A new year always feel like an opportunity to start over or improve – both in our personal and professional lives. Your digital marketing strategy should be no different; new changes and developments in tech and customer expectations are happening all the time, and we need to be vigilant in order to know the best ways of optimising our digital marketing strategies.
In this blog post, I’m going to provide my top digital marketing tips for businesses in 2018.
Be more strategic this year
As I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners on a regular basis, I often notice that a majority of them don’t really properly strategize their digital marketing campaigns. They know what they’re supposed to do – i.e. use content marketing, start a blog, use social media, and so on – and they tick the boxes, but they don’t really build a proper plan.
For example, they might post a random post on their blog, just because they haven’t blogged in a while. Or they might do a little SEO here and there, when there’s time.
But this isn’t really a good way to manage your digital marketing in the long run; strategizing not only helps you get better results, but it will also help you save time, and grow your business faster.
For every different digital marketing campaign you have – content marketing, social media, email, etc. – you need to spend the time to really plan out your whole strategy.
In short, you need to:
- Set specific goals that you want to achieve during a certain time period. This will allow you to focus on what matters, and it will you decide what content you’ll need to create in order to achieve these goals
- Study your audience – understand what they like, what content they prefer, so that you can create targeted, optimised content that makes them take action
- Spy on your competitors – look at your competitors’ online presence (SEO, social media, blogging and other content) to understand what works and what doesn’t. Use the opportunity to understand more about your niche, as well as your audience
- Pick your channels – where will you be posting your content? Where is your audience?
- Plan the content – create an editorial calendar for your content, a social media calendar for social media, and so on, to plan your exact content categories
- Decide who will manage each campaign, as well as the approval scheme
- Determine what KPIs you’ll be using to measure your goals – and don’t forget to measure them! It’s extremely important, as it can make a huge difference to your success. This is a lesson I learned years ago, when I found a quote from Warren Buffett that really stuck with me: study your mistakes. This is the best way of optimising your marketing campaigns and making sure that you’re investing resources in what brings results.
Make full use of Instagram’s new feature
Instagram have recently released a new feature, one of the biggest ones we’ve seen in recent years – and one that should be very exciting to businesses on Instagram.
Users can now follow hashtags, meaning that businesses now have a new way of getting their content into people’s Instagram feeds.
In order to make the most of this feature, follow these tips:
- Quality is very important – just because you’re using a hashtag that people are following, it doesn’t mean that they will actually see your posts in their feed. As TechCrunch reports, Instagram will try to make sure that only the best make it by using an algorithm that picks content based on their quality and the time they were posted. What this also means is that it might be worth posting content more often, so as to reach as many people as possible.
- Pick your times carefully – Since their algorithm is using time as a factor in deciding what posts are shown in people’s feeds, it’s more important than ever that you post new content when your audience is online. Experiment with different posting times to understand when your audience is most active
- Don’t post excessive hashtags – It’s incredibly tempting to blast out as many hashtags as possible (30), but this is very likely to make your post look…well, too salesy. And it might even make Instagram’s algorithm avoid you when searching for posts; after all, they’re trying to make sure there’s no spam in peoples’ feeds, and 30 hashtags has the potential to look like spam. Use instead about 6-10 hashtags per post, as Agorapulse’s Social Media Lab found, works best for engagement.
- Focus on more targeted, niche hashtags – The biggest hashtags on Instagram have millions of posts, which will make it difficult for your posts to get picked. Plus, they’re very broad in scope, so even if you do get in people’s feeds, it’s very likely that it won’t be your target audience. Try instead to use more niche targeted hashtags, usually formed of at least 2 words, as the competition isn’t as high but they’re still popular enough to be followed.
Create a better, more seamless customer experience
It’s not just digital platforms that are changing and evolving, but also customers; the main change happening right now, is that people want better customer experiences.
They want seamless customer experiences across platform.
They want to be able to ask you a question via a Twitter DM, then continue the conversation via email, and then they also want quick access to the information they need.
So, what can you do to stay on top of this trend?
- Consider getting a chatbot – there are over 2 billion messages being exchanged between businesses and regular people every month via Facebook Messenger. A lot of customers prefer to use these types of channels to talk to businesses and ask questions. Because of this, there are 100,000 monthly active bots on Messenger, and this number is sure to grow in 2018. It creates a better experience for your customers and it even makes it easier on you too.
- Add live chat to your website – live chat is now accessible to businesses of all sizes, and it can help you generate more opportunities and leads for your business
- Make the most of marketing automation – if you’re already using marketing automation, you’re on the right track; if not, well, it’s never too late to get started. Use marketing automation not to save you time, but to deliver better, more targeted content to your audience, as they need it, when they need it
Extra tip: Increase your video marketing budget
Before I go, I’d also urge you to increase your video marketing budget in the new year. Videos of all kinds are performing very well, both in terms of engagement and of generating leads.
Plus, it’s super accessible, even if you don’t have a big marketing budget; you don’t need to hire a studio to produce your videos. There are so many tools that you can use to create animated and regular videos completely from scratch, with absolutely no filming required. In fact, you barely need any editing/design experience to put them together.
This year, consider posting more videos on your blog and YouTube channel, create more videos for your social profiles, more live streaming videos, and more video Stories on Instagram (they’re looking to add the ability to post a link with your Story – very exciting news for businesses as they will be able to increase their website traffic).
It’s still early times, and we can’t know for sure all the changes, new platforms, and new features that will come our way this year. Some things, though, you can be sure of and those were the tips I wanted to focus in this blog post.
What are some of your top digital marketing tips for 2018?
Author Bio: Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.
Contact info: www.lilachbullock.com