Why A Small Business Will Benefit From a Content Marketing Strategy 

Content marketing is nothing new, and there’s a reason why it stuck around for so long – because it works. Small business owners who use content marketing to its full potential see 7.8 times higher traffic growth year-on-year, and it costs 62% less than traditional marketing – while pulling in close to thrice as many leads.

Considering that the failure rate of Australian small businesses exceeds 60% within the first three years of operation, something as simple as a content marketing strategy could be the difference between success and shutting up shop.

What makes a small business unique?

There are definite pros to operating in a multinational or large corporation – superior cash flow, for one thing, means you’ll never be without funds for your latest marketing venture. On the other hand, established enterprises are often shackled by sayings like ‘this is how we’ve always done things’ and ‘why should we try something new when what we’re doing works just fine?’

In contrast, a small business operates at the same pace as a start-up or solo entrepreneur. You have the capability to be agile. This means you can research content marketing tactics one day and get started on your strategy the next.

Best of all, you can do content marketing on your own. You don’t need a massive budget to write blogs, to engage on social media and to build a loyal following. It helps to have a team of content experts at your disposal, but there’s no harm in dipping your toe into the content marketing waters to find out how it can boost your business.

Key challenges for small biz owners

So what are some of the key challenges that a content marketing strategy can solve for business owners?

  • Standing out in a crowded market:Content marketing gets your businesses in front of people’s eyes. When the strategy is top-notch, you’ll find that customers will even start to follow your activities.
  • Being seen as reliable: Every business owner wants to build a solid reputation for their reliable services or product offering. So take note that “61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and they are more likely to buy from that company”.
  • Engaging with young consumers: Most young people are glued to their phones all day. And while that’s not exactly a win for society in general, however, it is a positive for business owners. By engaging on social media and using SEO-driven content to reach your target audience, you can eliminate any potential generational gap and target the right audience.

Attract new customers and generate brand awareness through strategy

The key for any marketing strategy should be to engage new audiences. After all, the real reason you’re in business is to make money, right? And to make money you need a constant flow of new and existing customers.

Implementing a content-led marketing strategy does exactly that – it engages a new audience through digital means. And that audience is filled with people who will read your blogs, follow social profiles, and engage with your content.

5 simple steps to kickstart your content marketing strategy

So, what are some of the tactics a small business owner can use to kickstart their content marketing?

  1. Determine who your audience is, where they are and how you can find them (Click Here to download our audience builder tool). Also click here to read more about persona building by none other than Robert Rose.
  2. Outline your short and long-term goals and set them as ‘markers’ in your overall content marketing strategy.
  3. Scope out the competition – what are they doing that works, and how can you beat them at their own game?
  4. K.I.S.S. – in content as in marketing, simple is always best.
  5. Get help when you need it. There’s a wealth of talent out there and sometimes it’s better to invest in professional content marketers so you can spend your time on what’s most important.

 

Ready to put together your own content marketing strategy? Contact the Brandalism team today to find out how we can help you engage the right audiences.

 

You can also read more about content, social media and all things marketing at The Beat.

What is Omnichannel Content Marketing, and does your brand need it?

Should our brands be in one or two channels, or across many?

That is certainly a question we’re all asking ourselves today!

Content marketing guru, Neil Patel calls omnichannel marketing controversial but necessary. I say it’s inevitable.

In order to reach our audience, we need to use the channels where they are most active. But what if your customers are now everywhere?

The marketing landscape today has grown at an extraordinary rate over the last few years, and so have the number of channels connecting people with other people, businesses and brands.

There are almost 200 social media sites! Let alone the long list of other digital platforms that get used every day.

The interesting thing is that people are not afraid to be across many of them if they find the content they want.

Look around you right now – have you got at least two Internet-connected devices at arm’s length? With a touch of a few buttons, you could have access to so many different pieces of content within seconds. But more importantly, you’d also be able to choose which you prefer!

