People-based marketing – what is that? And isn’t that what all marketing should be? Isn’t the entire marketing industry already concentrated on people – their needs, wants and individual behavior characteristics? Well, you’d be surprised! Stick with us to find out!
How do you define marketing?
Do you think of it in terms of what big brands are offering you to buy every time you come across an ad on your phone, TV or on the big screen? If so, is it an effective approach? Do you allow it to be the only factor in shaping the way you feel about a particular brand or product? Or is there something more to effective modern marketing?
“Marketing is the process of interesting potential customers and clients in your products and/or services”, or so states The Balance.
However, in today’s oversaturated market where everything is for sale and at the tip a consumer’s fingers, is there such a way of singling out the best product or service? What is more, how is Jack from Hamilton, Ontario to know where to go in order to get the best possible car repair service? Is he to blindly trust commercials and ads he sees on his devices or all over town? Or should he roll the dice with the first vehicle repair shop he can find when his car breaks down?
Let’s go back to the definition of marketing for a second. In the opinion of The Balance, it can be further expanded:
“Marketing is the process of letting consumers know why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors. If you’re not doing that, you’re not marketing – it’s really that simple. The key is to find the right method and to define the right message to educate and influence your consumers.
Companies make the mistake of thinking that marketing is just one thing, but it’s actually much broader than that. It’s everything the consumer encounters when he does business with you. This includes advertising, what he hears by word of mouth, and the customer service he receives. It includes the follow-up care that your business provides. All these efforts fall under the umbrella of marketing and creating a decision within the consumer as to whether to choose your company initially or for repeat business.”
It is getting increasingly hard to earn consumer’s trust, is it not?
As people are constantly bombarded with gimmicky marketing campaigns for an unlimited number of products and services, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out in the crowd. Marketing a product or service is simply not enough anymore – it’s up to the company behind it to put its own reputation at stake and a seal of quality of sorts.
And that is exactly where customer service comes into play!
Great customer service is the way to show all the people who come into your shop that you care about them and their opinion. Moreover, a favorable opinion will make that customer not only come back, but also bring their friends, colleagues and whoever else is there.
Providing the best possible experience to Jack is as important as it is fixing his car at a reasonable price. Why? Because that may be the only thing that will make you or break you in his eyes.
Let’s put ourselves in Jack’s shoes.
He is stranded on the side of the road because his car has unexpectedly broken down on him. He is slightly panicky and concerned about his vehicle. So he finds your vehicle repair shop online and decides to go to you for help.
If Cindy, the receptionist at your shop welcomes him with a warm smile and a helping hand, he will immediately feel a little bit better, right? Getting right on fixing Jack’s car will certainly be a plus in his book seeing as nobody likes waiting, correct? And if he is visibly satisfied with not only the job done on his car but also the payment service and a “You’re always welcome back” goodbye, he will come back, surely?
That is great customer service and, by extension, great marketing, people!
As some of you here may be asking if this approach is applicable to digital marketing, we are here to say: Yes, absolutely! You just need a different channel of communication with your customers. Just as you don’t need a physical store anymore to sell clothes, you don’t have to talk face-to-face with your customers to point them in the right direction. Instead of a clerk coming down the aisle and help a grandma choose an ugly Christmas sweater, you can just have her talk to the customer support team on live chat. As you read in one of one of our previous posts, it should come as no surprise that immediate answers to customer inquiries lead to purchases, so make customers feel cherished and they will come back and be loyal. Don’t be afraid to communicate with them, as they can give you great feedback about the good, the bad and the ugly about the way you run your business.
Aside from live chat, you can also use company Social Media profiles to actively communicate with your customers, not just to engage them and promote content.
You can solve their real-time problems in a somewhat informal setting, thus telling them you are always there for them. What also helps create a better picture about your company and the way you treat customers is the fact that every comment they may leave about you and their experience with you is out there for the world to see.
Not only that, but every such review that doesn’t garner a reaction from you is reflected badly upon your reputation.
“The best way to counteract any consequences negative reviews might have on your business is to act on them. Show that you care. Respond to a bad review as soon as possible and with good arguments about not only the reasoning behind your company process but also the way you will improve it. That way you will show the person leaving the negative review that you are willing and prepared to do everything you can to truly better your product/service and their customer experience.” – Aleksandar Mitic, Account Manager at TheIuvo
So, think about it. What does it cost you to provide excellent customer service and create loyal customer base?
All you really need are great interpersonal skills of the employees who believe in the company and whatever it is you are selling.
