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By: Mallory Bowers
Marketing is a constantly shifting landscape and in 2018 technology is increasingly leading the way to reach new customers. Whether you're just getting started or re-evaluating your marketing strategy, it's essential to cover the basics of your brand strategy before incorporating current trends in an enhanced strategy.
Before expanding your brand reach, make sure you have a firm understanding of your customers, your value, and how those two come together. Your business offers goods or services that serve the needs of your customers. In order for your brand marketing to be successful you should be intimately aware of who your customers are and what needs they have that only your business can solve. Take this information to create buyer personas for your customers that will help you define how your brand will talk to them, also known as your brand's voice. Knowing where your customers get their information will help you take your brand's voice to create content that will create the brand loyalty that will help your business succeed.
Facebook continues to be the leader for brand marketing, with up to 75% of businesses including Facebook in their social media marketing strategy. With the rising cost of advertising on Facebook, marketers are looking for creative ways to use Facebook to reach new customers. One of those methods is called "Influencer Marketing".
Influencer marketing shifts marketing efforts from the target market to influential people within the target market. The influencers within the market have more sway over consumers because they are trusted, popular, or an expert in a specific market. Influencer marketing is similar to word-of-mouth marketing, but does not rely on traditional recommendations where an individual seeks out advice on a need they have to fulfill. Instead, followers of the influencer see them use the product or service in their everyday life. Influencers are not just on Facebook, but also on blogs, videos, and Instagram.
Recently Instagram shifted focus to free tools that catered specifically to business. Instagram's tools include statistics on saved posts, stories, and insights on follower demographics. According to Forbes, Instagram hit 1 million advertisers in 2017, five times more than what they saw in 2016. Instagram has also simplified marketing efforts for businesses on the go through their mobile device tools, including Hyperlapse for making time lapse videos and Boomerang for short looping videos. Instagram has also released Stories, effectively replacing the need to try to incorporate Snapchat in building your brand.
Customers want to have a human connection with the companies they chose to do business with. Customers no longer trust traditional marketing efforts, evident through their reaction to influencer marketing vs traditional advertisements. The shift in marketing preferences has made video marketing more accessible to businesses. Instead of spending time and money on a studio to create a polished, professional video, videos can be created on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course YouTube. One challenge with social video marketing is that each platform has its own technical requirements so a video recorded on one platform may need to be edited before it can be uploaded to another platform. However social media video has proven to be an effective method for increasing website conversion through massive engagement. YouTube receives over 4 million daily views, and a significant amount of the internet's traffic comes from videos.
Mobile devices have surpassed traditional desktop computers as the primary method for browsing the internet. Regardless of what strategies you choose to implement to build your brand make sure the content is friendly to mobile audiences. Most platforms provide the ability to preview content on a mobile device, tablet, and desktop computer, before publishing the content.