Where did your mind go first? Facebook? Reddit? YouTube?

Ask yourself this

When thinking about where you would go to look next, did you take into consideration where a particular brand would be? Or did you only consider the one you preferred most?

Chances are, it was the latter.

This is the nature of the marketing environment today.

The reality that marketers need to understand is that people still only have one attention span, but so many more ways to spend it, both online and offline.

So, how do you get your content in front of them successfully? Those channel numbers keep growing!

How does this impact individuals?

Everyone has an abundance of choice right at their fingertips when it comes to how they access, interact with and consume content. This provides them with the option to select which ones they like best for each specific need at the time.

There’s a platform available to deliver content they’re looking for in a format they want.

If they’re looking for news and updates about friends and interests, chances are they’re heading to Facebook. For more corporate information, they’re probably checking LinkedIn. Need inspiration? They’re scouring Pinterest or Instagram. And for those live updates? Twitter.

Then there’s blogs and YouTube for ‘how to’ content; and should they want a more human interaction, they’ll come to your store or attend an event.

How does this impact businesses?

With choice and information comes power – and our customers now have them both in spades.

We have to appreciate that people are becoming more discerning with content and more comfortable with self-curation. Because of this, they demand content which engages them when and where they want it – on their terms.

Otherwise, it gets ignored.

If businesses want to earn a piece of our customer’s precious attention, we need to be delivering content that’s ready for them at the right place and at the right time.

This is referred to as omnichannel content marketing.

What is an omnichannel content marketing strategy?

An omnichannel approach to content is where your brand uses multiple platforms to reach your audience and provide a completely seamless customer experience across them all.

Why? Because people access many different channels but have different expectations for each one.

Being present and adapting your content to meet these expectations is what provides your target audience with a consistent, positive user experience. When you do this well, customers will start to build a relationship with your brand in ways they prefer.

Why omnichannel?

Today, people don’t see your content in the order you intend.

They see fragments here and there which they piece together. An omnichannel approach ensures that you’re giving them the whole story, even though it’s inevitably non-linear.

The advantage of an omnichannel content marketing approach is that no matter where your customer picks up their journey with your brand, they’re getting a complete picture which compels them to act.

Remember the “marketing rule of 3”? – where a customer has to see your brand three times before they pay attention? This still applies except, it’s now more like the rule of 10! But all ten must be aligned.

As people interact more with your business over multiple touchpoints (which they are very likely to do), then your omnichannel marketing is there, when they want it, however they want it.

How to master your omnichannel content strategy?

To implement an effective omnichannel approach, your business must produce content that has a consistent look and feel, messaging, goals and objectives across all of your chosen channels, whether it’s online or offline.

Each piece of content must be cohesive and complementary, and perfectly suited to each medium so that your customers can easily move between each and always know it’s your brand.

This way, they get a familiar and welcome feeling, no matter which touchpoint.

For example – if you’re launching an Easter-themed product, then you may support this with:

  • A TV or print ad promoting the products and where to buy them
  • Your website will have an Easter theme with easy navigation to more information
  • The online store has all of the products ready to buy
  • Your Instagram features photos and short videos showing people with the product
  • Your blog is detailing out how the products were made for Easter
  • Instore, you have the range displayed proudly
  • Facebook has colourful ads with the Easter theme

And so on.

Imagine what a comprehensive experience your customer is getting from a united content campaign like this!

When they come across any one of your channels, it works together like a coordinated network with all pieces ‘singing from the same hymnbook’.

Without this omnichannel marketing approach today, chances are your content may be getting missed or your brand forgotten.