It doesn’t take much to show Jack from Hamilton kindness and pay a bit of attention to his problem while he is explaining it. By showing him he is important to you, you are putting him first. The loyalty that is born from this kind of customer service cannot be bought with ads.
“It’s very logical: There is proven ROI in doing whatever you can to turn your customers into advocates for your brand or business. The way to create advocates is to offer superior customer service.”– Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”
If you want us to show your customers you care about them, contact us today and let us take your business to the next level!
“If you’ve created a conscious machine, it’s not the history of man. That’s the history of gods.” – Domhnall Gleeson (Caleb), Ex Machina
When it comes to Artificial Intelligence slowly infiltrating and eventually taking over our lives, movie buffs everywhere seem to be in the unique position of knowing what to expect in the times to come. Not only that, but judging by the success movies like The Terminator, RoboCop, Star Wars and the like have had with the audiences, humans have been obsessed with robots for quite some time. Since we can absolutely say AI is slowly becoming part of our day-to-day existence, we should all examine the role we are to have in this brave new world.
One of the areas robots have already been influencing our lives is the way they are taking people’s jobs. History buffs – or people who have actually listened to their history teachers’ lectures – will know that this is nothing new. Throughout history, new technologies have had the tendency to push out flesh and blood workers from their workplaces for the sake of simplifying and speeding up technology processes.
The true end goal? Reducing the cost of doing business.
Robert Hanson in his book “The Age of Em” is of the opinion that we are on a path which will inevitably lead us to the obsolescence of human labor. To illustrate that point he states that driverless cars are expected to make up to 75% of all traffic by 2040, which will result in not only many more unemployed drivers, but also provoking the change in the infrastructure around this occupation – from drivers’ training to the way gas stations look and operate.
Therefore, the modern concern is that the more robots are used for industrial or menial work, not only more people will lose their jobs, but the wages of the remaining human workers will go down.
Furthermore, according to a study conducted by Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo, of M.I.T. and Boston University, respectively, each additional robot in the US economy reduces employment by 5.6 workers, and every robot that is added to the workforce per 1,000 human workers causes wages to drop by 0.25-0.5%. For the study, Acemoglu and Restrepo defined industrial robots as “automatically controlled, reprogrammable, and multipurpose [machines].” They specifically looked at fully autonomous machines that don’t require a human operator, and can be programmed to perform multiple manual tasks such as welding, painting, assembling, handling materials, and packaging.
Their conclusion was that if the spread of robots proceeds as expected by experts over the next 20 years, the future aggregate implications of the spread of robots could be much more sizeable. The researchers saw negative effects on virtually every occupation, with managers being the exception.
“Predictably, the major categories experiencing substantial declines are routine manual occupations, blue-collar workers, operators and assembly workers, and machinists and transport workers,” write the authors.
To put it simply – endangered jobs are those that consist of predictable and repetitive tasks.
If you stopped right now, took a pen and paper (or opened Notepad on your PC), and started making a list of all the repetitive tasks you perform on a daily basis, how long would your list be?
20 tasks? 50? 100?!
And should you wake up one day and all of those pesky little (or not so little) tasks could be performed for you, would you welcome that kind of help or be frightened of it?
This particular kind of technology (AI) is already making our lives easier in areas such as healthcare, for instance. However, the question of user acceptance needs to be resolved for humans not to feel threatened by robots. That is hindered by the fact that public perception of robots and their role in our lives largely comes from the media (or maybe media marketing?). Since generations that grew up glued to the TV screen have had their minds shaped by whatever they have watched over and over again in their formative years, it is very difficult now to change their minds about certain things.
With that in mind, numerous studies have dealt with the where, the why and the how of people’s becoming comfortable with the AI of our age. What most of them have determined is that it depends (and will continue to do so in the future) on a number of factors – cultural, social, political and economic being the most prominent ones. Plus, the acceptance varies from one world region to the next.
For example, Japan (as a technology-centered society) is found to be the most receptive when it comes to all kinds of robots. On the other hand, certain cultures of Middle East (joined by those that for religious reasons reject the representation or reproduction of the human form), tend to frown upon the existence of humanoid robots regardless of their own enthusiasm about innovative tech. Just remember the fake news about Saudi Arabia beheading its first robot citizen Sophia and think about what it says about us people living in the digital world.
