It's that time of year again. The time where we reflect on the time gone by and look to the future on what we can do better.
2014 was an amazing year for social media and small business. Many of the predictions I put out last year came true. We've seen a lot of great technology and strategies play out and social media is just as important as SEO. That's a win for me!
What I love about social media is that is really levels the playing field and allows small businesses to connect one on one with their customers in an intimate way. Marketing is about building relationships with your current, past and future customers. Social media is about sharing great content to communicate in a new way.
Content is the cornerstone of marketing. It always has been and it always will be. Great content is what connects you to your audience. That's not changing. It's how you create and share that content that is changing.
So without further ado, let me get my crystal ball out.
Here are the 15 trends for 2015 and how you can get ready.
15 Digital Marketing & Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2015
1. Facebook Will Be Pay To Play
Fan pages have taken a hit this year on Facebook as reach has drastically decreased. Facebook is also going to ban overly promotional posts starting in January. While there are ways around it, the fact of the matter is, if you want to reach a lot of people on Facebook you are going to have to pay for exposure. I expect to see more and more businesses fleeing Facebook and spending their energy elsewhere.
2. Blogging Will Continue To Dominate Lead Generation
Creating great content and driving traffic back to your site will remain the best way to generate organic leads. This means if you aren't blogging, you can't afford to hold off any longer. Let us handle that for you. We're the pros. :)
3. Influencers Are More Important Than Ever
With declining social reach and increased competition, Influencers will be the best way to help spread the word in a trusted fashion. Empower the influencers and ambassadors you have and turn new fans into loyalists through engagement.
4. Mobile App Marketing Isn't Just For Teens
Content will continue to be consumed through mobile apps at a staggering pace. But Snapchat and Instagram will no longer be just for teens and millennials. If you want to reach people on the go, mobile is the place to be.
5. Shorter Attention Spans Require More Visuals
With more content to compete with, we need to capture the attention of our audience at faster rates. Visuals can do that better than text, which means you will need a very strong visual content strategy to stay relevant and get the attention you deserve.
6. Branded Communities For The Win
Businesses will look to other ways create engaging communities. This means outside of the traditional networks like Facebook & Twitter, but on to your own site. Think memberships and exclusive content.
7. Niche Sites Will Have Long Lasting Effects
Less reach means that businesses will have to look to new places to reach a targeted audience. Niche sites are going to prove to be more valuable than ever to get in front of the right people. It may be less people, but they are hyper focused.
8. Video Will Help Build Relationships
Educational, value-driven, customer service or just plain fun, consumers will be looking at video as a way to build trust with a business. Think about incorporating short and longer form video to cover all the gaps.
9. Behavioral Marketing Will Increase Sales
Customers will buy more from you if you know their behaviors. By creating content for them based on what they look at and do on your site, you'll be able to tap into their wallet easier. Infusionsoft is the way to go here.
10. Marketing Will Require More Touch Points
You will no longer be able to rely on just one network or one strategy to survive online. You'll have to repurpose your content for different networks and reach your customers everywhere all the time.
11. Consumers Will Want More Privacy Online
Sites like Ello will make their mark as people look for more privacy online. You will need to be very careful and ethical about how you reach out to people as consumers are more aware.
12. Social Advertising Demand Will Increase
With better technologies and new ways to reach your audience and similar audiences, social advertising will be a great way to sell and engage. But with increased demand also comes increased prices so expect to shell out the cash to get results.
13. SEO & Social Signals Will Be More Integrated
Social sharing will become more important than ever as it will help your SEO rankings. Be smart and not spammy when sharing content and you'll get better results.
14. Real-Time Marketing Will Be Crucial
Whether it's event based or customer service oriented, consumers expect you to be online when they are and respond when they are. Social listening will become more important than ever.
15. Hashtags Will Have A Heyday
Expect to see hashtags everywhere from graffiti to social ads. As a business it's important to start branding your own hashtag to build community.
2015 is going to be an exciting year. I can't wait to see how everything pans out. Which of these trends do you think is most relevant to you and your business?