For more on omnichannel marketing and brand voice click here

 

Christopher Melotti is a guest blog writer at Brandalism this week. He is a content copywriter and founder of Melotti Media Copywriting. Winner of multiple awards including CMO of the year award by the Australian Marketing Institute, Chris is extremely experienced and passionate in the art of copywriting and content marketing. To read more of this work click here 

Customer Journey Mapping: Why it’s essential for a competitive business

Customers now-a-days go through a myriad of steps before they make their final purchase and this can all be collated into something called a Customer Journey Mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping is a visual flowchart of everything your customer experiences throughout the sales funnel. Think of it like a story that breaks down each element of a customer’s journey with your business. Sounds simple? That’s because it is, at least to get started. It can grow into a big, complex beast if you spend enough time on it, and the benefits are substantial.

Quick customer journey mapping pros

Salesforce put together a really helpful write-up to explain this type of mapping in simple terms. What you should take away from it, though, is the benefits to you directly, namely it:

  • Helps reveal where and when customers interact with your business.
  • Shows you where specific customer needs appear – which you can then apply to your digital strategy.
  • Organises the customer journey into a logical flow.
  • Reveals any gaps in your current strategy.
  • Allows you to concentrate on what’s most important for maximum effectiveness.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say. But why is it so important for you to understand the customer journey? After all, if customers want to buy something from you, they will – right?

It ensures your brand is across any potential behavioural changes

Customers come and go, but the most important ones give you repeat business. This shows that they love what you’re doing, and it probably means your digital sales funnel is smooth and easy to transact with. If you’re lucky, some of those repeat customers will turn into brand ambassadors– singing your praises on social media and bringing in new customers they’ve referred.

But it’s easy to sit back and forget about those customers – especially when you start expecting them to come back to your business time and time again. Without nurturing them, those customers can quickly drop off.

A customer journey map can reveal exactly when something changes in the sales funnel, and most importantly it can show you where any behavioural changes have occurred. Maybe there are bugs or purchasing issues with your online store. Maybe you’ve dropped off social media and people are no longer engaging with you.

When you map it out, you’ll be able to see everything loud and clear – and then you will be able to rectify any issues.

It puts you in the customer’s shoes

Sure, you’re a business owner. But you’re also a customer. You’re a customer every time you go to a store, buy something online, use a service – you’re a customer far more often than a seller.

That means you already understand how frustrating it can be to hide roadblocks in the purchasing funnel. Customer journey mapping puts you – the business owner – into the customer’s shoes and allows you to mimic every step they take.

And the results speak for themselves. Research from McKinsey shows that businesses that address key problem areas in the customer journey – whether that’s design fixes, making it easier to contact customer support, or offering discounts for new buyers – see a 50% increase in customer satisfaction and a 15% decrease in customer-service cost.

It reinforces your brand promise

There might be several reasons you started your business in the first place, but one thing that’s remained constant throughout has been your brand promise. It’s what sets you apart from the competition and helps you stay on course whenever things get challenging.

In order to retain your place in the market and continue delivering what your customers expect, you need to always keep your brand promise in mind. When walking through your customer journey map, ask yourself whether or not you are always delivering on the brand promise.

It reveals missed opportunities

Finally, customer journey mapping not only reveals potential business opportunities, but it reveals the ones you’ve missed. This ensures you never miss out on them again.

A couple of common missed opportunities include:

  • Failing to up sell or cross-sell: Is your sales funnel doing enough to keep your customers interested so they shop around for other products or services? Is your customer service team asking the right questions so they can solve customers’ problems with business solutions?
  • Not offering enough to on-the-fence customers: Maybe that customer would not have abandoned their cart if they’d received an automatic pop-up for an additional discount or bonus.
  • Forgetting about the customer as soon as a sale is complete: Just because you’ve won a sale, that does not mean the transaction is complete. Turn a valued customer into repeat business (or maybe even a brand ambassador) by going the extra mile, whether that’s offering free shipping on their next purchase, helping them set up their product, or anything else that might give them that ‘aha’ moment.

Putting together the customer journey map for your digital strategy is the easy part. The real challenge arrives when you spot all the holes you now have to plug. But once you finally get your customer experience up to the level you deserve, you’ll start seeing benefits.