These are just 2 sides of the same coin, but people in Europe come somewhere in the middle. Since this is precisely the geographical area robots have been used the longest (as well as where both general and technical education is widely available as well as highly sought out), people living there have mostly positive feelings towards robots employed in manufacturing, healthcare, space exploration, military and disaster relief. No wonder, since AI often has life-saving applications in those areas. Still, when you take into account robots’ portrayal in Hollywood movies, people in other regions have been less receptive, which doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of potential for AI to prove itself as beneficial to the human race – Europeans are just the first ones to properly embrace them.
On that note, Elon Musk has something to add to the mix:
“I think that there is a potential path here which is having some sort of merger with biological intelligence and machine intelligence.”
The billionaire is interested in AI and is of the opinion that the way to save the human race from becoming obsolete in the robot era is through connecting the human brain and robots and enabling them to communicate with each other. He is also unofficially already started working on it by launching a new company Neuralink (registered in California, USA) as a medical research facility in July 2016, which he plans on funding by himself.
How, you ask?
Well, the story goes like this.
In 1967 Dr. Paul Ekman studied the Fore tribe from Papua New Guinea, where he believed to have discovered the blueprint for a gathering of universal human emotions and related expressions that cross cultures and are present in all humans. This, in turn, enabled him to create the Facial Action Coding System, a comprehensive tool for objectively measuring facial movement – the very same thing used nowadays to teach computers how to feel.
This particular kind of data is what is causing big advancements in the “affective computing” part of AI. Through man-written algorithms, robots are attempting to determine the emotional state of the human across from them based on their facial expressions, gestures, text and tone of voice. The point is for the robot not only to learn to recognize them, but also to respond to them in an appropriate manner.
The purpose of such doings on a large scale is hunting for patterns which will successfully predict human emotions and consequently, our behavior.
And if anyone, even a machine, is able to analyze the human state, then it is also able to respond to it and influence it. Which is essentially what those who want to sell us something – people working in marketing – are trying to accomplish, but when it comes to humans influencing humans, it somehow doesn’t seem so threatening.
Or does it?
The potential benefit of affective computing is not only building better customer service bots (as the most obvious one), but also measuring the way professional environment and experiences affects employees’ mood. This way, organizations have the opportunity to design more effective work processes and settings in order to increase workers’ productivity. Moreover, robots reading emotions can improve user experience by recognizing employees being frustrated with a task and offering possible solutions to the problem.
Industries already heavily relying on human emotions are retail, healthcare, academia, government and defense, and that is exactly where affective computing is expected to revolutionize the way organizations collect, classify, correlate and export information in the broadest sense of the word.
However, it poses the question: Are we humans really that analyzable and predictable? Isn’t our unique nature and individual way of thinking precisely what separates us from the machines?
If we can be reduced to a string of ones and zeroes, why are interpersonal relations so complicated? And if we can, do we then deserve to be called the superior race or have we created the masters of our own destruction by teaching machines how to control us?
This now goes beyond the problem of machines simply replacing the human workforce – this is a question of survival!
What do you think? What will our role be in the new world where the machine has learned to decipher the fickle human nature and we have become dispensable?
Sound off in the comments below!
Also, your business is certainly going through a digital transformation as we speak. With marketing being a niche closely related to innovations in technology, we can see how easy it is to get lost. We can assist you to make it as painless as possible – if you need help, let`s talk!
We are well into January of 2018, which means it’s not only time to review and summarize 2017, but also prepare for the year in front of us. Discussing digital marketing trends we expect to see in the coming year can be a good start to creating your marketing strategy for 2018. Regardless of whether they are general marketing predictions or have a specific note, they are bound to affect the way we do marketing in the future, so buckle up and read our tips on how to advertise successfully on Social Media in 2018.
1) Build a long-term Social Media marketing strategy instead of relying on short-term tactics
Both have their uses, but if you want to gain results that will help your client’s business in the long run, you should think long-term. A well-thought out Social Media campaign, executed in a rightly manner is bound to yield results that include an increase in brand awareness and produce leads and traffic months and even years down the road. Attracting consumers may be difficult, but keeping them should be your true goal and that surely doesn’t happen overnight.
For starters, when planning ads create a quarterly goal and then go backward. See how many ads, content, and budget you will need. Track them daily and update the before made spreadsheet with the statistic. At the end of Q period, revise, get feedback and start the new quarter a bit smarter ;). At the end of the year, your result should be more than doubled when it comes to ads. Also remember, failure is good if you learn something from it!
2) Choose your Social Media platform carefully
Brands must accept that organic reach is steadily declining and stop relying on short-term tactics that used to work. Instead, businesses need to start building sustainable strategies. This means being more selective when it comes to the networks you post content on, and investing more in social ads as well as the influencer and/or advocacy strategies.
