4 Digital Marketing Trends for Your Business
|Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.|
4 Digital Marketing Trends for Your Business
Every new year comes with predictions of the trends in digital marketing that will affect how you promote your business and interact with your customers. Some of the trends for this year may sound familiar because they’ve been talked about for several years now. Many of those are now more likely to be important to your marketing efforts because of advancements in technologies and changes in how people are using their mobile devices and social media over time.
Here are four trends to examine as potentially useful for your business and your marketing, communications, and sales efforts.
1. Video: Use More Video in Your Messaging
Every year, marketers tout video as the “next big thing.” Video content can attract more attention than text and as attention spans continue to decrease, video can say more in less time with less effort, letting you get your message across quickly to potential customers.
Video can be used for brand awareness, product demonstrations, providing helpful resources, and showcasing your expertise. More than anything, video helps you tell the story about your brand even in videos as short as 10 to 15 seconds in duration.
All the major social networks support video. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all let you upload video and also create video straight from their mobile apps including live streaming video. You can pin video on Pinterest, make videos and embellish them in Snapchat using stickers, filters and text, and upload video to YouTube, of course.
You can also create moving images using apps like Boomerang for Instagram or uploading your videos to sites like Gifs.com where you can create your own custom animated gifs.
2. Customer Service: Provide More Customer Service Through Social Media
If you’re ignoring your Facebook Page and the comments and reviews your customers are posting there, you’re missing a huge customer service opportunity and could be putting your company’s reputation in jeopardy. Social media gives consumers unprecedented power to voice their opinion about you, your products or services and to be heard by dozens, hundreds or thousands of others.
Paying attention to what others post about your company is more important than ever as is having a plan in terms of how you will track and respond to comments. A good social media marketing practice is to acknowledge positive and even neutral comments. However, negative comments take a lot more thought to handle them properly.
Train your team in your customer service process specifically for social media. Determine remedies for customer service issues. Revisit customer complaints regularly to see where there may be a problem within your company that needs to be resolved. If you handle customer service properly in social media, you can help de-escalate situations and end up with happier, more loyal customers.
3. Content: Publish Less But Better Content
While social networks like Pinterest and Twitter seem to require more constant content publishing than others, overall you are better served by planning out a good portion of your content and paying more attention to the quality of the content you post. Frequent posting doesn’t work if you’re pushing out weak content that doesn’t serve your customer’s needs and interests.
Think of your social media marketing in terms of an editorial calendar where you craft content that ties into themes and events relevant to your brand and your audience. Posting and responding live on a daily basis is important for real engagement with your followers, however, you need to also provide messages and tell stories that help your customers and prospects understand who you are and what you offer.
Post less frequently online and make sure what you do publish serves a purpose rather than just filling space. Provide how-to information, prompt your followers to take action, educate and inform, inspire and motivate. Make each post count and allocate some advertising dollars to boost the most important posts to increase their visibility.
4. Customer Touch Points: Create Customer Experiences Blending Online and Offline
When you think of online marketing, you should also be thinking about offline marketing and how both forms of communication can play off one another and reach your customers in several places and in multiple ways. Today’s consumer is accustomed to getting their information about companies, products and services in multiple ways.
You don’t have to have a presence everywhere, but make sure that when someone finds you on Facebook, they can immediately call you or map your location from your Facebook Page. When they enter your place of business, make it easy for them to find you online and connect with you there. Create an experience for your customer where they can find you and interact with you regardless of where they are at a given time.
Before you hop on any marketing trend, do a careful assessment of the potential costs of pursuing new marketing tactics versus the potential benefits. Don’t get led down an expensive and ineffective marketing path simply to follow a trend. If the trend isn’t relevant or useful to your business or your customers, you don’t have to adopt it, but don’t ignore new ways of reaching your customer and strengthening your relationship with them.
Read other business articles by Aliza