Why being on-trend isn’t always best practice for your brand

In a complex and overcrowded market, you are bombarded by trend watchers, blogs and social media posts all telling you how you should be jumping on the latest ‘trend’. The real challenge however, is for emerging businesses to locate their true brand identity.

The problem with always following social media trends is that it will only lead you one place: behind the leaders which is not best practise for your brand in the long run. In order to relinquish your role as a ‘follower’ and instead capture your audience through your unique brand identity, you need to absorb the words of brand-building expert Denise Lee Yohn:

“If you want to build a great brand, stop following trends.”

Building your own brand is worth the effort

 It’s easier said than done – after all, if every business owner knew how to brand themselves as a leader, the market would look very different. But it’s worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to forge your own path and cast off the shackles of the ‘trend-follower’.

Common mistake #1:Trend following is easy. It’s fast, it’s simple and for many people it’s effective – at least for the ones who get in before it’s no longer on-trend. But as Yohn writes in Forbes, it “usually causes a brand to stray from its own identity”.

Common mistake #2:Forgetting innovation. No matter what the industry, businesses need to continuously innovate in order to stay ahead of the pack. When you simply follow trends and jump on every new bandwagon that appears, sure you might gain a bit of attention and earn some short-term revenue – but you’ll lose the ambition to go further, do more and try new things, which are essential to crafting your true brand identity.

Forgo short-term on-trend wins for long-term market presence

These mistakes are easy to make, but you can overcome them by recognising the need to stay the course. The real problem arises when you get into a cycle of following trends.

Over the course of several weeks, months and even years of attaching yourself to trends, you’ll start to lose the sense of your own brand identity. And if you’re not careful, that can lead to your business no longer having a unique selling point, and therefore losing its competitive element in the market.

As a write-up in TwoGather succinctly puts it: “Trends are mere tools, but not the key to success.” Rely too much on the short-term benefits of trend following – instead of crafting a strategy for long-term success built on your own unique offering – and the repercussions could be dire, potentially resulting in the demise of your business.

You can still leverage current trends – in moderation

 But it’s not all doom and gloom. You can still follow trends – and even use them to your advantage – without stripping your brand of its identity. The trick is to adopt them in moderation, and to be conscious not to stray too far from what makes you you.

There’s a reason people follow brands. Some are current customers, others have friends who are major fans of the brand. But in a study conducted by getSatisfaction, two reasons stand out above all others:

  • People follow brands because of special offers or deals:5% on Twitter; 36.9% on Facebook.
  • People follow brands because of interesting or entertaining content:7% on Twitter; 18.2% on Facebook.

These two factors make up a massive share of the reason behind people following brands, and central to both are current social media trends. So, there’s definitely a time and a place to leverage them. The key is finding that perfect moment, and not doing it so often that you lose your identity in the process.

The power of the egg

 No doubt everyone is familiar with the mass hysteria around Instagram’s @world_record_egg. Smashing the record for most-liked online post on any social media platform in history, the meme blew up in a matter of days.

In the world of social media, savvy businesses understand that trends fizzle as quickly as they explode, which is how IKEA Saudi Arabia managed to leverage the Instagram egg trend to market its two-pack egg holder set. Not overly salesy – just a fun play on the remarkable rise of the egg with a nod to the ‘fun’ factor.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by IKEA Saudi – ايكيا السعودية 🇸🇦 (@ikeasaudiarabia) on

Note how the page hasn’t touched the Instagram egg subject since? They got in and out without driving the fun into the ground.

Top tips for developing your brand identity

Ready for some hard-and-fast tips to embracing your true brand identity?

