Is 2018 The Return of the Tweet?

Over the last few years, in the political spectrum, sporting world and just about every aspect of life, we’ve come to appreciate being wrong. Let’s face it; who would have called all of the crazy events we’ve seen in the last few years taking place?

From media stars becoming political powerhouses to minnows winning championships, the last few years have taught us that conventional wisdom has rarely been more incorrect. For example, in the last few years you’ve likely seen people chiselling gravestones to lay to rest social media giant, Twitter. 2017 was full of people bouncing with joy that Twitter was on a perpetual slide. It became a site that people were very happy to jump on top of, yet rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Those denouncing it as just the home of political bots and outspoken rants about football have quickly come to realise that, in 2018, we might be seeing a glorious revival of Twitter. Not only is Twitter beginning to become much more open to investment from those who want to utilize its unique reach, but the platform is attracting just the right sort of people: advertisers.

Now, Twitter users, prepare for the bad news. You won’t just be seeing retweets from your favourite and least favourite people in the media, you’ll be seeing a lot more advertising. Because of the model of Twitter in the first place, it’s never really been as ad-friendly as other social media platforms. Money talks, of course, so that has seen Twitter take a bit of a kicking in the last few years as advertisers coined it in elsewhere.

2018, though, looks to be the year that this comes to an end. The outlook is quickly becoming far more positive for Twitter, with most investors as positive about Twitter as they have been in some time.

People hate monopolies and duopolies, and it appears like Twitter might be about to benefit from that hatred of anti-competition. So, we expect to see Twitter continue to grow as people look for investments outside of the ‘Big Two’ and try to diversify a marketplace that was all about diversity.

While we aren’t quite ready to say that Twitter is a massive investment opportunity that you must make the most of, it’s a fairly massive improvement from the bleak prognosis of this time last year. As more people begin to make the most of its numerous positive points, we’re much more likely to see the site continue to improve and grow for the right reasons.

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The Present Day

So far in this series, we’ve dealt with the evolution of marketing from the nineteenth century up until the new millennium. But what state is the world of marketing in right now? And what developments can we expect in the future? In this final piece, we’ll take a peek into that future, and discover how marketers are using a unique blend of old and new approaches to capture the attention of a new generation.

Those who said that social media was just a fad that would soon pass must be kicking themselves right now. Instead, it’s gone from strength to strength, and nowadays the whole world is more connected than ever before. Over a billion people are now on Facebook, and they, along with other social media companies like Twitter, have made it simple to pay for an ad and reach a pre-determined number of people, allowing small and large companies alike to stick to their marketing budget and get the results that they need to succeed.

The Present day - the history of marketing

While the scope of marketing has gotten bigger and bigger as time goes on, the actual mediums through which people are exposed to that marketing have shrunk from billboards to TV and computer screens. Now, ads can be delivered straight to your pocket via mobile phones. From pop ups on the latest apps to adverts that play in between Snapchat stories, there are now more ways than ever to reach out to people with a message. And people are using that technology more and more, meaning marketing is in a great position to influence people.

The Present day - the history of marketing mobile

That’s not to say that older marketing methods don’t still have a place in today’s world. In fact, some research puts direct mail slightly ahead of email marketing in terms of how likely it is to influence people. In an increasingly digital world, you’d be surprised just how many people out there prefer a physical, analogue approach to things. You only have to look at the resurgence in popularity of vinyl records to see that there’s still something about physical objects that attracts people over cold, hard digital. It’s simple to just delete an email without even looking at it, but people need to at least pick up a piece of direct mail before throwing it away- making it easier for advertisers to catch their eye.

Another form of marketing experiencing a renaissance in popularity is product placement. TV shows and films have always been willing to include brand-name products for the right price. However, as the video game industry continues to grow- with an estimated worth of over $100 billion in 2017- advertisers have started to branch out into this more modern medium. Back in 2004, the amount that companies spent on product placement was a pretty modest $34 million. By 2016, though, that figure had increased to a whopping $7.2 billion. At the same time, with social media being so popular, so-called “influencers” are also being paid to promote certain brands and products via their accounts, reaching out to a vast, ready-made audience.

