Only a few more hours of 2015 left...
That’s all folks. 2015 is dead and gone. Some of you will be clinging to the last dregs of what may have been the best year of your life, others will be welcoming the thoughts of a fresh start, blaming last year’s failures on bad luck.
Whatever the case, 2016 is coming for us fast and with only a couple of hours left, we’ve decided to provide a couple of our digital strategy thoughts and predictions for the year ahead. We won’t keep you long from your celebrations but as the reality of going back to work kicks in over the weekend, particularly for business owners, it will be time to start thinking about what the next 12 months might hold.
1. CONTENT IS KING AND QUEEN
Each individual business has a story to tell. Generally, the marketing department are the story-tellers but when it comes to start-ups and smaller businesses, the founders themselves might find themselves in that role. It is becoming increasingly important to communicate your story digitally and in 2016, content strategy will need to take a leading role in the ever-important digital marketing strategy. Aside from the fact that the majority of consumers (61%) are more likely to purchase from a brand that shares custom content, creating your own blog posts, unique videos or through User Generation, you are utilising the most effective SEO practise - boosting your website’s overall rankings in Search while at the same time promoting your brand. This can be done on your website as well as shared via your marketing channels but If you’re sitting down on day one after the holidays scratching your head, I suggest a good editorial calendar is the place to start. Keep in mind, 27 million pieces of content are shared every day so make each one count.
2. SOCIAL IS NOW
I’m going to go ahead and coin this phrase, “If you’re not up-to-date you're too late”. 2015 saw the increase in pace of everything social. This “live in the moment” trend was concreted by the rise in popularity of new social platforms Snapchat and Periscope, the increase in features such as Facebook check-ins and the use of Twitter as a conversational “second screen” when watching telly. I myself am guilty of tweeting countless times over a new episode of First Dates…. I even got stung by a friend when I posted an Instagram photo of a prior dinner date: “Thought you said your weren’t going out”, my reply; “NOT EVERYTHING IS IN REAL TIME”, but this is increasingly not the case. We’ve all seen the Instagram husbands video. The problem for brands will be how they approach this incessant need to be constantly live. I don’t feel like every business requires a social media account on all platforms that is managed every second of the day. It’s impossible for small companies to be thinking on that level. However, by analysing and selecting the relevant social channels for your company is important, IE. finding out where your customers spend their time and are most engaged. Most social networks allow for the scheduling of posts but there are some social management tools that can really help ease the strain of feeling like you’re being stretched. A strong social media strategy will be vital in 2016 – this is a blue-print of how you will approach the coming months and will help you avoid posting for the sake of posting.
3. THE YEAR OF THE MOBILE IS DEAD
According to eMarketer, Smartphone Users are set to top 2 billion in 2016. I think we can stop calling it “the year of the mobile” now, safe to say smart and predictive technologies are here to stay. Over the past number of years, mobile has been tagged on to most digital marketing plans. In 2016, it will be a key focus. Businesses need to provide for customers across all platforms and at this stage if you don’t have a responsive website you need to be seriously considering it in the New Year. 74% of consumers research online first before making an offline purchase, many are now doing it on their phone while in-store! The key point is to put the best possible version of your brand forward at all times. These days that is most likely going to be on a Smartphone.
So to wrap things up, as we enter the year 2016, we do so with more knowledge and skills about the digital realm than we had last year but with a huge amount still to learn. In my opinion, this will never stop being the case.
I’ll leave you with this -
What. The. Hell.
See you in the New Year!