    • Start at the beginning: From the outset, you should have a clear vision for your business and what sets it apart. Build your brand around that vision rather than trying to pick and choose your ‘identity’ from fleeting trends.
    • Find your voice: Your customers want to engage with a human, so integrate personality into your offering – whether that’s your product or service, or how you communicate with people online.
    • Listen:Feedback is the best indicator of whether or not you’re on the right track. Use it to guide you along your growth path.
    • The best brands are consistent: Leaders understand not everything they do will be perfect, nor will it resonate with everyone at all times. But what’s most compelling about the top brands is how they are consistent no matter what. They commit to the brand they’ve worked so hard to build – but they also understand it’s okay to rebrand. In all things business related, you should gain an understanding of the market before setting yourself on a specific path. Yes, it’s okay to jump on trends, it’s okay to forge your own path and, it’s okay to change directions if what you’re doing isn’t working. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to domination – you need to discover your identity for yourself.

Looking for assistance on all things content marketing?

 Contact us 

 

How to Improve Your Facebook Ad Relevance Score in 3 Simple Steps

For the past few years, when brands put up an ad on Facebook, that ad is continuously evaluated and given a Faecbook Ad Relevancy Score.

But what is Ad Relevance? And how can you make sure that your promoted social posts get the highest score possible?

What is Ad Relevance?

When your brand starts a campaign with a promoted post, Facebook will continuously give the post a score out of ten starting from when your ad reaches 500 impressions.

This rating is based on a plethora of criteria, with the main three being:

  1. How well the ad is performing when it comes to your set campaign goal (clicks, conversions, etc)
  2. Engagements like reactions and comments on the post, and,
  3. Negative feedback, such as users selecting the “Hide Ad” option.

All in all, a score of 7 or higher means you’ve done a pretty good job when it comes to Ad Relevance.

What is your Facebook Ad Relevancy Score?  Image source: Sprout Social

Why does it matter?

Your campaign’s Ad Relevance score can end up having a large impact on total performance. The more relevant your ad is, the less Facebook will charge you for reaching your selected audience.

So if your ad has a high relevance score, you can expect a lower total cost of the campaign, which is great no matter how you slice it.

On top of that, because the Ad Relevance Score is constantly updating, you’ll be able to accurately track the life-cycle of your promoted post, as the score will steadily lower as your target audience grows tired of the ad. When the score dips below seven, then you know it’s time to change.

How can you improve your Ad Relevance Score?

So, now that you know why your social promotion should have a high Relevance score, the bigger question is how?

Audience is everything

First and foremost, to be relevant to your audience, you had better make sure that you know who they are. That’s why when it comes to Ad Relevance, the more granular the audience, the better.

It’s much harder to make a social post about Pet Insurance relevant to everyone aged 18-34 than it is to confirmed pet owners.

 

An example from Facebook of an ad with a decent design and copy targeted to the perfect audience. Image source: Adespresso

 

Facebook already has a plethora of tools to help you find your audience, so be sure to use Custom Audiences, target people who have interacted with previous ads, capture e-mails for retargeting, and use A/B testing to optimise to better-performing audience segments.

A/B Testing

Ad Relevance is a great way to test what kind of messaging your audience best responds to. Test different CTAs, copy or creative imagery using A/B testing, and you can use those posts’ Relevance Scores to work out which strategy works best for you.

Offer Value

Lastly, it’s important that no matter who you’re targeting, they feel like your promoted post offers something of value. Whether this comes in the form of entertainment, education or special offers and giveaways, providing value to your targeted audience is the best way to ensure they react positively to your post. In turn, that will make sure your Ad Relevance Score is as high as possible.

So, as always, the content itself is king. Make sure yours is as engaging as possible.

Read Next: Facebook’s Algorithm Update

6 Steps to a Successful Community Management Strategy

Being a great community manager is more than simply dealing with customer complaints and responding to customers with templated responses. Being a community manager is about creating engagement, responding to the fans of your pages in a friendly and timely manner and creating communities around your brand. To that end, here are six ways to help you successfully manage and grow your online community.

Be Warm

This is the first and most important rule of community management. Above all, be friendly and be honest. Both are qualities that will be greatly appreciated by your audience. Layer your brand’s unique personality on top of that, and it’s an excellent first step.

