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. And the kind of technology you have in place or the systems you implement does not even matter because if your company’s branded content is not resonating with the target audience, such campaign is well on its way to failure.
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 using you’re 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 to use modern approaches that embrace being human.
I have listed five trends in social media content marketing we need to watch out for heading into 2018;
1. We Will Witness An Increment 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. We will witness continued emphasis on this trend, but with an added drive to find and hire individuals who can create consistent streams of quality content for social platforms.
Automating and promoting similar content on every social platform is not going to cut it any longer. In 2018, the savviest companies will employ 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 throughout every channel.
They need to be highly organized, tech-savvy and they must 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 storylines.
Automation is not the way to go in 2018. Avoid it at all cost if you can.
2. More Content Will Become Mobile Ready
ComScore reports in its 2017 US Cross Platform Future in Focus analytics that mobile now represents about 7 out of 10 digital media minutes. It indicates that smartphone apps alone account for half of all the time spent in engagement with digital media.
According to comScore’s 2017 US Mobile Application 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 as well. 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. There Will Be Rise In The Production Of Rich Media Content (More Video And Polls)
Those who have worked in the digital marketing sphere know that rich media content drives more engagement. But what exactly is the meaning of “rich media content”? The answer to that question depends greatly on who you ask. However, most people would agree with me that it refers to any content that can facilitate and enhance user interaction.
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An example: videos are generally considered as rich media content because they usually 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 excellent example of the usage of rich media content in social media campaign is running a Twitter poll. The poll allows you to ask Tweeps (Twitter users) to weigh in and give an opinion on a particular 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 Will Leverage On User-Generated Content
In advertising, Nielsen’s Global Trust reports that 66% of people trust consumer reviews posted online while 83% of the consumers’ trust product opinions and recommendations from people they already know.
Those numbers are substantially higher than the 46% of consumers who trust adverts on the social network. Now since we know that “average joe” consumers trust opinions from each other rather than celebrities and social influencers; in 2018 I expect that we will witness brands targeting 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 will 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 Will Double Down On Ephemeral Content
In the past, marketers were known to rather produce ever-green 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.
Snapchat pioneered the idea and inspired the widespread 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 flavour to them.
Given the massive amount of engagement Snapchat Stories drive, it is not a 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 exciting 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 solid relationships with our consumers. I am really looking forward to seeing how things will evolve as we roll into 2018.
Igorche Oyine has a lot of interest in developing social campaigns for growing small and medium scale enterprises. He is a contributor at HipHopHead.com.ng.