The best approach here would be to use paid advertising on all social media your target audience and potential customers are. But in reality, most of us just don’t have enough of a budget to go all in. When choosing in which platform to invest, think of your desired outcome. Do you want to get brand recognition? Do you want to engage? Do you need new leads?
Also, research the niche. If you are a fashion business and you want to work with influencers, LinkedIn for sure isn`t the platform to place your ads. Instagram and Pinterest are dominating the fashion industry – try there.
If you are in an Automotive niche, you would want to converse with your prospects quite often- try Twitter!
3) Have a clear intent of who you want to reach
Knowing your target audience is a job half done. Buyer personas (or your ideal customers) help you define and target the right people, in the right places, at the right times with the right messages. In that sense, you need to familiarize yourself with your intended demographic based on their:
- Social status
Even though you may have heard about this one a hundred +1 times already, don’t look away! Buyer persona cannot be built in 5 min. It demands a proper research and conversation with actual humans. It may be tough on you but trust us the results will surprise you. Make a case study, pay if you need and get the right interests and insights into your potential leads.
Testing the ad on the test group before releasing it to the general public, can be an awesome idea to generate even bigger results from the campaign itself. Even Facebook now has a Split test – use it wisely and blow away your audience.
Facebook is the most popular social media website by far, with 1.94 billion monthly active users. Next is Instagram, with 700 million users, followed by Twitter with 313 million monthly visitors.
Estimates vary for Google+, but according to research from June 2017, Google+ sees 111 million monthly visitors. LinkedIn comes in just below Google+, with 106 million.
The advertising algorithms on all mentioned networks are favoring content that has already had a previous organic engagement or is naturally attracting a bigger audience. So take your time, build a faithful network of followers, use those ads and slowly go over to website traffic, engagement and lead generation. Promote your posts organically and answer the topics which are in popular demand.
A recent study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organizations than millennials. Today, the oldest Gen Zers are 22 years old. They are just beginning to enter the labor force, and will have increased buying power for some time. Brands will begin to recognize this, and will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Expect great investment in platforms loved by Gen Zers like Snapchat and Instagram.
If you want to have a successful line of communication with potential or existing customers, you need to understand who they are. When you know your target audience, when you understand them, you are on solid ground. From there it’s just the matter of giving them what they want in a way they will appreciate the most.
“If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.” – Nate Elliott, Marketing Technology Advisor
7) Tweak your Social Media posts through A/B tests
The key to success on social media is to continuously optimize the in’s and out’s of your strategy through A/B tests. That means refining even the most minute details inside your posts. For example, A/B testing video length on Facebook (30-second versus 2-minutes). While shorter videos tend to outperform long ones, Facebook has recently shifted its algorithm to boost longer videos in newsfeeds. It would, therefore, be interesting to see if, despite Facebook’s algorithm change, your audience still favors shorter videos.
The more you tweak, the more you will be able to reach a “near-perfect” product. However, have in mind that optimization is a never-ending cycle where marketers try to create the best copy, with the best image, targeting the most receptive audience, at an ideal time.
8) Diversify ad spending across Social Media networks
“If I was going to point to a trend for 2018 it would be diversification of ad spend across networks. There’s so much money in Facebook advertising today that smart marketers are having to get extremely efficient to get results when targeting new prospects on the network. Any time a lot of money enters an auction you’re wise to enter other auctions where there’s less money sloshing around. I think in 2018 we’ll continue to see smart social marketers diversify and learn how to effectively spend ad dollars on other social networks like Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and even Reddit.” – David Christopher, Director of Marketing and Growth, Tailwind
9) Stick to the tried and true Social Media advertising strategies (at least partly) to justify continued investment
In 2018, implementation and effective measurement of existing strategies will be more important than the introduction of new tactics.
While social networks continue to innovate and build new ways to reach audiences, marketers are under pressure to prove that their existing social strategies merit continued investment. Future investments need to have a demonstrable business impact beyond classic vanity metrics.
Before starting any ad campaign make sure to clearly state what the ROI should be. Define a SMART goal and go towards. Like that, in the end, you will have something to compare your results to and see if it worked or not.
