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If you blink, you miss it. I’ve said this many times in the past: new online marketing tools and strategies pop-up everyday, and if you don’t take the time to pay attention (or hire an agency that does!) you are probably missing out on reaching customers.
Nothing makes the stomach turn more than leaving money on the table. That’s why I, Ryan, your bald marketing pirate, will help you navigate the fast moving trends in the social media marketing space. Let’s take a look at the strategies that marketers are working on for 2018 and see if they are a fit for your business.
Influencer Marketing Continues To Grow
I sit in a unique chair. Not only do I help form relationships with online influencers that can help promote my client’s services, but I am an influencer myself, in the travel space. I’ve been blogging about Caribbean travel since 2009 and have been solicited to promote products and destinations by hundreds of different brands. I’ve seen the right way to do it, and I’ve seen the way that gets you sent directly to the trash and spam folders.
Tapping into the niche audiences of bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and Facebookers gives companies a powerful way to reach the perfect audience in a way that seems like a word of mouth recommendation.
Because this is a growing trend with so many brands wanting to work with influencers, influencers will become even more selective about who work with. Not to mention more expensive. Therefore, building and nurturing these relationships will be key in 2018.
Maintaining your relationship with influencers is complex and requires careful messaging so that both parties get what they need from the partnership. Do you have the time to build and nurture these profit-driving relationships?
Recommendation: Find the top 5 social media influencers in your space. Create a relationship-building strategy that sets clear objectives (awareness, sales, leads) and whether or not they will help deliver a ROI for each objective.
Video or Bust
I’m sure by now you know that using video in your online marketing and social media strategies is crucial. Just click on a few Facebook pages of marketing agencies and you’ll see cover videos that pull you in with with stunning graphics and human experiences. You get a feeling for the people behind the brand, the special sauce that makes that brand unique. I know you want that, because we all do!
But video marketing is so much more than a flashy Facebook cover photo, it can be used in nearly all phases of your business.
Here are some amazing ways you can jump on the video marketing trend:
- Video FAQs
- Video in your client proposals
- Video testimonials
- Product demonstration videos
- Behind the scenes videos
- “Get to know the team” videos
- Have potential new hires submit a video
- Live video events
- Video meetings with clients
And the list could go on and on. Video was a huge trend in 2017 and it’s only getting bigger.
The way people consume video is changing. According to Sean O’Neal from Adaptly mobile, video is the number one fastest growing ad format in the world. Research tells us that by 2020, video will make up 80% of all online consumer internet traffic to eventually be the closest you’ll get to a face-to-face conversation with your audience.
If you want to improve your video marketing game, I invite you to browse and download the Impulse Creative All-in-One Video Marketing Resource. It will give you everything you need to know as far as how to shoot, what gear to get, how to edit and how to make it a profitable investment.
Recommendation: Soon, almost all the content we consume will be video, therefore ensure all your video content is high-quality and engaging. Research exactly what your target audience is looking for and test different types of content to see what works best. And remember to follow the golden rule of 'design for sound off, delight with sound on' as more people are starting to watch with the sound on.
Chatbots Will Drive Leads and Help With Customer Service
Don’t be afraid of the bots! These bots shoot leads, not sci-fi laser beams. Chatbots are no longer hard to manage or annoying pop-ups. They are becoming a lot easier to program and, dare I say, more human.
Chatbots can help answer customer questions, deliver the right information when asked, qualify leads and even help you order a pizza. It’s called Conversational Marketing and it’s something you should be looking into.
Here at Impulse Creative, we are always testing new technology. Chatbots have been at the top of that social marketing trend for the last few months. We aren’t the only ones though. Bots were a major focus at the 2017 HubSpot Inbound conference. This solidifies the trend even more.
Are you ready to have chatbots help bring in leads and answer customer questions?
According to Gartner, 20% of business content could be machine-generated by 2018. If machines can be taught to create stories that are genuine and relatable, the advertising and marketing potential is certainly worth investigating.
Chatbots can help give your business the chance to interact quickly with your social audiences and website visitors in a way that feels personal. As bots become smarter and more human-like, you can customize your brand voice and send personalized messages directly to users. Facebook recently reported that they now see 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger, offering a whole new platform for marketers to connect with thier audiences.
Here is a list of Chatbot tools you can test out:
Recommendation: Test, test test. If you aren't already, I recommend experimenting with chatbots for your business. During your testing, make sure you design the conversation in a way that speaks to your target buyer personas. If you have an older customer demographic, focus should be on ease of use and a truly human experience.
The Growth of Social Stories
It’s called Ephemeral Content and it was started by the Snapchat app. Ephemeral content is any material that is impermanent or short lived. Since the meteoric rise of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram were quick to follow on this hot trend.
These “Stories” content formats are extremely engaging and allow your company to be more creative with visuals. You are able to add video, photos, audio, works, graphics, colors and tons more creative elements that let you further engage your audience. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to market your business and utilizing these social stories to tell your own story will be huge for your brand.
Creating stories on Facebook or Instagram makes your brand appear at the top of your follower’s feed, which helps keep you on their minds. There are 250 million stories everyday, so be creative, tell your story and make it count.
Recommendation: Have a plan in place to reach audiences with the help of an ephemeral content marketing strategy. Look to be authentic and offer real-time content to engage audiences in the shortest possible time. Create a strategy around your story and invest the time and creativity it takes to catch people’s attention.
Augmented Reality isn’t brand new, but it’s a growing trend for marketing your business and should be something you start to experiment. What is Augmented Reality? It uses your existing natural environment and simply overlays virtual information on top of it, most commonly with the use of your mobile phone and its camera.
This growing trend and its application on mobile devices provides a niche and engaging way for marketers to reach their target audience. Just imagine opening up an app that lets you scan the stores on the street, and instantly see deals, signs, even sales people waving at you, all persuading you to come in and buy something. Crazy stuff, but it’s happening now and will only grow in importance and adoption.
As Augmented Reality grows, FOMO will set in (Fear Of Missing Out) and more and more people will make the technology mainstream. Facebook has made huge investments in Augmented Reality, so look for them to lead the way and push it to the masses.
Recommendation: Not every new trend and technology is right for your business. But you never know unless you test. Do your research and plan out an Augmented Reality strategy that fits in with your company and buyer personas.