With the new year kicking off, and the holiday hangover behind you, you might be considering your 2018 digital marketing strategies. But where do you start? Very few things these days change as rapidly as consumer behaviors and social trends.
With diversity, intersectionality, and individuality continuing to make the rounds as buzzwords of the day, you might ask yourself how you can appeal to consumers as a group.
The answer might surprise you with its simplicity: you don’t have to. In this JumpSIX Marketing prediction of 2018 trends, we will take a look at how social media marketing, personalized interaction, virtual reality, and other marketing trends can take hold of an ever-changing consumer base.
Today’s consumer looks nothing like the consumer during the heyday of print advertising and offline marketing. Everyone wants to exercise his, her, or their power as a consumer, and they want this power on equal footing with everyone else.
In other words, everyone wants unique, personalized experiences without feeling as though a company has shoved them into a category or stereotype. Consumers will take their business elsewhere if they believe you treat them as simply one of a group, and not as the individual person they are.
Social Media Marketing
2017 saw an influx of digital marketing campaigns emphasizing interactions on social media platforms. Expect that trend to continue this year as well. These are the world’s new watering holes. In no other space can people interact as a social group while remaining completely autonomous, unique, and, at times, anonymous.
When you focus your efforts on social media marketing, think about interaction. Digital advertising will help, but many of today’s consumers crave something more. They want a brand they can see, hear, and “feel” in the digital space.
Individualized Interaction & Micro-Influencers
To engage with your consumers on a personal level, you will need to interact with them not as a business, but as an individual is part of that business. Content, particularly social media posts, should not sound cookie cutter or salesy. It should sound like something you would want to read, or like a natural invitation to a conversation. Give your posts a measure of tangibility.
Tangibility and relatability can come from descriptive language and intimate details that reveal more about your company than consumers learned from your commercials or marketing materials. This can come from live streams of the moments that make your company unique. It can come from pictures of the environment that makes your company better than the rest. If you make the most of the opportunity to engage, then these candid moments will create a rewarding connection with your consumer base.
Social media micro-influencers provide another connection to consumers. You may have heard of someone becoming YouTube or Instagram famous. These people, not quite celebrities but not just vloggers or bloggers, hold a lot of cultural currency. They often interact on a more personal level with followers than traditional celebrities (aka macro-influencers), and they can put a knowing, trusting, and interactive face to your company. More and more businesses will turn to these micro-influencers to help them build brand trust and recognition in 2018.
These social media users will offer a tangible and intimate feel to your digital marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization
If shoppers cannot find your business organically, then your digital marketing campaign will fall flat. It doesn’t matter how well you place and target your digital advertising. New algorithms and search engine technologies have turned content writing into an integral part ot the search engine optimization game.
No longer can businesses amass backlinks and watch the shoppers flood to their website. Your keywords must be integrated smoothly, and your content must appeal to your clientele. The importance of content will only grow in the next year with the increased use of voice search.
Voice Search Optimization
The meteoric rise of voice search over the last year makes it extremely difficult to predict the number of people using it in 2018. But make no mistake, more people search and shop on the go than ever before. Voice searching not only frees up people’s hands, it also frees up their language. You can expect keywords to feel more natural and become longer.
For instance, let’s imagine a consumer named John. Suppose John wants to purchase a vacuum to clean up after his shedding cat (let’s name his cat Archimedes). Let’s assume that, like most of us, John’s thumbs aren’t particularly thin and nimble, but he has no choice but to type out his search query on his cracked smartphone. He might type something like “vacuum cat hair” or “best cat hair vacuum” or most likely “best vacuum”.
Now suppose John gets a new phone with voice search. No longer restricted by his thick thumbs and cracked screen, John could search any number of things quicker than he typed out those simple keywords last time.
“What’s the best vacuum for getting cat hair out of shag carpet?” he might ask. “Which affordable vacuum will clean cat hair without getting clogged?” He might even find time to ask, “Is Archimedes a cool cat name?”
This new approach to searching will create more diverse keywords that more closely replicate the cadence of natural speech. Though it is impossible to predict all the ways this will affect search engine marketing, you can bet search engines will adjust their algorithms to reward digital marketing campaigns that integrate natural, free-flowing content that resembles the way people use voice search.
WildCards: Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
With these technologies rapidly gaining ground with consumers, you can bet they will influence the 2018 digital marketing landscape in some way. Nothing says personalized experience like offering your consumers content they can personally interact with.
Talk about seeing, feeling, and hearing your business. Virtual reality, coupled with live streaming, could put consumers into the mix of your company’s most exciting moments. What could possibly build loyalty more than allowing shoppers to experience your finest moments with you?
Step Up Your Digital Marketing Game Today
If you want to take your online marketing to the next level in 2018, look no further than JumpSIX Marketing. Our experienced staff can help you in the following areas: web design, digital advertising, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. Don’t get left behind in 2018. The trends will be here before you know it.