the current state of social media usage in the UK. The findings have really helped us to hone our product internally and deliver wider insight in the industry.

What visual content trends will dominate social media in 2017?

The big trend that is dominating 2017 is most definitely Stories. An early innovation from Snapchat, Instagram and now Facebook have recently integrated Stories into their platforms, with Instagram Stories having just surpassed Snapchat in terms of daily active users. I’m looking at Stories as the ‘new’ news feed – and the future of visual content on social media. The format allows you to tell a story in a chronological manner over successive pieces of full screen content. When you compare this to the crowded, algorithmically-driven news feed, you can see that stories are the ultimate place to share visual content.

What advice do you have for integrating visuals in content marketing strategies?

Create native content. By that I mean content that is designed specifically for the platform through which it will be distributed. Don’t use the cut and paste approach – one size does not fit all. You must tailor your approach to play to the strengths of the platform. Take video content as an example. Those brands who simply reuse their TV adverts as social media content are missing the point. Those who create a social first video – capturing scrollers’ attention in the first three seconds, working silently, and most likely in a square format - will achieve the best results.

Which common mistakes do content creators need to avoid?

For me, the most common mistake is creating content for social media without a clear purpose. Every piece of content should mean something; you should never just want to fill a gap. Think hard about which objective you want to achieve with each piece of content. How do you want your audience to feel? What action do you want people to take?

Aside from your own work, what’s the strangest, or most memorable campaign you’ve ever seen?

I was really impressed with Nike’s #Breaking2 campaign recently. Their use of Instagram Stories in the lead up to, during, and in the aftermath of the event was the best I’ve seen. They managed to really capture the raw emotion and passion that went into the record attempt – overall, a highly engaging and passionate piece of social content that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Your #1 Tip for storytelling:

The context is equally as important as the content. Think hard about where your content is going to be consumed, and bring this to the forefront of the process.

What are three images you love on Picfair?

A red neon espresso sign seen through a window with a hazy coffee shop scene in the background in Shoreditch, London

A red neon espresso sign seen through a window with a hazy coffee shop scene in the background in Shoreditch, London Read less

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Stefan Ferreira

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Aerial photo of crowds of people in a park in Canary Wharf having a picnic.

Aerial photo of crowds of people in a park in Canary Wharf having a picnic. Read less

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Ben Broomfield

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Trellick Tower, 98m Tall 31-storey Apartment Block designed in Brutalist Style by Erno Goldfinger and Completed in 1972, North Kensington, London, England, UK

Trellick Tower, 98m Tall 31-storey Apartment Block designed in Brutalist Style by Erno Goldfinger and Completed in 1972, North Kensington, London, England, UK Read less

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Petr Svarc

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