“Smarter use of metrics, better benchmarks and increased social marketing skills will bring stronger performance marketing to social activation. The norm will be to gather key measures, evaluate, optimise and drive social to deliver value goals. And it will raise the bar on social media, taking it out of the fluffy and making it integral to customer communication and experience.” – Katy Howell, CEO, Immediate Future
11) Post consistently
A good Social Media content strategy needs to be consistent, thus you need to evaluate when your target audience is online. For instance, mothers might not browse Twitter much when they’re picking kids up from school, LinkedIn followers might spend less time online during the 9 to 5 and so on.
According to a research, the best times to post on social media are these:
- Facebook: Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoon.
- Twitter: Weekdays in the afternoon or the evenings.
- Pinterest: Any day of the week in evening.
- LinkedIn: Tuesday through Thursday at 5 p.m.
- Instagram: Monday through Friday at 2 a.m. or 5 p.m.
This goes the same with the ads. Facebook ads are allowing you to choose the optimal time when your post should be actively running. Use it!
12) Keep ahead of evolving Social Media
Social will continue to be an evolving media, so the challenge will be staying on top of the rapidity of change. The need for social media marketing specialism is as strong if not stronger every year. What is needed are killed people that are immersed in the world of social from insights, to creative and paid. With that being said, don’t be afraid to try out new things. Things that have never been done before. Afterwards, inform the marketing community of your results. Again even if you fail, we can all learn something from it.
13) Center Social Media advertising around the consumer’s needs and desires
84 percent of millennials do not trust traditional advertising, so it does not make any sense to create content that is written from a selling point of view. People do not like content that is not relevant to them. Instead, content that is personalized and based on user personas is more likely to be read and shared. With buyer personas, you get an exact answer to what your audience wants instead of guessing it. It is much better to prepare content that solves users’ pain points.
14) Personalize the relationship – make the consumer your brand ambassador
“In 2018, personalization and brand experience will have been taken to their logical extremes: consumers will have far more control over the relationship – in fact, brands will be paying them to advertise in their social ‘space’. Consumers will be involved more closely in product and service development, to the point of co-creation.” – Jemima Gibbons, Social Media Strategist and author of ‘Monkeys with Typewriters’
Everyone reads reviews. They search for your social media profiles. They Internet stalk you because they want to know everything they can possibly know about you before they come to your business. Transparency in reviews adds to your business credibility – having 1 negative review to 20 positive ones humanizes the way your company does business.
And, the Internet is catching up. People can leave reviews on your social pages and profiles. Google recently added an extra layer of verification and trust to home services businesses with its Local Services Ads.
16) Respond to comments
Regardless of whether the comments you receive on your blog posts, for example, are positive or negative, you shouldn’t shy away from responding. It would be at least courteous to acknowledge a pleasant reaction your words have garnered, showing your readers you value their input. Moreover, negative comments should spur you to take action and your reply to such a comment will display a willingness to resolve the problem in question.
17) Build meaningful relationships with influencers
“The key trend for social media in 2018 will be influencer marketing. With the continued democratization of content publishing, traditional marketing channels have less influence while social media users and content creators have more. Anyone can yield influence and thus, as social media becomes more and more pay to play, every business need to incorporate some type of influencer marketing strategy to become more effective in their 2018 marketing. The trend towards brands leveraging user-generated content is one example of this, and if you are going to curate content to represent your brand, why wouldn’t you use that of an influencer?” – Neal Schaffer, Social Media Strategist and the author of ‘The Business of Influence’
18) Make your employees’ social media accounts extensions of your company image through personal branding
“Every employee is their own brand but also an extension of your organization. As social culture in the workplace expands, I think we’ll see an increase in company-wide involvement and storytelling across social media in 2018. 64% of millennials believe that social media is one of the most effective channels for connecting with brands (Source: Microsoft) but messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when they’re sent by employees instead of the brand itself.
Trust between customers and brands is deepened when there is a face and a story behind a brand, which is often where influencer marketing comes into play. Don’t disregard influencer marketing opportunities, but look for leaders throughout your organization, from top to bottom, who can deepen trust with your audiences by educating and entertaining.” – Katy LaLanne, Content Marketer, Sendible
19) Post ephemeral content to gain more authenticity and probe your target audience to take quick action (Snapchat/Instagram Stories)
We are seeing many brands using their Instagram profile for their best, high-quality content and stories for more real-time content. Because of the nature of stories (they last for 24 hours, after which they disappear forever), content is lost within hours, marketers gain from the audience taking quick action.
20) Rely less on automation and avoid repetition
The best way to overcome the limitation of time is by automating some of your processes – and marketing is one area ripe for automation. However, even if you do find a tool that can automate many components of marketing at once, it should by no means drive you to neglect the creative and engaging side of your job. Moreover, steer clear of automating all of your Social Media advertising steps, so that you can avoid repetition of content and cross-posting.
