As I have always said Digital Marketing is an ever-changing field and so, you need to be constantly updated about “what’s trending.” I waited until mid-January to write this post because by now a lot of companies have announced the changes that they are going to make in 2018. The most important one of them is Facebook. These changes, in turn, affect the marketing strategies of every company.
This is a two-part series where I will write in depth about 5 digital marketing trends. Here are the top 2 predictions for 2018:
A) Facebook News Feed Update:
Facebook announced on January 11th, 2018 that they will be updating their news feed to bring friends and families closer and build stronger relationships. They are planning to do this by giving priority to meaningful posts from their friends and family in the newsfeed. The conversations which will spark more interactions between friends and family will be the ones that will appear higher in your newsfeeds like a friend seeking advice or conversations on news articles or videos.
What does this mean for businesses and users? This means that the public pages will appear less on the news feed and thus, the public pages and content will see a reduction in their reach and in the overall traffic. However, the positive side is that if your videos or posts prompt conversation between friends and family than you will see very less effect of this change. In saying that, if you are using “engagement bait” like tag your friends to win this dress or like and share if you love coffee then your posts are surely going to be demoted and your page will be penalized for such posts. For the users, if there are certain pages that you would like to see more of then you can change the preferences in the news feed to “See First.”
The entire idea of this update is to encourage meaningful conversations which adds value to the user’s life rather than letting the spammy content take up space in the news feed. Also, don’t forget to ask your users to turn on post notifications.
How can the businesses use it for their benefit? The golden rule of marketing is to add value to your customer and provide them the best services that you can. Isn’t it? According to Kristopher Jones “knowing your audience better than your competition. This is your competitive advantage.”
Understanding your customers will not only help you create targeted ads and post but also increase your brand loyalty because you would be adding value to their everyday life through your relevant and engaging content. This increases the benefits of paid advertising on Facebook even more. Having a live video is a must for your marketing strategy in 2018. According to Facebook, live videos get 6X the engagement as non-live ones.
The other way that the brands can utilize this opportunity is by focussing on creating community groups. Facebook groups are a great way to keep your users engaged and updated with your relevant content that curate for them. It definitely does not affect the newsfeed but gives you a stronger reason to focus on those community groups you were ignoring all this while. Always remember that Word of Mouth is the strongest marketing technique that your brand can use.
Rest, the next 11 months would tell.
B) Influencer Marketing
Without a doubt, 2017 was the best year for Influencer marketing but also exposed a lot of backdrops of this marketing technique. Bloglovin found out in their survey that 63 % of the marketers had increased their budgets for influencer marketing in 2017. The great thing about Influencer marketing is that you can reach a certain set of the audience without ads and an already established personal connection, especially with micro-influencers. When an influencer promotes your brand, they already have a brand loyalty going on which then increases your brand’s loyalty and the way it’s perceived. Depending on your product/service, you audience size varies and so does of the influencers. So, you can either reach micro-influencer or macro-influencers depending on your marketing objectives. Although Influencer marketing was one of the most successful marketing technique of 2017, it did not come without its consequences.
When a brand partner’s with an influencer, their brand image is the influencer’s brand image. Any action by the influencer can either have a positive or a negative effect. In 2017, there were a lot of brands which suffered through this negative publicity but who can be blamed for it? Do brand have any control over an influencer’s actions? The answer is only to a very minimal extent. The brands need to prepare themselves for damage control
Another issue that was encountered in 2017 was that the brands got deviated after looking at the larger number of followers and the high engagement rates. The problem here is that both these things are manipulative and can be increased artificially. So, the brands need to be very sure of whom they are partnering with.
What can businesses do? Some of the precautions that the brands can take in 2018 would be being thorough with all the regulations around influencer marketing. A careful research on the past and the present activities of the influencer will go a long way in making careful decisions. Properly distributing the budget and making sure that you are spending money on the right metrics is the key. Evaluating the KPI’s that your brand will be using to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns and aligning them with the KPI’s that the influencers have delivered on would be a good strategy for finding the right influencer.
Instead of using Influencers for just one campaign, brands need to work on nurturing their relationships with the influencers. Focussing on Instagram polls and more use of videos are just a few ways of increasing the enagagement. Brands really need to amp up their creativity levels.Brands must find the Influencers that match their brand and mix with their brand’s objectives. This is called “equity matchmaking”
What can Influencers do? Influencers can use the latest Facebook algorithm update to their advantage. Influencers have a larger social following because people want to see what they are up to, they like their content and perceive them as individuals. Their followers want to imitate their style up to a great extent. There is a reason why they are called Influencers. They are not pages or brand, they are people. They key for Influencers is to really know their followers and understand the sort of content they want. In short, Influencers need to actively listen to their followers. The power is really in the hands of the Influencer but they should stay clear of misusing it if they want to stay in the business.Well like Keenan Beasley says “What’s bad for businesses is good for Influencers”
Influencer marketing will boom in 2018 with the new changes on Facebook and the similar on Instagram. According to a recent study by Hubspot, 71% of the customers use social media for their buying decisions out of which Facebook accounts for 32% and Instagram is at 24%. It’s time to make some wise decisions.