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As 2018 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the big events that happened in the marketing world.
Content continues to be king
Content marketing remains a key part of any effective campaign, but perhaps the biggest change in 2018 is the growth in the use of video and quite how effective it has proved itself to be as a way of engaging customers. From explaining new product features to executive interviews, video is a great way to reach a wide audience and ensure your voice is heard.
As cost barriers have come down, more and more businesses are producing video content but remember to ensure that you’re providing information your customers actually want and you’re utilising your social media network to help it reach the widest possible audience.
Which leads us on to the role of social media in marketing in 2018. Not surprisingly, more than a few companies got their social media strategies badly wrong in 2018 – take a look at a few of our favourite fails here – highlighting how important it is to think before you post. It’s also important to consider which platform you’re using and tailor content appropriately. Facebook and Instagram added another element to this with their Stories feature – temporary stories that live for just 24 hours. These are becoming increasingly popular and provide an opportunity for more creative posts as they can be heavily edited as well as more timely posts that are only relevant for a shorter period.
Share your influence
2018 saw the beginnings of a backlash against social media influencers with some earning huge amounts of money for endorsing products that weren’t always suitable for their fan base – think of the recent furore around celebrities such as Cardi B and Khloe Kardashian endorsing weight loss tea. However, this year did see a move towards micro influencers gaining more value in this sphere. Although they have fewer followers, generally cited as between 10,000 and 500,000, their power is in the fact that they are more closely engaged with their audience and tend to specialise in a particular niche. Finding a micro influencer who is active in your market area and who has a history of strong engagement can be a powerful way of helping your brand reach its target audience.
SEO still matters
Keeping up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms can be a challenge in itself, but when it comes to SEO, one of the biggest questions in 2018 was ‘are we ready for voice?’. Voice recognition tools such as Siri and Alexa are increasingly common these days but how much time has your business spent considering the differences between how people write when searching the web and how they speak to a virtual assistant? The difference can be huge so it’s important to think about these possible questions and plan your content accordingly as this trend shows no signs of disappearing.
As we enter, the virtual world, another area that has shown growth this year is the use of chatbots. This technology has developed significantly in recent years and bots are now generally able to help visitors to your site, rather than simply adding a distraction. Bots can be a great way to help customers get answers to common questions, but they can also be a good placeholder, bridging the real and virtual worlds – advising on when your team is available and scheduling a call back at a convenient time. Don’t be put off by your experiences of bots in the past, they have shown themselves to be a valuable business tool in 2018.
And finally, perhaps the biggest talking point this year was the introduction of the EU’s GDPR. Despite much confusion in the run up to the regulation being introduced, the aftermath seems to have gone pretty smoothly with only a handful of enforcements on record so far. The lesson here, of course, is to ensure you always collect and manage data responsibly as the cost of non-compliance can be significant.