21) Engage in real-time and capitalize on micro-moments to delight your Social Media followers
“Personal, deeper connections between brands and social media users. Less automation and repetition, more real-time engagement and capitalization on micro-moments with the aim to delight your social media followers. The popular adoption of live video and the Snapchat/Instagram Stories type of content will push marketers to create and publish content as they go.” – Veronika Baranovska, Content Marketing Specialist, Sendible
22) Content marketing will remain the heart of social media marketing
“Content Marketing Strategy will be at the heart of effective social media marketing. You hear the HiPPOs say “We need a social media strategy”, but actually what they want is a way of engaging different personas and it’s the content that fuels this and you need a strategy to compete now that everyone knows about the importance of quality content.” – Dave Chaffey, CEO & Co-Founder, Smart Insights
23) Vary the content form you deliver – from blog posts, to infographics, to videos
Changing up the format will draw in different eyes and different types of visitors. Adding videos, pictures, comics or infographics will appeal to new readers (and spread differently on social networks) more than your bread-and-butter articles. Even your loyal followers will appreciate your changing it up by using different ways to communicate the message.
When was the last time you used, carousel or a live video as a content? They are there for a reason, use them in ads and the research proved your engagement will be higher. Cinemagraphs are the new go-to trend, make sure to try them out.
There is no point in posting content for content’s sake – it has to be engaging, interesting or helpful in the eyes of your target audience. To provide content that can attract and retain interest, you need to add value to them in a variety of ways. You can provide them with a useful resource, for example, a link to a tool they can use in their day to day life. It could be a piece of expert advice in the area they specialize in or are interested in your company for. Lastly, the content could entertain them, so long as it is in some way related to your business and not a “funny cats” video.
25) Don’t forget the CTA
Your Social Media post may be as amazing as you intended, but if you’ve forgotten to add the Call-to-Action, what’s the point? If you haven’t specified what you wanted your followers to do, your attempt at communication leads nowhere. A strategic CTA adds value because it makes the post do more than show your followers something, it gives them a next step to take or a direction to go in with their new-found information you provided in the post.
If you have found that your content is falling flat or your daily traffic is plateauing, try adding one or a few of these ideas to your content. Your added value could result in added engagement.
26) Evoke an emotion or reaction
There are first line sentences that can really grip your audience: interesting, unusual, shocking, or emotional. Viral content is consumed because it meets these human emotional needs.
For example, emotional content can either be historically emotional, personally emotional, or topically emotion (current affairs).
27) Allow your followers to get to know you – the employees, the brand, company values
Photos and other types of visual content are highly shareable on social networks and give you an opportunity to share memorable and funny behind-the-scenes moments in your company. When you post photos of your team showcasing a particular campaign or process, it helps to show your business as a human brand and build relationships with your community.
National Geographic is known for producing high quality, colorful and unique visual content – this is the first step in getting users to stop scrolling. The ‘wow’ element of the image makes the user stop and wonder where/who it is – wanting more information and letting them escape from their current location and situation.
29) Tell a story – add a point to a posted picture, set the context for the image
The power of telling your audience a story is a technique that must not be overlooked, because when done correctly with strategic planning – knowing who your audience is, where they are and what story they want to know – will provide great engagement with your content and brand.
Similar to that of NatGeo’s strategy, Humans of New York a social and now printed book of media and stories – owned and ran by Brandon Stanton – uses the same techniques to achieve success. In under 7 years, the Facebook page has managed to gain almost 20 million followers on the social platform he started it all from. The use of large descriptive stories supplements his portraiture photography – much like NatGeo.
30) Don’t be over promotional – give credit to the author of the picture or article instead of the company
At National Geographic, each photograph is credited to individual photographers instead of being a branded asset. This makes the content much more personal and less corporate, tapping into the psychology of personal interaction between brand and consumer. Being over promotional is a common mistake for content marketing – this can be really off-putting to your audience, which is why National Geographic’s images are credited to the photographer instead. Personalized ads will evoke emotions much more than the traditional ones.
31) Shift to mobile, but don’t forget PC either
We are all aware that mobile devices are taking over when it comes to Social Media usage, and here are the statistics to back that up:
- Mobile is the most popular way to browse the web (51.4%)
- Laptops come in second at 43.4%
- Somewhere around 70% of searches are projected to come from mobile next year, so if you’re not working on your business’s mobile presence, you’re only marketing to 30% of those searches
32) Focus on local advertising
The digital landscape is making it easier than ever for local businesses to interact with consumers. Google Posts rolled out to all businesses in 2017. Facebook Local gives consumers a more localized social platform.
