In the fast-paced world of social media, new platforms, apps, tricks and techniques to reach your target audience seem to pop up on a near-daily basis. Digital marketing takes planning, time and perseverance. You need to be consistent to reap the rewards, but if you’re spending your time in the wrong place then your whole marketing strategy stands to suffer. As a busy entrepreneur, it can be hard to know which new platform or marketing strategy is simply a gimmick, and which will be worth its weight in gold. In this article, we look at the top digital trends which are set to dominate and affect digital and social media marketing in 2017 and beyond.
1. Live video content
The power of video as a way to connect with your customers has been around for a few years now. In 2016 Social Media Examiner reported that 60% of marketers use video in their marketing strategy, and this is set to increase significantly over the coming years.
And now, with the advent of live video streaming on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram -through Facebook Live and now Facebook and Instagram stories - the power of this medium has skyrocketed.
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People connect with people, and using video to create stories around your brand encourages both engagement and trust. The advent of live video has taken this to a whole new level. It’s a great opportunity to present products and services in a more transparent and creative manner. What’s more, tapping into live video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allows both people and publishers to share their experiences and capture key moments, creating opportunities for instantaneous engagement.
Why Focus on Live Video Streaming?
Before you decide if live streaming is for you, think about which social media platforms your audience spend most time on, and focus your time there. If they are on Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter – and let’s face it, chances are that they are – then you’re on to a winner with live video. As well as posting video content, many brands are nailing it by live-streaming direct from events – giving unprecedented global access to your business, bringing your brand direct to their mobile screens.
How to Use Live Video?
Q and A sessions are a great way to engage with your audience, proving real-time advice and guidance is gold.
Reviews, un-boxing and demonstrations are an amazing way to promote your products, plus you can harness the power of brand ambassadors and affiliates to share them even further.
2. The Rise of the Chatbot
Chatbots are big news right now in the world of marketing. They are creating a buzz and for good reason - it’s well worth looking at adding them to your marketing strategy. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, let me explain.
Why Focus on Chatbots
A chatbot is a computer program that mimics intelligent conversations with humans. They work through audio or text, and can be exploited as example on Facebook messenger during the early part of the year. The goal is to streamline customer service and speed up interaction, without the need for new staff. Rather than simply searching for information on your website, a customer can interact with a chatbot to quickly find what they need. Plus what for many started out as a bit of fun is fast becoming the hottest ticket in lead generation. Facebook have been in on the game for a while, using artificial intelligence to automate tasks and assist in data driven marketing too.
How to Use Chatbots?
- Chatbots are great for selling products and services through e-commerce
- Use them for ease of payment
- Gain valuable customer insight for your marketing strategy
- Personalize your automated marketing
- Increase your customer engagement
3. Virtual Reality Marketing Experiences
Staying firmly in the virtual camp, virtual reality (VR) is set to be one of the biggest trends, with implications for both gaming and marketing industries set to be enormous. By 2018, it’s been projected there will be 171 million active users of VR – an impressive figure by any standards and one which is only set to grow.
Although VR has been around for years in the gaming industry, it’s use is still new to the world of marketing - but we predict its set to be the next hot ticket in e-commerce.
Virtual reality is so unique because it encourages an immersive, memorable experience which is unlike any medium out there – and as technology advances, the uses of VR will too. We’ve mentioned how video is big right now, and experimenting with VR could really benefit your business.
How to use VR?
It’s so new within marketing that innovators can really test and set trends. It’s worth seeing how your current audience responds, then building it slowly into your marketing strategy too.
4. E-commerce Advertising on Social Media
Social media advertising is big business, and giants like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest have introduced e-commerce features to enable users to make purchases within the app itself.
A survey conducted by Amnia has shown that 56% of consumers will browse social media specifically to look for new items to purchase.
Social media is always growing, developing and offers the ability to reach large numbers of highly targeted people for prices significantly lower than with traditional advertising. The possibilities are almost endless, and with the opportunity to really get creative, it’s high time that e-commerce brands start building this into their social media strategy.
How to Use Social Media Advertising
Advertising on social media can be used in various different ways, to build brand awareness, get seen by new customers and make those all-important sales.
- Use highly targeted Facebook ads to reach more people with your content
- Drive traffic to a freebie or ‘opt-in’ to start collecting a database of interested email addresses
- Run targeted ads for specific products or services to people who already know and like your business, helping you to make that all-important sale.
5. Social Media Influencers
We’ve touched on this earlier in the article, but collaborating with social media influencers can be big for your business. From tea to tech, we see brands across the board tapping into this wealth of talent to increase their reach and create credibility and trust in their audience. Social media influencers have worked hard to build a tribe of highly engaged followers. Especially big on Instagram, if you get your product featured in one of their images, your brand will really benefit.
Google Trends has shown that the popularity and success of print advertising is rapidly declining, and 57% of online users are implementing the latest ad blocker technology, meaning traditional marketing techniques used by brands no longer cut the mustard. Influencers, however, are on the rise, and present a new way for marketers to overcome the mistrust that consumers feel about advertising.
How to Use Influencers
- Recruit influencers or brand ambassadors with an audience similar to yours, to promote your products or services to their following
- Offer incentives to encourage sharing further
- Offer affiliate links so that they earn a commission from each of their followers who order.
As these five up and coming trends show, social media and digital marketing are evolving and you can expect to see a lot of progress in the coming year. As a brand, it’s up to you to keep abreast of these trends and look for opportunities to grow your business, boost your competitive edge in the market and increase your brand identity. Ultimately, this will lead to greater user engagement, satisfaction, and a better return on investment for you.
Here at Prototype we believe in creativity and constant innovation. New trends sometimes might be challenging to implement but they are certainly beneficial. Would you like a new approach to your business to increase your audience engagement and lift ROI? Or just simply pull in front of your competitors? Give us a call and we will be more than happy to find your creative solution.