As we kick off a new year, it seems like a good time to think about the future of digital marketing. What should your digital marketing plan look like for 2019 and beyond? Let’s examine three key factors.
Social Media Marketing Trends
Social media isn’t going anywhere. It is still dominant and growing. For instance, there are now almost 2.3 billion Facebook users – that is nearly ⅓ of the world population! 77% of Americans have a social media profile. These numbers provide business with a previously unimaginable channel to cost-effectively reach consumers.
But just blasting ads at people isn’t the answer. Storytelling is key. Mediums such as Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Twitter Video will continue to present expanded opportunities to tell your brand story and establish long-lasting relationships.
Another factor to consider is the length of the modern consumer’s attention span. Most social media video watchers stick around anywhere from 6-30 seconds. This isn’t the place for long-winded narratives. Creativity, likeability, and brevity count. Get your message out in a fun and engaging way and people will connect.
Personalization will continue to be a defining characteristic of social. For better or worse, the social media channels know exactly who we are what we like. They know what our hobbies are and what we like to buy. This allows the smart business owner to target “warm” leads – people who have shown the propensity to be interested in or buy his product. Businesses can then target messages specifically to that audience.
For instance, if you wanted to reach women between the ages of 25-54, you could create three separate videos – one for the 25-34 demographic, one for 35-44, and one for 45-54. You could then parse the demographics further by interest. A gym owner might want to create separate videos for women interested in yoga and those interested in strength training. The options will be limitless as personalization advances.
We are getting used to using Voice Search to help us navigate day to day tasks (“Hey Alexa, what time is it?”). The future of voice involves moving toward an e-commerce model.
It is predicted that there will be 67 million voice devices active in the US by the end of 2019, so this a remarkable opportunity. Businesses that want to remain competitive in the future should start thinking about an online marketing strategy that encompasses voice.
The good news is that in some ways voice strategy won’t be too much different than current SEO strategy – build your brand around a strong digital presence and valuable content. Credibility and viability matter. There will be space for both digital advertisements and organic search results (“Hey Alexa – order a pizza”).
And, as in real life, you will want to make sure that your digital and voice presence are resources to help customers and provide value. It’s a long-term game, and lasting relationships are far more beneficial than a short-term cash grab.
Engage with people, show them you care, and that voice search is just another way in which your business can help them.
Employees as Brand Advocates
And though technology is great, word of mouth still goes a long way.
Employee advocacy takes word of mouth to the next level. Employees provide a trusted and “inside” view of your company and brand.
Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed give your employees a platform. It’s no a longer a matter of if employees will talk publicly about your brand, it’s a matter of what they’re going to say when they do.
So how do you turn your employees into brand advocates? This should go without saying, but first of all, you have to treat them well. Unhappy, disengaged employees are simply not going to be genuine brand advocates.
On the other hand, employees who like their jobs, enjoy the people they work with, and feel they are treated fairly can be the best advertisers a business could hope for.
Look for early adopters. Happy employees who are already active on social media might jump at the chance to help kick off a campaign. Put together an “Employer Brand Playbook” so they know what message you want them to deliver, and what guidelines are in play. This LinkedIn post is a valuable resource.
Also, consider a series of employee video testimonials telling the world how great it is to work at your company!
The powerful thing about an employee advocacy campaign is that it can not only strengthen your brand with your customers, but it can help you attract better job applicants in the future.
Let us know if you need help or if you want to share your insights on this post. We look forward to your comments!