The digital marketing industry is constantly evolving and growing, requiring companies to pivot their strategies to accommodate the latest trends. While the most important facet of content marketing is that your content actually resonates with your target audience, it is also important to stay abreast of changes that are happening in the field of digital marketing.
This is especially true when it comes to social media, which can change radically from one day to the next. A single hashtag can transform an entire market and a software update can completely negate the hard work that you’ve put into your content marketing strategy.
So, how does your business or brand stay on top of these ever-changing content marketing trends? Here are seven key tips to stay ahead of the emerging social media and content marketing trends of 2018:
1. More mobile-ready content
Most people around the world are seeing your content on their mobile phones, so it makes sense that your media should be fitted to accommodate the mobile market. In fact, according to comScore’s 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report, Facebook was the most used mobile app of the entire year, followed by Instagram and Snapchat. This should inspire you to create content that works especially well for small screens on the go.
This is also true for your website, as well. If you create quality mobile content that entices potential customers to head to your website, then be sure to have the website ready for when they come! There is nothing more frustrating when a website doesn’t format properly with a smartphone and can cost you the business of that potential customer. Formatting for mobile is fairly easy to do and is often included in website design packages already, but it doesn’t hurt to continuously check in on it to ensure that your website is ready for your customers.
2. Richer forms of content—especially video
This year has been dubbed the Year of the Video on all content marketing blogs, so pay close attention This can include full videos, live-streaming, Instagram Stories, or even GIFs. The idea is that the content is more than just an image and gives an honest peek into the behind-the-scenes of your brand.
Another fun way to add more oomph to your content is by creating polls that users can engage with. Instagram offers the option to create a poll within their Instagram Stories and Twitter allows for a Twitter poll. By utilizing the polls, you are not only creating content, but you are also creating content that relies on engagement. This can be especially helpful if you’re struggling to get consistent engagement from your followers.
3. Ephemeral content will provide the best engagement rate
Ephemeral content is already exploding on the market and can be seen in Snapchat and Instagram today. This type of content is short-lived and is automatically deleted after 24 hours. While this can be frightening to marketers, who undoubtedly work hard to create beautiful content, it is simply the way of the future, especially if you’d like to access millennials and generation Z.
The major benefit of ephemeral content is that it is seen as more authentic, providing a perspective behind the brand or company that is otherwise kept behind closed doors. The other aspect of ephemeral content that works to your advantage as a marketer is that millennials and generation Z both are slaves to the FOMO (fear of missing out) phenomenon and so are more likely to engage if the content will soon disappear. Not sure how to access your target market on Snapchat? Try implementing QR codes with Snapchat. This allows users to find you easily and quickly.
4. Encourage user-generated feedback
People trust other people, for better or for worse. If a brand has a lot of user feedback and review (and hopefully mostly positive), then potential customers are more likely to give your product or brand a try. This doesn’t mean that you can simply tweet positive feedback or post a quick photo to Instagram. Instead, consider getting creative with the user-generated feedback so that it is authentic, relevant, and believable.
One way to collect user-generated feedback is simply to ask! Reach out to existing customers to see if they’d be willing to leave a review on your Facebook page or provide a testimonial. You can make it a fun exercise by including a free downloadable worksheet or by asking them to post a fun video or image of your product to their personal account. Customers are usually pretty open to this and like feeling like they’re a part of the team, so don’t be afraid to ask!
5. Content that engages audiences on a personal level will be liked the most
With the advent of the Internet, most social media platforms have become oversaturated with useless information, aggressive ads, and lots of silly pictures. Your target market, no matter the niche, is not interested in more of the same. Instead, create content that is more personalized and that comes from a storytelling approach. Users want to know that your brand is not only relevant to them but that the people behind the brand are just like them.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by launching an influencer campaign. Influencers are people on your preferred social platform that have a lot of followers and have a transparent and strong relationship with their followers. When the influencer shares your product or brand with the followers, ideally your target market, your brand gets major trustworthy points that would otherwise not be feasible. TRIBE is a great platform to connect you with influencers in your target market.
6. Investment in emerging talent
There are truly very few experts in the digital marketing field compared to how many people are simply playing catch-up with the latest trends. But if you invest in an individual that can reliably create quality content, who are highly organized, and are tech-savvy, then you can go a long way with your social media marketing strategy. Websites like Upwork and Freelancer are a good place to start out for budget friendly talent, though LinkedIn will help you zero in on the experts.
7. Use bots when you can help it
With all the changes and emerging trends, many brands forget about the core principle of social media: brand engagement. It is incredibly important to continuously engage with your target niche, whether that means following and liking relevant user content or responding to comments on your own content.
Running a business is a lot of work and most people simply don’t have time to authentically engage all hours of the day and night. This is why social bots are becoming even more popular than ever.
One service that helps brands all over the world with this is Social Growr at https://socialgrowr.com/. With Growr, you can indicate your target niche via relevant hashtags, and the service automatically likes and follows relevant users within your niche. This allows you to spend your valuable time creating more content, solidifying your marketing plan, and improving your overall business.
There will likely be even more changes this coming year and even perhaps from month to month. This means that the role of social media managers and marketers is ever expanding and changing. This is a very exciting time for content marketing and social media. With a few clear guidelines and helpful tools, your brand should be able to follow along seamlessly.