More than just friendliness, though, it’s important that you keep your audience engaged.

The good news is, that’s easy to do. Whether you’re posting regular polls on your brand’s Instagram Story or asking follower questions on Facebook, you just need to keep giving your audiences chances to engage with your brand.

Throwing in the occasional competition or follower deal or giveaway won’t hurt, either!

Be Knowledgeable

An important part of community management is being a thought leader and an oracle of sorts. Your community will look to you for answers and you’ll need to be able to provide them for your community!

Not only do you have to keep your finger on the pulse of the needs, wants and questions of your community, but also the broader industry as a whole. The first step to doing this is to sign up to industry newsletters and participate in LinkedIn groups. The second step is to use tools to make it easier to stay on top of industry updates.

Keep abreast of what your competitors are doing by using private Twitter lists and regularly checking what they’re posting. You can also set up Google Alerts for any keywords that are particularly relevant to your industry or use listening software like Mention or Synthesio to monitor key alerts.

Amassing this kind of broader information will ensure you can add value for your followers.


How can social media listening add value to your brand?

Be Present

Great community management requires an ‘always-on’ approach. Not only do you have to be present, but you have to be engaged.

No one can be online 24/7 responding to the needs of their brand community, so grid your time to ensure you’re online when your community is most active. Often you can preempt this – for example – if you’re launching a new product or releasing tickets to an event, ensure you’re online for this to be able to quickly respond to consumer questions.

TIP: During holidays and out of office hours, set an automated response that will be sent to anyone who contacts your page. This ensures your customers feel like they’re being heard. You can often set these messages to go straight to your inbox so you’re on top of who you need to reply to when you get back to the office.

Streamline the Process

If you’re looking for ways to make the community management process easier, invest in scheduling and community management tools to automate the process.

Here are some of our favourites:

Not only can you schedule posts ahead of time, but tools like Sprout Social allow you to respond to your Facebook and Instagram comments from within the platform, streamlining the amplification and management process.

Have an Escalation Process for Managing Negative Comments

Negative comments are always going to pop up from time to time, so while you can’t avoid them, you can implement an escalation process to better manage them and avoid surprises.

Here are a few quick tips to ensure negative comments don’t spiral out of control:

  • Set your profanity filter on Facebook to automatically hide comments that contain offensive language
  • Update the ‘About’ section of your Facebook profile with a terms of use policy. This policy should warn users that you will not accept trolling or offensive comments and notify them they may be banned should they breach the terms of use policy. 
  • Stay on top of Facebook’s guidelines and know when it’s appropriate to hide a comment or ban a user from your page. Remember that you can’t just ban users for posting complaints about your brand. If a user does post a complaint, always try to resolve it offline. Only if they use offensive language or troll you do you have grounds to ban them from your page.

The key to managing negative comments is to keep on top of them before they blow out. Ensure you’re regularly checking the comments on your page, particularly around new product launches and other events that could attract extra attention.

Tip: Map our your escalation process and circulate it throughout your business so everyone is aware of the procedure! Image source: Digital Marketer

Foster a community

In the end, community management is all about creating a community! 

The key to social media is to be social. Share user-generated-content, respond to all reviews and testimonials and use Instagram to cultivate one-on-one conversations with your followers.

If fostered correctly, people will build a network around their shared love of your brand, and that’s when you know you’ve got a real community.

Read next: 10 Social Media Tips for Small Business

Stay Social: The Latest and Greatest in Social Media in January

January is here, and we can only hope your New Year’s resolutions are lasting longer than ours. Thankfully, we’re still here and committed to providing you with your monthly roundup of all the top stories in social media marketing!

Facebook is about friends, family, and paid branded content.

If there’s one thing you can say about Facebook, it’s that the platform has never really stopped developing since its launch, and it looks like that trend is going to continue into 2018.

The megacorporation recently announced that some big changes are coming to our newsfeeds: we’re going to start seeing a lot more of our friends’ posts and far fewer of the organic posts released by brand pages.

