6 Digital Marketing Trends and Why They Can Work for You

Six Digital Marketing Trends

Are you unsure about which social media trends will work for you? Is LinkedIn worth your investment? Do you need to pay to play to be on Facebook?

Things are constantly shifting on the digital marketing landscape. But that’s good news for people who stay on top of trends and know what they’re doing.

With that in mind, here are six actionable digital marketing trends that marketers in (the business-to-business) space can implement right now, with the confidence that they will have the longevity to keep paying off over the long term.

1. Dark Social Media

You might be surprised and frustrated to learn that your social media content is actually performing better than you think.

You’re already tracking how your content gets shared on public channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. But you also need to know how to track it on private channels, also called dark social media.

Public methods only account for about 16% of your total shares. The remaining 84% get shared via email, instant messaging or text messages.

In fact, usage of the top four messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) now exceeds the combined usage of the top four social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram).

How can my business leverage this?

You can track your customers’ journey by using a smarturl service, such as Kontexturls. A smart URL is a unique link (usually shortened and white-labeled for branding and/or campaign recognition), which contains additional tracking parameters and analytics behind the scenes. When a smart URL is created, it can be engineered to report on various data points based on your requirements.

As your customers share these links within their networks, you can better understand what content is driving them to take an action. If you develop an off-site customer journey, where you put links on different channels, you will be better able to understand the performance of each step of your customer journey in each channel.

Make these a part of your content and social media campaigns, and you will have a much better idea of how people share your content and each step to get them back to you.

2. Influencer Marketing

On a simple level, influencer marketing is getting people with a large social following to talk about your company. But executing that is actually rather complex.

Properly executed, successfully tapping into an influencer can give you some of your biggest marketing wins. It’s been estimated that influencer marketing will drive 11 times more return on investment than all other forms of digital media.

That’s because influencers aren’t celebrities. They’re respected by their audience and their opinions can drive purchase decisions. In fact, 63% of 18- to 24-year-olds would buy a YouTuber-Endorsed Product, versus a celebrity endorsement.  This means they’re more likely to buy a vitamin water if it’s endorsed by a fitness guru they follow, versus a celebrity in a commercial.

Celebrity endorsement gives a product or service visibility. But an influencer’s testimony delivers it to your customers, pre-approved by an expert.

How can my business leverage this?

This process needs to be approached tactfully. Because the second somebody becomes a social media influencer, they become aware of the fact that companies now want access to their following. So they will see you coming, so to speak.

Here is how you identify and approach an influencer:

  1. Find as many influencers in your field as possible. Some may not be interested in your brand. So by creating a list of more than you need, you give yourself better odds of gaining some traction. If you want 5 influencers to be part of your campaign, list your top 5 choices, plus 20-50 more as alternates.
  1. Allow influencers to take control. These influencers know their brand and audience better than you. Being over-controlling in a photo shoot or product placement segment will not make influencers happy. Give them as much information as you can, but also be sure to step back and use their voice for your brand.

  2. Contact them well in advance of asking for something. Building a relationship with influencers takes time and energy. If you start building a relationship right when you want something from them, the chances of it working out are not as strong as if you laid some groundwork months ahead of time. Also, when the time comes, be sincere and clear with why you want their influence to be part of your marketing.
  1. Be clear about what you want in exchange for what you are giving them – either money or products or access. Also, use an agreement to spell out responsibilities and expectations.
  1. Track the impact of each influencer. Using a smarturl service, such as Kontexturls. You will be able to provide them with links back to your site or to a landing page and measure the effectiveness of each influencer in driving traffic. Influencers also like to know how well they are doing.

3. Live Video

It’s estimated that 79% of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.  At the same time, 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with other people.  No matter who your customers are, they watch and share videos.

If videos aren’t a part of your content plan, they need to be. Facebook video ads have proven to be the most engaging content a company can share right now. Meanwhile, Snapchat receives 10 billion daily video views.

How can my business leverage this?

First of all, add video content to your existing blogs. This instantly makes your audience more likely to read and share your content.

You also need to capitalize on live video emerging as a growing trend on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Use one of these videos to host a session with your product developers or knowledge experts. Or you can even broadcast live product demonstrations. Or you can also use Instagram stories to share unique moments.

Be sure to invest more of your budget to “Evergreen” content that has a long shelf life.  And devote less of your budget to videos with the limited window of relevance and that are better suited for Facebook and Instagram.

4. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation continues to grow as email maintains its dominance as one of the most effective digital marketing tactics. According to recent research from DemandWave, email ranks as the top channel for driving leads. At the core of marketing automation is email marketing.

Marketing automation can help you:

  • Save time
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Improve timely communications
  • Find new opportunities, including up-selling

Studies show that 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase. If you’re not using marketing automation to your advantage, the odds are good that your competition is.

How can my business leverage this?

Invest in marketing automation software to create more qualified leads, while you supercharge your content to support your inbound marketing.

If you’re worried about the costs associated with implementing a marketing automation system, don’t be. There are platforms for every budget. Data also shows that 63% of companies outsource all or part of marketing automation strategy planning.

5. Measuring Content ROI

A recent study revealed that 70% of B2B and B2C marketers plan to produce more content in 2017 than they did in 2016. But only 20% of marketers can measure the success of their content.

That means only 20% of those companies have any idea what type of content their customers are responding to. When you know which posts are performing the best, that allows you to repurpose, repackage, or re-publish content that resonated with your audience.

How can my business leverage this?

Learn to understand the true reach of your content. You may think you’re measuring the right things. You may be measuring the number of likes, shares, page views, downloads, or subscribers that you’ve attracted. But these numbers can be misleading and are sometimes called “vanity metrics.”

They can often fool you into thinking your content is performing better than it is.  Or even worse, you might have written off a piece of content because you couldn’t see its true value.

You’re better off looking at numbers like:

  • Channels by engagement: Does your content perform best on Twitter or Pinterest?
  • Influencers by engagement: Which influencers are driving traffic to your site?
  • Conversion rate by content: Tracking the effectiveness of all of your content.

And as we said above, you can’t forget about dark social shares. Invest in a smart URL tracker such as Kontexturls to track your customers’ journey, and measure your content’s true value and reach.

6. Pay for Play Social

On average, less than 2% of social content shared on your Facebook Business Pages will be seen by your fans. That’s because newsfeeds have changed and they no longer show content in a chronological order. This makes your brand nearly invisible, unless you are willing to pay to “Boost” your posts.

How can my business leverage this?

Supplement your organic efforts with paid advertising to ensure you’re reaching the right audience. Each social media platform can give you detailed information on your fans and followers.

Use this information to create your own revenue retribution model algorithm. This will help you measure and optimize your social media content.

This is truly the only way to understand what content is connecting with your audience and helping you achieve your goals, whether it’s lead generation, online sales, or brand awareness.

Don’t worry. Nothing that we’ve mentioned above is a fad that’s going to fizzle out by 2018. These are all current trends that are going to shape the face of how successful companies create, share, and measure their content.