Future of online marketing :: Social Customer and alternative “Focus”

Originally published on Linkedin.com on September 16, 2016 By Amit Shah
In 2016, the average human has 0:07 attention span while the Gold fish has 0:09 seconds.
Things are getting tougher for companies to make a bang for their buck. Your brand and product need to communicate and engage instantly with your audience via any of the digital form and strategy you plan to go ahead with. With data growing so rapidly attention spans will come down and you will have just a few seconds to get people inclined to indulge with your brand.
Companies have been jumping the bandwagons and are repeating the common strategies of posting pictures on Facebook, write quirky Tweets, post several blogs, upload pictures on Instagram, spend on ads and the list goes on. These few commonly heard practices and pitches by most agencies seldom justify a bang for your buck.
Technology is not just accelerating it is on steroids. Embrace the right ones you need and stay away from noise. Don’t go by figures all the time, look what works best for your business and the resources you have to remain on top. Do a few things but do them right.

Some of the Future Focus and Trends

Focus on mobile. Continued growth of mobile and its impact on marketing will play a crucial role in truly acquiring and engaging with your customers. By 2018 Videos will account for over 2/3 of all internet usage.
Did you know more people own a Mobile device than a toothbrush?
Videos and Live Streaming. Any brand that’s not creating video and promoting it on social media is missing out on a huge opportunity. Each social network has a unique audience; social videos need to be optimized for different channels. Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook, have updated News Feed algorithms to favor live videos. Learn new ways to curate them quickly and rank them for your audience.
Most brands fail to effectively market the video content they produce.
Build better Support, Feedback & Rating. Add a TWIST, build ways for your audience to communicate easily with you, share reviews and engage with YOU; eg: through videos. Mobiles are getting used more and more, but they have a different type of usage. They have their own limitations and great strengths too. Imagine how difficult have you found typing long messages, attaching pictures and share your emotion through text; videos are just easy and quicker.
Move from “going viral” to creating “meaningful engagement”. Build plans that align your Business goals. Simply getting a million people to visit, engage or talk about you and have ZERO impacting sales are efforts down the drain. Every pitch I ever heard from companies was like slipping into a warm bath only to realise the water was too hot to get burned.

“Novelty wears off and the true merit – or lack thereof – of something emerges”

Peer Recommendations. 92% consumers read reviews and 88% trust peer recommendations. Customers are likely to spend 31% more with your business; 72% audience take action only after finding positive reviews. Build systems to tap into prompt responses, correct inaccuracies, allow customers to share experience, admit to your mistakes and provide restitution. You need to be interacting with your consumers and reaching them where they hang out online. Use hyper personalisation in your mails and social media strategies.

“Influencers can generate awareness. But Advocates will drive trial and purchase”

Transparency is the new “Black”. Consumers now expect loyalty from brands. Live besides your audience. Make a marketing shift from 4P’s to embracing 4C’s i.e. Creating – Curating – Connecting – Culture
Ewww!-mails to emails. It’ll become more difficult to reach customers acquired through purchased lists. Still I don’t put it as the thing of past. Focus on trigger mails that are custom tailored to your audience. Your domain reputation is critical when reach out to your audience, a lot of companies hurt this and takes months to rebuild their reputation. Keep calibrating who reads, clicks and filter your efforts toward to the few via drip strategies.

“More is not necessarily better”

Continued Experience. Your work does not end with great marketing or social feeds, the journey needs to be simple for the consumer to complete it. Another trend to watch is the ability to sell directly from social media platforms. These are now available on Pinterest and Instagram, with Facebook and other sites experimenting with this technology. Although still in the early stages, it’s the logical next step, making it possible to sell to consumers on social media sites without the intermediary step of sending them to a website.
When you think about marketing as engagement take someone’s attention and give them your attention, only then you have the opportunity to do something that’s not only productive and useful, but also great. Design experiences that become meaningful, significant, shareable, and the people you embrace becomes your community, your salesforce and your customer service. They become everything.