And those Local Services Ads make it easy to prove you’re trustworthy. Let’s hope we see more of this local focus in search results and social media in 2018 and beyond because this gives local businesses the chance to compete with even the biggest brands for consumer attention.
33) Don’t shy away from posting (short) videos
In a mobile-first culture, video is our main consumption. In 2017 90% of all content shared by users on social media is video. The biggest challenge is how you can capture your audience’s attention in the first 3 seconds.
34) Live stream compelling content on Social Media
Facebook already offers live streaming via Facebook Live, and businesses must use it to reach their niche target audiences. Live streaming requires commitment from audiences, so it will automatically keep the uninterested ones away.
35) Get into interactive broadcasting
Moreover, with interactive broadcasting channels like Agora, one-way live streaming is converted into two-way streaming, which allows people to chat with each other. The best part is that your audience is not required to download another app. It integrates with existing apps and allows brands to reach consumers in real-time.
36) Post not only Live Video, but high-quality, relevant video
“While video, particularly Live Video, will continue to increase in importance in the coming year, a key differentiator will be the creation of high-quality, relevant video. As the novelty of being able to “go live” from any device, anywhere, wears off, audiences will begin to tune out creators and broadcasts who share nothing more than their day-to-day activity. Stories, regardless of whether they’re shared on Snapchat, Messenger, Facebook or Instagram, will follow suit.
Simply put, as audiences become more inundated, businesses and marketers will have to become more skilled at creating truly valuable content. Therefore, I do expect the overall quality of video content to improve in 2018.” – Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner, Author, CMO, The Social Media Hat
37) Follow the rule: “Design for sound off, delight with sound on”
As mobile video consumption continues to rise, the majority of users are watching videos with sound off. On average, 85% of users listen to videos with the sound turned off. You can combat this by making sure your video tells a compelling story with or without sound. Use text and graphics, Facebook auto-caption tools, or upload an SRT file to your video ad to add captions to help deliver your message.
Brands could soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters. For example, IKEA rolled out ‘Place’ an app for users to preview furniture in their home before buying. This is a great way to increase conversions by showing customers how their products will look in the surroundings of their own home, before buying.
39) Join your consumers in live video group hangouts
Houseparty is a video hangout platform used by over one million people each day. It is primarily used by Gen Zers as a way to hang out with friends digitally. The platform is so successful that Facebook is reportedly investigating ways to create a similar functionality within their platform.
We have already seen video become increasingly important on social media, and live video group hangouts are a natural next iteration of this trend. It is conceivable that in 2018, Facebook will announce a similar product to Houseparty that will win over users, just as Instagram’s introduction of Stories did.
40) Invest time and money in interaction with consumers via messaging apps
Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally, and yet brands are still primarily focused on connecting with consumers on pure social networks. In 2018, expect brands to invest more time and money in connecting with consumers on messaging platforms. Artificial intelligence, voice assistants and chatbots will enable brands to offer personalized shopping experiences on messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what will happen or be popular when it comes to digital marketing trends in 2018. The truth is – anything is possible! The Social Media environment is fickle and ever-changing resulting in novelties emerging every single day.
However, one thing is certain – the ball is in the consumers’ court. They are the ones who are dictating the game and whose needs the marketers need to cater to in hopes of having any kind of success in what they do. One more piece of advice from us to you – use the tips provided here and expect a positive outcome this time next year.
Sound off your opinion in the comments and contact us today if you want us to implement all of the points here to bring your business to the next level!
Unless you live like a hermit on a secluded island, avoiding all human contact, we will go on and assume you have friends. Be it a large group of people that you rely on always being there to crack a cold one or a tight clique you’ve known since your diaper days, there is that certain trait that makes them all special and unique in their own individual ways. Nobody likes to hang out with a bland, boring person, especially if that person has nothing valuable to offer and talks only about themselves and how cool they are, right? Well, it’s the same with marketing. Content marketing, to be precise.
There is good marketing and there is not so good marketing, but all technicalities aside, what differs an extraordinary marketing strategy from an average and unremarkable one is its personality or soul. Imagine content marketing as a person. Would you like to hang out with him/her? Does he/she have something interesting and smart to say, do you have an emotional connection with them, do they seem trustworthy enough for you to stick around with them?
