By Godwin Adoga
Digital content marketing is reaching maturity. Companies have a pressing need to ensure that their content marketing strategies and campaigns keep up with the times.
More importantly, it is necessary to remember that great content is great content. The kind of technology you have in place, or the systems you implement, don’t matter if your content is not resonating with your target audience.
Digital marketing is advancing and evolving, just the same way traditional publishing evolved decades ago. Content marketing will follow the same trajectory. The only significant difference is the speed at which things will change. Many digital brands, in a bid to be more efficient, forget to be human.
Whether you write on stone tablets or papyrus scrolls or are using augmented reality to pass your message; it must be relevant and interesting enough to motivate a desired reaction from the customer.
From a branding perspective, generating and distributing compelling content via social media is not just important but necessary. The key to creating a bright future for content marketing on social media is to use modern approaches that embrace being human.
Below I have listed five important social media marketing practices you need to be aware of this year.
1. An increase in talent investment
As it is now, from a consumer-engagement and brand awareness standpoint, many companies have realized how crucial social media is.
For this reason, you will notice an investment of tangible resources in social strategies. There is a continued emphasis on finding and hiring individuals who can create consistent streams of quality content for social platforms.
Image Source: Chronus
Automating and promoting similar content on every social platform is not going to cut it any longer. In 2018, the savviest companies are employing individuals who know how to grow audiences for their brands across social platforms and also know how to create engaging content to keep that audience glued across every channel.
They need to be highly organized, tech-savvy and have sufficient communication skills that go beyond the use of acronyms. This requires dynamic specialization. In the digital ecosystem, an editor-in-chief in publishing yesterday can become a content strategist today. You still need people to create your image and brand story.
Automation by itself is not the way to go in 2018. You need to be human.
2. More content becoming mobile ready
ComScore reports that mobile now represents about 7 out of 10 digital media minutes. Smartphone apps alone account for half of all the time spent in engagement with digital media.
Image Source: Infographic List
According to ComScore’s 2017 report, Facebook ranks as the top mobile application of the year (measured by its penetration of the US mobile application audience). Snapchat and Instagram follow closely in the top 10. This obviously implies that consumers are spending quite some time using social media via their mobile devices.
Thus, we expect to see brands devoting more focus, and spending more resources in creating content for the small screen specifically. Mobile-ready content is always expected to be simple and easy to navigate, with only a little scrolling and few key presses required for engagement.
3. A rise in the production of richer forms of content (More videos and polls)
Those who have worked in the digital marketing space know that richer content drives more engagement.
But what exactly is the meaning of “rich content”?
The answer to that question depends greatly on who you ask. However, most people would agree that it refers to any kind of content that can facilitate and enhance user interaction.
Image Source: Infographic World
An example: videos are generally considered as rich content because they require the viewer to click on “play” (unless you use autoplay ads, which I don’t recommend unless your objective is to annoy your customers and turn them away).
Another great example of the use of rich content in social media campaigns is running a Twitter poll. The poll allows you to ask Tweeps (Twitter users) to weigh in and give an opinion on a certain subject. It’s a win-win situation; by doing this, you are distributing content that encourages users to interact while collecting consumer insights simultaneously.
4. Brands leveraging user-generated content
In advertising, Nielsen’s Global Trust Report suggests that 66% of people trust consumer reviews posted online, while 83% of consumers trust product opinions and recommendations from people they already know.
Image Source: Nicho
Those numbers are substantially higher than the 46% of consumers who trust adverts on social networks. Now since we know that “average joe” consumers trust opinions from each other rather than celebrities and social influencers; it’s no surprise that we are seeing brands target content generated by users more heavily in their social strategy.
Simply reposting or re-tweeting or sharing a happy customer’s photo is not going to be enough. Brands need to spend time fine-tuning user-generated content and embedding it into social campaigns in such a way that it looks organic but professional.
5. Marketers doubling down on ephemeral content
In the past, marketers were known to produce evergreen content that can be re-circulated and referred to. This would drive engagement for months on end. But all that has changed, especially in the social media world.
Image Source: TheSelfEmployed
Snapchat pioneered the idea and inspired the popular usage of ephemeral content. Its success has proven that consumers love to engage with this kind of content because they know it runs on a clock and won’t be around forever. Ephemerals have an inherently exclusive flavor to them.
Given the huge amount of engagement Snapchat Stories drive, it is no surprise that Facebook and Instagram quickly followed the trend and launched features that support stories on their own networks. Due to this discovery, brands will continue to develop ways to create interesting stories on all three platforms. This is in order to generate consistent waves of ephemeral content that will keep consumers addicted and coming back for more.
Social media presents adventurous opportunities that enable us to use cutting-edge content to build tangible relationships with our customers. I am really looking forward to seeing how things evolve in years to come.
Guest author: Godwin Adoga has a lot of interest in developing social campaigns for growing small and medium scale enterprises. He is a contributor at HipHopHead.
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