Social media remains one of the fastest changing industries out there. The norm now will definitely not be the norm six months from now, which makes it hard for communicators to create long term integrated marketing plans.
Even though we can never truly know when something will go viral (to be honest, I never could have predicted the popularity of Pokemon Go) we can be prepared for and anticipate a trends for 2018.
If you want to stay ahead of the ever-evolving social media times, here are three social media and content marketing trends that you should prepare for now.
Even more targeted influencer marketing
I’ve long been a proponent for blogging and social media marketing. Since 2007, I have been urging my clients to work with bloggers and influencers and to have an active social media presence. Engaging brand ambassadors to produce content and rally their following on your behalf can be a significant piece of a strong brand marketing strategy.
I also believe though that all too often brands and marketers fall into the trap of assuming that anyone with a big following has influence.
Instead, we’re frequently seeing that a larger following does not always equal larger results.
There are celebrities making $250,000 per Instagram post, but that doesn’t mean the brand is going to make that back in sales as a result. Last year, I heard from a trusted source that a well-known actress charges a $500,000 minimum for any social media marketing initiative involving her dog (I can tell you that my dog doesn’t make that kind of money for his public appearances. He might need a new agent).
I think that as celebrities continue to get caught failing to disclose their endorsements and bloggers bury their #sponsored (or, the unintelligible ‘#spon’) hashtags further and further down in their Instagram posts, customers—and brands—are going to wise up. Brands will continue to realize that proper disclosure is a serious game and that working with the influencer who has the highest number of social followers isn’t always the best way to achieve results.
I believe 2018 will see brands becoming increasingly laser-focused on choosing influencers that actually fit its voice and most importantly, values—regardless of how many followers they purport to have.
A new frontier of digital branding
The internet has been available to the public for more than 30 years. And in that time, almost every aspect of it has evolved—how we connect, how we search, and how we communicate. But one thing that was stagnant for years was how we name our websites.
Until 2014, there were only a handful of domain name extensions—the word to the right of the dot in website URLs.
Now, that scarcity in online naming has been replaced by a tremendous amount of variety.
Hundreds of new domain name extensions are available to help businesses, brands, and individuals create clever, more differentiated URLs. There are general choices like .life, .world, .today, .group, and more specific ones such as .catering, .church, .wine, .dog, and .golf.
New businesses are registering these domain names in droves (to the tune of nearly 30,000 registrations across all new domain extensions), and established brands are also putting them to use. There are about 10,000 registered every day, which is one registered every 10 seconds.
Big brands are also helping to pave the way with uses on primary websites, blogs, microsites and promotional sites, including:
- Alphabet, Google’s parent company announced last year, used one for their homepage: xyz
- Lady Gaga uses foundation for her non-profit.
- General Motors houses its sustainability initiatives on GeneralMotors.green
- Amazon is a great example of “buying around a domain name” directing amazon.watch to its TV streaming service, www.amazon.shoes to its shoe retailer and www.amazon.football to its sports paraphernilia.
- Jimmy Choo added Choo.boutique, which redirects to the high-end shoe retailer’s existing .com website.
- Pedigree and Caesar’s advertise their mixable brand of dog food at mixmania.dog.
- T-Mobile posts its employment opportunities at tmobile.careers.
If you’re a business owner looking for a way to stand out online—or if you have the perfect business idea brewing and it needs a home online—grab your new domain name extension this year while it’s still available.
Better crisis communications planning
2017 has been the year of the #PRFail—and we are not talking about a intern sending an inappropriate tweet from the wrong account.
Brands that should have serious resources to craft effective crisis response plans—Pepsi, United Airlines, and let’s not even talk about the Fyre Festival—have been caught in firestorms resulting from major public gaffes.
We all know that mistakes happen, but what shocked me—and probably most of the Internet—is how poorly prepared most brands are to respond to these respective faux pas. So stop procrastinating on drafting a crisis communications plan. You never know when you’ll need it.
Although we can’t predict what new social platform or internet meme 2018 will bring us, by keeping these three trends in mind, we can make sure to be ready for them.
Maris Callahan is the director of public relations for Donuts Inc. and name.kitchen, where she does media relations, content marketing, and social media. She lives in Chicago with Brad, her significant other, and their chihuahua Henry. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.