What do you think of Facebook’s algorithmic changes?

That being said, no changes appear to be planned or announced when it comes to paid and sponsored content. However  organic reach has been on the steady decline, and it remains to be seen how paid content will stack up against the algorithm change – watch this space!

Instagram adds Recommendations, and you can go Live with a friend!

Since the start of the year, you may have noticed that your feed isn’t just showing up the people and hashtags you follow, it’s giving you a list of recommended posts and users.

This undoubtedly comes as a move to enable brands and influencers to find audiences relevant for them more quickly, and while that’s great for them, some users may find the inability to disable this feature a bit of a turnoff.

Hot on the heels of that news, there’s also the fact that people and brands going Live on Instagram can now add a guest to a livestream. There can only be one on-camera guest at a time, however the people in the network of both hosts will receive a notification of their friends’ Live status, leading to the potential for greater reach and engagement.

The more the merrier! Instagram has just enabled users to add guests to their Live stream. Souce:Lifehacker

We can’t wait to see how this will change the way influencers act with their audiences and how marketers capitalise on the immediacy of Live content.

Snapchat really likes ads.

Snapchat has kicked off 2018 with a controversial redesign in the way users access Stories. Now, rather than having a separate page for direct Snaps and another for Stories, they both share the same space.

The change was implemented as a way to incorporate the ad-inclusive Stories within the previously ad-free domain of Snaps. While this is great for brands and Snapchat’s bottom line, users aren’t too happy and have been airing how they felt across social media.

Only time will tell if the change sticks, but Snapchat are continuing to roll out updates to increase the ad-revenue they receive from their platform, including rumours of non-skip three second ads and better integration of external links.  

There have also been murmurs of a Stories everywhere rollout. This would allow external third parties to share Snapchat content, much in the same way that Tweets can be embedded in article pages. The idea being that the broader the reach, the better the result for Snapchat.

Whatever the case, the social media marketing wheel just keeps on rolling, and we’ll always be here to keep you on track.

Read next: How to find an authentic influencer for your brand.

Unmissable Predictions for Social Media and Content Marketing in 2018

The world of social media marketing moves at a pace with more twists and turns than new Game of Thrones theories (and seriously, there are a lot of those).

With that in mind, 2018 is set to be a dynamic year in the world of social media. Here are our top predictions for social media in 2018.

We’ll do it Live.

Live streaming has been around for a while. Platforms for gamers, like Twitch, have been part of “live” culture for years now, but that was always something you needed a lot of equipment and a lot of bandwidth to achieve. It was popular, but it certainly wasn’t mainstream.

But with the dawn of 5G on the imminent horizon and smartphones with more processing power than a Boeing 747, Live is about to hit the big time.

All of the major platforms have backed live streams in some way, and Instagram is doubling down on the product by consistently expanding its features, allowing people to add guests to live stream. With 80% of audiences reporting they would rather watch a live stream than read a branded blog, and it’s safe to say that the Live environment is about to go mainstream.

Live Instagram content makes it easier for brands to be in the moment that their audiences are looking for information and entertainment. Source: Instagram

Facebook gets a new algorithm.

2017 was a rough year for Facebook who came under pressure for allowing fake news and hate groups to surface. In 2018 they have publically committed to improving the situation by changing the algorithm to prioritise posts from family and friends. 

It’s yet to be seen how this will impact publishers and brands on Facebook, but we can presume it will be harder for these parties to cut through and reach their intended audiences. It will also be interesting to see if the effect of channelling more paid spend into Facebook marketing stacks up against the new algorithm.

Marketers will need to be strategic with their Facebook content, developing new ways to create engaging content that encourages audiences to join the conversation.


Facebook has new rules for marketers and publishers in 2018.

It’s finally time to Augment your Reality.

We’ve been saying this since last year, but seriously guys, Augmented Reality is about to kick off.

