It’s exciting out there! The digital marketing Landscape is constantly adapting and evolving and it seems like every day there is a new trend surfacing, ready to take the digital world by storm. It can be daunting out there, but don’t worry we’ve collected 5 of the most essential trends to incorporate into your brand plans in the coming year.
1. Live streaming
It’s no secret that video is king on social platforms; 8 million videos are viewed every day on Facebook after all! However, Facebook’s live video streaming services are consistently outperforming all other forms of social content.
The key to a successful Live stream is to capitalize on the audience’s fear of missing out and building suspense; whether your sharing a sneak peek at a new product or releasing some exiting new information, the spontaneous feeling of live content is a great way to connect to your loyal audience and generate fresh interest and buzz around your brand.
Another great feature of live streaming is ability to gather real time interactions and engagement from your audience. Audience reactions and comments become an integral part of any stream, which also adds to the excitement and hype levels.
Try creating a stream where you encourage audience members to comment to make an action happen. Or you could showcase an unpredictable conclusion to an event that could happen at any time so viewers can’t look away, or even use reaction emojis to take a real time group poll. The possibilities are endless and the rewards can be fantastic for brands that dare to try something different.
2. Influencer marketing
Celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing are nothing new to the industry; in fact they’ve been an integral part of many media plans for years. What is new is the strategy involved when choosing the right influencer route for your brand.
From the High end celebrity endorsement of the golden age of advertising, to the high powered social media influencer with their millions of followers and subscribers, the big hitters will always be an option for brands to bank on. However, audiences in the digital age become increasing savvy and in some cases skeptical of high profile personality endorsements and are instead seeking what they perceive as genuine reviews from people they feel they can trust. The potential solution to this market shift may be micro influencers.
What is a micro influencer I hear you say? Well sometimes the best things really do come in small packages, a micro influencer is an individual who has a smaller but much more loyal fan base than your average YouTube or Instagram celebrity. While their reach is smaller, they statistically have much higher engagement with their niche audiences and therefore may potentially hold more persuasion power for any brand that chooses to work with them.
A Micro influencer strategy may in fact be better value for your brand. By dividing your influencer budget over a number of specially chosen micro influencers you can both increase the reach and the potential loyal engagement while creating a multi-faceted, cross-pollinating campaign by using many different voices.
3. Short shelf life content
From Snapchat and Instagram stories to the more recent Facebook iteration, short shelf life content is decidedly here to stay. Audiences find this ‘self destructing’ content addictive and hard to put down for fear of missing out on something special. The premise is simple but effective: you snooze you loose. Utilizing this sense of urgency is a great technique to help your campaign and message cut through the overcrowded noise of the digital landscape and can instantly capture attention.
The temporary, ephemeral nature of these stories means it’s the perfect arena for brands to experiment and get creative with new ideas and techniques, such as limited time offers or Brand ambassador Q&A’s. Putting an expiration date on your content means that you will encourage decisive action as a response to the time limit and may possibly drive more traffic to your website as a result.
A great way to incorporate short shelf life content into your campaign is to combine the tactic with influencer marketing. By allowing brand ambassador or loyal customer “take overs” for a limited 24 hours on your social stories you can encourage interaction and create a fun, multi dimensional campaign.
4. Psychological techniques
The key to successful Social media marketing is encouraging engagement, but what makes a person push the button and give a piece of content their seal of approval by sharing, liking and commenting?
One way to encourage those clicks is to create a sense of exclusivity and giving the sense of discovery. This plumbs into our hardwired competitive nature and desire to be the first and to be seen as interesting and clever. (Don’t fib we all do it! ) A great way to capitalize on this instinct is to create content that includes interesting and obscure facts, quotable statistics and other tidbits that can give a person that ‘found it first’ feeling of accomplishment.
Another way to use psychological tactics to push engagement is to meme-ify your content. Memes tap straight into our reward centres by evoking an emotional response and reflecting our own experiences back at us. We are inherently social creatures who crave interaction and thrive on relatable content and shared experiences. This is where the internet’ s favourite pastime comes in.
Memes and virally relatable content act as an indicator for a person’s online personality and allow a sense of being connected to others through the shared joke. Keep your content tag-worthy by keeping the tone light, relevant and by identifying the shared traits and experiences of your targeted audience. Tread carefully however as trying to hard to be ‘relatable’ can end up alienating your audience if not undertaken by experts.. which leads me to my next point…
5. Marketing to Millenials and Gen Z
Millennials have become the largest generation with arguably the strongest buying power, ignore them or talk down to them at your peril! Millennials, with Gen Z hot on their heels, contain the first wave of people who don’t remember a time without the internet and are therefore incredibly digitally savvy brands need to continue to up their game and not become left out in the cold.
You may be tempted to talk down to or simplify your content for the younger generation but this would be a mistake, Generation Z and millennials are on track to become the most educated generations in living memory, so don’t underestimate their intelligence and savvy.
In order to stay in favour of the younger generations its essential to be authentic, avoid try hard clichés and never be afraid to try something bold and original. These digital natives can spot a tired marketing technique or a transparent attempt to jump on a bandwagon and ‘appeal to the kids’ from 50 paces. But all is not lost! Instead brands need to invest in brave and exciting creativity to stay relevant, authentic and fresh.
Avoid the click bait trend as well as traditional pop ups as many millennials find this style of marketing untrustworthy and not worth their time. Instead focus on making a genuine connection with your audience by offering value to your interactions. These connections can be made through informative content marketing, or through brand loyalty schemes and analyzing data capture. By learning to communicate with the up and coming generations through worthwhile creative offerings a brand can secure its future in the market place.
Author: Sarah-Anne Forteith.