As each year passes things come and things go. Digital marketing is no different. The one thing that remains the same from year to year is consumers and how they depend on the Internet every day in life and business.
- Learn how to do something
- Connect with their friends
- Be entertained
- Research products and buy services
Understanding consumers is only one piece of the puzzle. Let’s take a look at some of the big changes and how you can leverage them in 2016 to grow the digital marketing footprint for your clients or, in the case of a small business owner, for your business.
The Future of Digital Marketing Is…
Live Streaming Video Takes Center Stage
Live streaming video has taken over the social networks. When businesses and brands want to interact with consumers in real time, it doesn’t get more real than live streaming. Showing consumers a day in the life of your business, live video blogs, and up to the minute information can now be done with the click of a button.
- Blab – Can have up to 4 people on the video at one time, integrates with Twitter, and it can be saved and used later as podcasts.
- Meerkat – An app for iOS, can launch a live stream on any iPhone or iPad, integrates with your contacts and the stream disappears once you end it.
- Periscope – Twitter’s live stream app. The stream can be saved for later use, available on iOS and Android.
- Facebook Mentions, which is only available for verified business pages, and for everyone else there is Facebook video which is available through the Facebook app on smart devices. No verification required.
I know you don’t like creating video, it can be costly, you don’t look perfect, etc. The list of why you are not creating video is long. The simple fact is this, video is here and it’s not going away, so you, if you are a small business owner, need to get on board.
If you are a digital marketer and your clients keep saying no, then you need to start thinking outside of the box and show them the live videos their competitors are creating, so they understand how they are losing out on a percentage of the market share that will continue to grow.
Review Sites and Business Listing Directories
Review sites aren’t just for consumers anymore to share about their experience and research products and services. Businesses being listed accurately and consistently on these review sites and directories are absolutely necessary. It goes beyond just what the consumer thinks about the business to what search engines think about the business and how the business is ranked in local search results.
- Yelp – If you are looking for the best business in a certain area this is where most people turn, star ratings of the business type searched in the area, full written reviews are available to read, photos included, linked to Google Maps.
- Angie’s List – Local services (contractors, roofers, pest control, etc.), member pricing, background checks & license checks on all providers, verified reviews.
- Foursquare – Find local businesses, makes suggestions based on your likes & reviews of other businesses, now added to Apple Maps.
- You Name It – Seriously, there are hundreds of thousands of directory sites online. You should be listed on the best ones, with the highest domain authority and site traffic. The easiest way to accomplish this is to hire a service to submit to the sites and data aggregators for you. Learn more here.
While review sites have always been important, businesses and brands are learning that managing those reviews on a regular basis can make or break them. Even negative reviews, when handled correctly, can benefit the business.
If you are a digital marketer and your clients are not getting new reviews all the time, you need to educate them on how to ask their customers. If you are a business owner and you are ignoring the negative reviews about your business stop reading right now and reply to those reviews.
Social Networks that Rose to The Top and Fell Quickly
Social networks come and go, so instead of highlighting all the popular ones, I thought it would be fun to discuss the ones that were once hot and now are not. These social networks saw a major decline in usage throughout 2015 to the point where some of you may have even forgotten about them.
- Google+ – While I hate to add Google+ to this list, since it is one that is very important for businesses, it is time to face the fact that it is continuing to lose momentum among the mainstream. Google has been making many changes to revive it. Let’s hope it works.
- Ello – Invitation only, social site for creatives. When is the last time you logged into your Ello account or better yet read the emails they send out weekly?
- Tsu – Invitation only, share in ad revenue for your compelling content. Scam or spam? You decide. Have you received that revenue check yet? I didn’t.
- You Name It – Seriously, you name the network. There are countless out there. This is a network you joined because all your friends invited you to join so you finally did it. Now they are blowing up your email inbox and you can’t figure out how to close your account.
As with anything in the digital era, digital marketing is constantly evolving. In this overcrowded market you can’t know everything and be everywhere. But you can have a plan and stick with it!
Digital marketers need to educate their customers on how to identify the social networks and sites they should be on. If you are the business owner, remember even though the new penny is shiny it doesn’t mean you need to pick it up, at least not right then. Learn more in this free eBook.
What is your favorite thing that has happened in digital marketing so far? Comment below.