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4 Digital Marketing Trends to Pay Attention to in 2017

Things are changing rapidly...

Global Influencer

Global Influencer
Global Influencer

Photo Credit: Richard G./Flickr CC

Social media is here! It’s the new singularity… meaning that social media has changed the face of human interaction in a way that is life-changing. The last big singularity, in my mind, was the invention of the personal computer and the Information Age. The biggest change before that was the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th Century.

The information highway, as it was originally called, has now taken a different turn. It’s taken us everywhere, to the point where more than 1/3 of the world is connected to each other. If you look at it that way, futurist Ray Kurzweil’s theory that the internet has created a singularity is true.

In the 1960’s, Canada’s Marshall McLuhan gave us the famous line, “the medium is the message’. In the new millennium, the message is definitely ‘the content’ and social media tools like Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and LinkedIn (LNKD) have changed the way we not only do business but how we engage with others in our life.

Kurzweil took Marshall McLuhan’s ‘message’ in the 1970’s and updated it. Kurzweil felt that information technologies would advance so far and so fast that they would enable mankind to transcend our biological limitations. Albert Einstein said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Technology may have given us the tools, but social media has given us the content and will to make mankind leap past the futurists’ observations.

So you might be saying how much better (or worse) can our attachment to the smartphone/social media get? It’s not necessarily how much better or worse than it is to have effective engagement so that our reliance on social media in the broad sense is enhanced by trends that will help communication.

There are four digital marketing trends that need to be of paramount importance in your daily business management: Content, Mobile, Social Media and SEO.

Content is the primary trend that will define effective digital interaction in 2017. Sure, the focus for the past 2-3 years has been content production. Production for our blogs, website, social media tweets and Facebook but now people are taking notice more than ever. Business owners are being told that their customers want quality information that is informative and original and if one company fails to deliver, there are certainly other like-minded businesses out there to buy product or services from.

Content needs to be relevant and strategic. It also needs to appeal to the average reader, relate to their needs and offer benefits that will enhance their lives. It also needs to be shared across multi-platform and by others to be effective. The term ‘viral’ means your content has ‘hit a home run’ and people are taking notice.

The goal, of course, is for your content to be read by many. To that end, use Google Analytics to determine the most effective way to get your message out there. Whether is it email, blog posts, social platforms or forums you need to find the medium that promotes your message. Marshall McLuhan would have enjoyed the social media revolution.

TopRank in 2014 said that 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing. Marketers realize they need to produce compelling content or ‘stories’ that tell people things they want to hear not sell to them.

MediaPost commented on a Forrester Consulting survey that showed that 41% of marketers say driving sales is the No. 1 goal for their content marketing strategies; 94% put sales in their top five content marketing goals. Brand awareness was the second-most-popular goal with 88% adding it to their top five, while 21% ranked lead generation as their No. 1 goal.

The second big trend is Mobility. I must admit I’m now one of those dweebs who walk down the crowded streets with my face glued to my iPhone. I hate myself for it but as I look around I realize I’m average. I’ve heard the Google actually penalizes businesses by not listing them on searches if they don’t make their websites/blog optimized for mobile phones.

If we need to think for a minute why mobility should be a factor in digital trends consider that 4 billion people (more than 2/3 of the world) use a cell phone while only 3.5 billion use a toothbrush. NerdSupport suggests that 25% of Americans access the Internet from their cell phones only. Now tell me why your website needs to be mobile friendly?

Social Media is my forte, I love it and while it’s a big part of my businesses, I consider it a ‘hobby’ because I have too much fun doing it. It’s your brand identity platform; it defines you (and your company) by what you say or show people on the many platforms. One must be very careful to avoid confrontation, misspoke words and #alternate facts when working your social media programs. I’ve written about the #Chardonnay Effect in my blog. It refers to the point after work in the evening when you are relaxed and sipping a good Mondavi Chard and decide to post what you think is an innocuous tweet or Facebook comment. You awake the next day wondering what the heck made you write an asinine comment until you realize it was the wine talking. You may need a course on Reputation management.

Don’t give mixed messages, stay close to your brand at all times and try to define which accounts are social and which are business. I only have business social media accounts yet sometimes waiver into commentary that would be more personal opinion. The thing is, I am my own brand and what I say whether it’s politically correct or not I will stand by it.

Social media works best as a story rather than trying to promote something. People understand and know the difference. They don’t like to be ‘sold’ and as you go through your social media platforms be aware that there are good people out there much like the old term ‘silent majority’ who wait to pounce on you if your message is off. We call them ‘trolls’ but not in that bad sense.

Social media is about engagement and quality, relevant content makes engaging others so much easier.

SEO (search engine optimization) has gone through much iteration over the past twenty years. While Google penalizes business without mobile –friendly websites they also reward those with better SEO ranking. In my experience, you are nothing if you are not in the first 5 organic results from a Google search. Digital Marketing Phillipines’ research indicates mobile searches are going head to head with laptops at 50% of searches with the number going up to 88% if the search is for a local business – Wow!

Spend some time with a professional to make sure your efforts working on the trends are not sabotaged by poor SEO. Don’t assume that by paying Google (GOOG) to show your results in a better light will make more people come to your business. The truth is people like me avoid those ads placed at the top of my search and go to the ‘organic’ results that come from good SEO on your blog or website.

The bottom line is that trends are defined by users, and if they feel SEO, Social Media, Content and Mobile are important, I’ll be the first to adopt all four as my mantra.

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