At the time we’re writing this, we’re currently halfway through Q1 of 2019; a good time for companies to look into what’s new in the market and consider adopting updated practices and technologies.
In the world of Marketing the strategies are ever-evolving, and ever-changing. But more importantly, the brains behind marketing must evolve and change to breathe fresh ideas into the market. This is expected if the brand and company want to remain relevant.
Audiences’ and customers’ preferences, wants and needs are in a constant flux. The bar not so much rises as it changes, and any successful brand needs to keep up with that.
One constant — if you could call it that — is that customers are getting hungrier for information. Audiences are much more discerning than they would have been even less than half a decade ago.
The steady stream of information and content, and the increasing ease with which to access them, are constantly raising the stakes for content marketing. But now, it isn’t enough for customers to simply sit back and passively accept whatever’s thrown their way.
They not only seek information out, but are actively vested in whatever they put their time and resources into. Customers now demand engagement.
This stronger, more discerning consumer continues to be the driving force behind a change in the way brands approach customer relationships. So how can your brand strengthen engagement? Here are a couple ways.
1. Strengthen your content marketing
An article from Forbes magazine points out that successful brands treat their content differently. Traditional content (in the marketing sense) was simply a one-sided conversation.
Content marketing seeks to change that. Given that customers and audiences are starting to have more power and a larger voice in the marketplace, their input and engagement matters. Generating engagement should be the focal point of your content.
What consumers say is just as, or even more important than what you have to say. Creating content that encourages your customers to feel like they are a part of your brand; that their voice is important to you, is priceless.
2. Have a strong Social Media presence
Nielsen’s first-quarter 2018 Total Audience Report says that “American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media.” That last word, “interacting” is especially significant.
Traditional marketers may have known about audiences who watched and read media, but only through relatively recent breakthroughs in social media has interaction been possible.
Be where the people are. In this digital era, people are on Social Media! Social Media presence is mandatory in today’s market, whether you’re a Twitter ‘clap-back queen’ like Wendy’s or a [weirdest flex ever] Clorox lifestyle Insta, you got be there and you have to spark engagement.
Effective content marketing coupled with an amazing social media strategy, can set a brand at the top of its game. This allows for a stronger and even wider footprint in the marketplace.
3. Leverage Influencer adverstising
Influencers have truly changed the marketing game, especially in recent years. It was once largely solely the realm of mainstream celebrities. But now, even ordinary, regular people have risen to fame though the sheer power of social media. And with that fame comes influence. But that dynamic too, is changing.
Given the recent oversaturation of influencers and the difficulty to establish ROI, many marketing teams have decided to back away from influencer marketing. But here’s a fool-proof tip on how to find TRUE influencers (not just a high number of followers which can be easily faked, as this article from The Independent shows).
This is where you should look at engagement. Look at personality. Audiences today are also noticing the oversaturation of influencers and are also increasingly disgruntled by the dip in credibility that comes with that oversaturation.
So seek someone that is engaging. Influencers with rapport and quirkiness that set them apart. Less of the “curated” kind of (largely) self-proclaimed experts and influencers. More of the unique, cutting-edge, and avant garde type that will encourge customers to dialogue.
4. Look at new distribution channels.
Last but not least is distribution. You can have great content, but it won’t matter if no one sees it. There are benefits afforded by social media and all the other alternative means of engaging with consumers. New platforms come out every day. For instance, the uber-popular app Tic Tok has millions of fanatic users click through their “clips” every day.
Use these new channels and seek the countless opportunities they offer for a wider and more effective distribution of your message.
This doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bath water and discard all traditional means for distribution. Sometimes, a combination of both the old and the new ways works best.
Understand your audience, understand their (new) channels of engagement and then craft a way for you to get your message across in the most original and effective way possible.
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