Both Facebook and Snapchat have developed their own AR software with World Effects and 3D World Lenses, and they’re both likely to continue developing that product offering as the year goes by.

The big question is, how can smaller players use Augmented Reality in their marketing? Or is this strictly a space for bigger brands with bigger budgets?


How will you use Augmented Reality this year to increase engagement with your audience?

All hail the Gram.

800 million active users, 25 million business users and 40 billion photos shared to date – Instagram has changed the way we share and consume content.

With constant updates and the introduction of Live, Stories, Highlights and Insights, the photo-sharing app is showing no signs of slowing down in 2018 and will become the essential platform for businesses who want to reach an engaged audience, through both their business profile and influencer pages.

2018 is shaping up to be a big one so stay tuned for our monthly social media updates to keep up with the latest industry trends!

Stay Social: December Social Media Updates You Can’t Miss

It’s December, the holidays are almost here, and we’re all gearing up for New Year, new me. But, before you start planning your resolutions, it’s time for your monthly roundup of all the top stories in social media marketing!

Facebook won’t do it Live.

You may have noticed something missing from your Facebook homepage over the last week. Can you guess what it is?

The Live Ticker is gone from the right side of the page, which means you’ll no longer be able to see what your friends are liking, sharing and doing in real time.

What this means is that Facebook is starting to shift more towards Stories as well as newsfeed content. 

For brands, this makes it all the more vital to not only pay for a presence on the Newsfeed, but also to create content that engages and cuts through the noise.

In addition, Facebook is rolling out augmented reality in Messenger with World Effects. You can now add arrows, word bubbles or even stickers and emojis to the photos you take in the messaging app.

Augment your reality with 3D shapes in Facebook World Effects! Source: Facebook

With sponsored AR filters now available on Snapchat, the Messenger version is definitely a space that brands should be keeping an eye on in the near future.

Snapchat AR is brought to you by…

This year, Snapchat has been on a mission to make its platform friendlier to advertisers, and they’ve just introduced two new features that do this in a big way.

Sponsored Stories can now feature on the Discover page, alongside all the regular organic content that appears there. Brands can use the feature to curate 3 to 10 photos or videos to tell their story, and can even add a CTA to swipe to a purchase page or website.

The platform now also allows brands to create and promote AR filters with “World Lens”. BMW recently trialled the feature when promoting their X2 model, which users could drop into any environment their camera was focussing on.


User’s Snapchat’s new “World Lens” feature with the BMW X2 model.

On top of those, with image recognition coming to recommend certain filters for certain types of photos, there could also come a day where that feature is used to promote branded filters, AR or even Stories.

Instagram is getting new Highlights.

It’s not just on Facebook that Stories are a big deal. Instagram has added Story Highlights to every user’s page, a new feature with which Instagrammers can group their favourite Stories and share them on their profile pages.

Not only is this a great way for users to highlight their interests, it’s also a powerful tool for brands wanting to show off more of their personality. Every brand has a Story to tell, and Highlights adds another dimension in being able to do just that.


A new way to express yourself- Instagram Highlights allows you to make highlights out of any Instagram story you’ve shared in the past. Source: Instagram

Throw in the official launch of hashtag following and the testing of an official regram button, and it’s clear the platform is still developing in new and exciting ways for all of its users.

And that about does it for December!

Read next: Best Practices to Increase Your Social Media Conversions

Here’s 8 Tips For Taking Beautiful Instagram Pics

Are you addicted to your Instagram feed? Do you diarise your day through Instagram stories, or create polls to help you decide what to get for lunch? With over 800 million users overall, Instagram is a key platform for not only creating and showcasing beautiful content, but for also connecting with an engaged audience. Whether you are looking to increase visibility in your market space, drive sales or connect with a community of like-minded individuals, watch this video for 8 tips that will spark fresh ideas and help improve the quality of your content!

 

Want to stay ahead of the trends?

Get our really useful (non-annoying) emails