As we move towards the last quarter of the year, I’d like to give an overview of trends we see right now in social media. I think it’s important to take stock of where we’ve been in recent months, and look at what we’re starting out with in 2015.
Pay to play
Advertising budgets are a necessity. We all bemoaned a falling Facebook reach this year, but regardless of the social network, creative organic reach is no longer a competitive enough approach to gain market share. Facebook is set to unveil advertising platform Atlas next week, with the idea of allowing marketers to better connect to audiences across devices. This addition to the market will make the social media advertising game even more competitive, and potentially open up mobile.
Native advertising isn’t going anywhere – everything we’ve been reading about it lately says that it’s a better marker of purchasing intent, that readers tend to share native ads, and that it’s driving clickthroughs better than banners ever did. In a time when consumers prefer to conduct online research, native advertising provides informative, relevant content to target audiences. These audiences are also closer to purchase intent than earlier “spray and pray” audiences.
Anonymity has its appeal
Social users enjoy being able to use social channels in a more private way, away from advertising and public platforms. Networks like Snapchat, Whisper, and Secret offer users a different way to engage – without indicating family members, political affiliations, and employers as data to be harvested.
Digital marketers can cooperatively campaign on various channels to still engage with users. By encouraging follows on Snapchat through Twitter, for example, brands can send out early campaign info and discounts to followers.
We’re all content marketers
As marketing veteran Ann Handley says in her latest book, “Everybody Writes” – “Everything the light touches is content”.
We’re rapidly becoming much more strategic with our content, with data-based precision. To be truly successful in digital marketing and push brands to the forefront, you must have a firm foundation in the principles of content marketing, and understand what each piece of content needs to accomplish.
Employee advocacy is going strong
In the past couple of years, we’ve gone from instilling social compliance initiatives, to educating team members on social practices, to fully embracing employee advocacy programs.
More organizations are now employing employee advocacy technology to cleanly incorporate programs into their company culture. The technology facilitates social sharing while delivering a cohesive brand message, tapping into employee networks, and further developing an internal sense of community. By strengthening these internal processes, more organizations will continue to succeed in developing a thriving social business.
Micro-format communication – know the why
You can’t market with Yo, and Emojli is of no use, either. Don’t overlook the micro-communicators—the more important message here is the psychology of why users are signing up for these platforms.
The short answer is – because they make you laugh. Are you making your audience laugh in creative ways by tapping into trending apps – no matter how ridiculous? If I sold alcohol, I would have tried to recreate the “Drunk in Love” emoji video, because of its great sense of humor.
Overall, I’d say the general mood of social media for business has become more serious, and more data-driven. We’ve embraced the science behind our content, and are becoming much more tactical as the social landscape shifts, and data collection practices are scrutinized. Even though so many of us still operate within organizational silos, the effects and importance of our work have been recognized. 2015 is going to be an excellent year in digital marketing, and I can’t wait to see it unfold.