I blinked and it was August, you guys! Where is the time flying to at Mach speed? Now that we're more than halfway through 2017 (shedding a tear right now) I thought it was a good time to look back on some marketing trends I predicted for the year back in January to see how they're playing out.
Live Video Explosion
Live video is still on the rise but many companies are hesitant for a couple reasons:
Production quality - There are lots of tools to help create professional-looking live videos but they will cost money. Fearful of tech investment that doesn't prove an ROI, some brands seem to be turning to less-than-ideal free alternatives as a compromise between high production and lo-fi video.
Alternatively, brands are spending a hefty budget creating high-quality production because, well, it's video. Don't you need high production? The short answer is no. As I mentioned in my original post, telling a story and taking the viewer on a journey should be weighed more heavily than the production value.
Who's the Talent? - There are two main options: Deploy a representative from the company on behalf of the brand or employ an influencer. Having a company employee act as the face of the brand sounds great in theory but if they're uncomfortable on camera or poor at public speaking, it could end in disaster. Even if you partner with an influencer, if video isn't their primary format they may not work well on camera. Either way, if you find someone who has the knowledge, expertise and lives the brand, work with them to see if video is a viable format for them. Develop talking points and practice, a lot.
Live video is a valuable tool and you should be testing it for your brand. Keep it simple. Go live straight from your phone or computer and practice your content before you go live. You shouldn't sound stiff or rehearsed but you want to feel confident about the order and flow of what you want to say. Provide value your ideal customer isn't going to get anywhere else.
Employee Advocacy Resurgence
Employees sharing your content can increase content visibility and awareness. More specifically, think about each employee and their interaction with the customer throughout their buyer journey. I attended this incredible keynote at Social Media Marketing World all about "The First 100 Days" of the customer life cycle and it was pivotal.
Author, teacher and advisor Joey Coleman works with companies to create attention-grabbing customer experiences. A key part of his "First 100 Days" methodology is to empower employees to create those unforgettable moments for customers, whether there's a complaint or not. This carries into social media and employees singing the company's praises. Think about your social media policy as part of the greater overall company policy. If you trust employees to interact with customers daily and have consequences in place for bad behavior and poor decision making, then extend that into social media.
Create and Curate Quality Content
I'm seeing brands focusing on creating the right strategic content rather than creating content for the sake of it. Another interesting trend I'm seeing is big brands and media companies buying up other media companies to use as an extension of their content house. NBCUniversal purchased Craftsy, an online maker resource and community, to reach more of the maker audience. The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' wife Lauren recently purchase The Atlantic. What she will do with it is yet to be seen. This isn't necessarily new - in 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post and turned it around to be a profitable business. However, I think we're only seeing the beginning of this trend.
Get Smart About Paid Social
Social media has changed so much in the last five years. While the original intent of social was to connect friends and family, it has come so far in connecting brands and customers. The key platforms continue to develop their paid offerings for brands to reach their target in a variety of ways.
One of the latest rollouts from Facebook is Messenger ads, in which a brand can either create a newsfeed ad that drives to Messenger and initiates a conversation with a brand or pops the ad directly into Messenger.
Snapchat is even becoming more small business friendly, offering a self-serve advertising platform to create short term campaigns using geofilters and full-screen ads.
Work With the Data Your Mama Gave Ya
What good is the work you're doing if you can't prove its value? Set goals based on your business objectives. It could be lead generation, web traffic, engagement or awareness, but have a final destination in place so you know what to measure success against along the way. It's also important to keep that primary goal in mind as you begin looking at the vast amounts of data and need to decipher what's what.
Not sure how to set a goal? If you've been on social or running paid campaigns, use past data to set a benchmark. If you're new to the whole darn thing, then set goals based on other types of content or media for the first month and use month-to-month data to set goals until you're at least three months in.
So many great things happening in marketing and particularly in social media this year! If any of these is keeping you up at night, let me know! There's so much great information to share, I could easily write a separate post on each of these topics.
What trend have you seen in 2017? Let me know in the comments.