These are all traits of a good marketing strategy with a personal touch done right. On the other hand, there’s that tad old boring person, disinterested in any form of deeper contact, the one who cares only about delivering their message that they forget to actually stop and listen to others. Unfortunately, we all know at least one. Well, this is an equivalent of a content marketing strategy that lacks a soul. This does not necessarily mean something bad, but, it’s a no-brainer that companies who utilize personalized approach properly will attract and possibly convert more simply because of the fact that most people hate corporate brands.
In the sea of sameness, we naturally tend to want to stand out, and it should be the same with your brand. The first step is recognizing something unique that your services or product have to offer and building your online brand persona around that. As simple and sound as it may seem though, this advice alone has ironically created a complete paradox with a chilling nihilistic undertone, at least in the oversaturated online marketing world, and that is – If everyone’s special, no one is.
Thus the question: how to create something unique in the world where everyone ‘’is’’ unique? (Damn hipsters, you ruined everything). This is exactly where personalization comes into play. That being said, look and behold as we present you a couple of tips that will turn your brand into your customers’ best friend.
1.You cannot be insightful, and intimate with your customers if you don’t know who they are, what they like/dislike, etc. Therefore, naturally, the first step is getting to know your target audience. Facebook is of great help here, since you can use its Ad Manager and create custom Audiences consisting of people who share the same interests and are of specific age, location, gender, education, income, etc. Depending on your patience and experience, this might come off as frustrating and stressful.
After all, understanding your audience is kind of a big deal, but rest assured that this kind of customer profiling (if done right) will be a very important cornerstone and a foundation for everything that follows. Not only will you learn a lot about your potential customers, their wants and needs in the first place, you will also get a much clearer picture of just how to deliver it to them. Keep in mind that not everyone will like or be interested in everything that you have to say, simply because we are all individuals.
Your audience cannot just be thrown into a box with a label, but you can at least narrow and define your target by using their common denominator.
2. Whether you are writing a blog post, or thinking of a good caption for your Facebook page status, you have to be able to be a good storyteller. This doesn’t come naturally, many of us had to learn it, but it is something you definitely want to have as your brand’s trait. The first step is creating your brand’s voice. It can be playful, entertaining, simple, savy, casual, humble, modern… The key point here is to recognize certain trait(s) your brand possesses and adjust your voice accordingly.
The second thing you want to do is to elicit emotion. The most engaging and shareable content is the one that provokes a reaction, be it good or bad. For the sake of your brand’s integrity, try to avoid the negative part. We’d recommend staying away from touchy topics related to world events or politics. These can do you more harm than good, especially if your customers recognize you pushing your own agenda and individual opinions rather than emotional support and genuine care.
3. Get involved! Do not neglect your audience, especially on social media. Monitor your hashtags, keep an eye on brand mentions, stay in the epicenter of events. You will build a much deeper connection with your fans if you answer their questions and comments, even more so if you ask them something yourself. They will feel even more encouraged if their opinion is appreciated. That being said, every review must be responded to, not just the negative ones. Brand mentions are there for a reason, do not ignore them, you’ll be surprised at what you can find out about your company, and you’ll be able to improve many aspects of your brand, just by social listening.
4. Podcasts and videos are a great way of letting your fans get to know you better. Something funny or interesting happening in the office? Go ahead and tune in with an Instagram live feature. Are your employees feeling extra motivated and talkative today? Podcast it is! Humans are curious creatures by nature, and your followers will be more than interested to learn about what’s happening behind the scenes too!
5. Make sure your audience sees the real machinery behind your brand – and that’s you and your team. Is your colleague celebrating a birthday or a work anniversary? Make sure you feature that in your next Facebook/Twitter/Instagram post, with an appropriate caption. You can even invite your fans to congratulate them too! This will make your followers feel as a part of your clique.
Remember, whatever you do in life, you should do out of pure love and passion. Marketing is no different. Your audience will recognize the emotions you are trying to convey and they will act accordingly. This can be a two-edged sword though, as any kind of faking or trying too hard will seem cringy and dishonest. This is why a personalized approach to marketing takes time to incorporate and fully take effect.
Set aside a couple of days to sit and truly think about a personalized marketing strategy for your business. Take into account every aspect, trait, feature, and characteristic of your brand. Think about it like this: how would you describe your service or product to your friend or a family member? Which details would you mention? What part would you emphasize and what would you choose to leave out? What tone would you use? These are all the questions that can help you get started.
If there are more things we can help you with, don’t hesitate to contact us!