We ask: What tips and techniques are emerging from the ever-changing digital landscape as we move into the New Year?

The world of digital marketing is in a constant state of development. This fast-paced industry doesn’t just keep the SEO business on its toes – it also means that every single online organisation needs to be constantly aware of the changing marketing environment to get the very best out of its digital campaign.

The New Year is the best time to take stock of your current marketing approach and make solid plans for the future. We decided to ask our SEO consultants for their opinions on the hottest digital marketing topics right now to help you evolve your strategy as we move into 2018.

Don’t Talk – Chat

There is plenty of talk about the Facebook / Twitter / Snapchat generation, which is sometimes known as Generation Z. These are the people who have grown up using (and being influenced by) social media, and by 2020, this demographic will account for 40 percent of consumers.

One thing we all know about this market segment is they love to chat. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are the channels of choice amongst these users, often preferred in place of phone calls or email. If your digital marketing strategy has not been adapted to cater for this strong trend, it’s time to rethink your marketing communications.

Harness A Chatbot

Access to these kinds of instantaneous messaging platforms has fuelled a new interest in live support from online companies. When a customer wants to chat, they want to do it right now. They don’t necessarily want to wait in a call queue, or refresh their inbox multiple times waiting for an email response from your team. Give them the answers to their questions in a simple, user-friendly format, and you’ve got them hooked from the very first interaction.

But a non-responsive chat window is as irritating as an unanswered phone – and remember, the 21st century consumer has even less patience than those of past generations, so you’re battling zero tolerance when it comes to delays and inefficiencies.

A chatbot won’t be able to replace human interaction (not yet, at least), but it is an invaluable tool that can help businesses move web traffic along the sales funnel and convert leads into paying customers. Talk to your web developer to find out which platform will be the best fit for your current website.

Facebook Is Not Just Designed For B2C Communications

Businesses have a preconceived idea that Facebook is primarily used for B2C organisations, whereas LinkedIn is most effective for B2B. This is simply not so. Any platform with more than two billion users needs to be leveraged to its fullest extent. The truth is a simple one – businesses use Facebook, just like individuals. Make good use of all of Facebook’s promotional features, including its paid ads, and you’ll reach a wider audience in the coming twelve months. Don’t be afraid to experiment with Facebook’s myriad of targeting features, either – you’ll collect a wealth of data that will be useful across the board.

As Always, Content Is Still King

Your digital marketing agency should already be heavily driven by content, and there’s no reason for you to change this tactic – in fact, you should be building on your existing content plan. Remember those Generation Z-ers? They are extremely digitally savvy, and will not so much as look at a piece of content unless it is offering them inherent value.

Straightforward ads are no longer the way to win the hearts and minds of your consumers. You need to think outside the box; come up with something that’s not being offered by your competitors. We would recommend adding to text content with images, graphics, gifs, videos – anything that will grab the reader’s attention, convince them to engage in your brand, and consider you for their next purchase.

Who Influences The Influencers?

Following on from the above, most people understand that social media marketing is a vital strand of digital marketing. But you might not realise just how crucial it is to your online success. The phrase “Facebook generation” is used advisedly, and those who count themselves as part of it often have a more tangible presence online than in the physical world.

Whether that is entirely healthy, at an individual or economic level, is a question for another day. But the point here is that your younger audience has grown up with influencer marketing and recognises it as a viable concept, even if they have never heard of the phrase. This has thought-provoking implications for the B2C dynamic, making it more akin to a partnership or collaboration. Your social media content needs to engage on these terms. Get it wrong, and customers can quickly become competitors.