The Present day - the history of marketing tv and gaming

So, what can we expect from marketing in the future? Well, there’s one big technology that’s starting to emerge right now, and that’s virtual reality. While it’s still in its early stages, VR looks set to finally take off in the next few years as it becomes more accessible and affordable. Naturally, you can expect marketing firms to take advantage of that popularity, and come up with a whole new way of reaching out to consumers. Imagine not just looking at an ad, but actually being inside it! Marketing has always thrived on novelty, since people are naturally attracted to new things. VR is a great way of achieving that, since it’s a completely untapped area.

The Present day - the history of marketing virtual reality

By always staying at the forefront of technology, while still understanding how older approaches fit in with today’s world, marketing has evolved and adapted over the years. In just a few decades, marketing has completely transformed into a whole new beast. Whatever’s around the corner, you can be sure that the industry will adapt.

It Was Acceptable In The 80’s

During the 80’s, it seemed like technology was everywhere. From the rise of the PC and Apple making computers cool, to bands on the radio drenching their sound in synths, things were moving forward fast. Of course, the world of marketing had its finger on the pulse of the era, and it was during the 80’s that advertising started to go digital. Electronic databases made it simple to reach out to existing customers and attract new ones with tempting deals. This also led to the development of “relationship marketing”, where companies provide customers with information that’s specifically relevant to them. Now, instead of giving everyone the same message, marketing could now be tweaked, making it a lot easier to reel in leads.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing computer

It was also during the 80’s that companies started thinking bigger when it came to ads. One of the most famous adverts in history, Apple’s “1984”, was the brainchild of Hollywood director Ridley Scott, and cost almost a million dollars just to make. With a distinctive sci-fi feel that captured the feeling of the era, while also showing the Apple Mac as something futuristic and cool, the ad became an instant sensation. Despite being broadcast nationally only once, during the Super Bowl, it became such a talking point that news broadcasts even included clips of it that night- generating millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity for Apple. Just as Michael Jackson was pushing the boundaries of what music videos could be, now the marketing world was starting to think big, too.

With big corporations now regularly spending millions on ad campaigns, smaller companies needed a way of keeping up without blowing their budget. In 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson came up with a solution- guerilla marketing. In his book of the same name, he put forward a type of advertising based on the guerilla warfare used by small-scale armies to take on bigger enemies- by using everything at their disposal. By using these same sorts of tactics, and thinking outside the box, Levinson saw a way for small businesses to capture the minds of consumers without spending a lot of money. Guerilla marketing relies on creating a social buzz around a campaign, and relying on word-of-mouth to spread your message. Not only does it save a fortune compared to big-budget campaigns, but Levinson also saw it as a way of reaching out to a public tired of bland, boring print and radio ads. From art installations and spray-painted slogans to zany stunts like having people tattoo logos on their faces, all bets were off when it came to where companies would turn next for guerilla marketing.

It was acceptable in the 80's - the history of marketing radio

While the possibilities grew, so did the number of people who could put together their own marketing materials. With desktop publishing becoming commonplace, anyone with enough computer savvy and creative skills could put together a strong marketing campaign with real results. No longer was marketing something that only big corporations could afford- thanks to a wealth of smaller ad agencies, the 80’s marked a huge change in just how accessible marketing was to the average business. Businesses could even create their own marketing materials from scratch, making advertising a whole lot more democratic.

So, the 1980’s were a time of great change for the marketing world. At one end of the spectrum, big corporations were spending unprecedented amounts on campaigns designed to wow the public. At the other end, those without a big budget to spend were coming up with innovative new approaches that worked through word-of-mouth. However, everything was about to change with the advent of the internet- and next time, we’ll take a look at just what impact this had on how businesses looked at advertising.

What’s New on Social Media in 2017

It is one of the most powerful tools for businesses ever invented. Social media has transformed how we market ourselves and, for SMEs on limited budgets in particular, it’s an invaluable platform to set out a brand and sell a product or service.

Things are changing, however. Reaching customers is becoming more and more nuanced. Here are just some of the changes that are happening this year and are important if you want your business to succeed on social media.

  1. Social Messaging for Beginners

Forget standard Facebook and Twitter timelines. Millennials want the personal approach. Businesses are starting to engage on platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and Viber.

Why? Evidence is beginning to show that users are loyal to a greater degree with brands that engage directly on these platforms. How are businesses doing this? Many are linking their ads on social media to chat windows which means users can engage directly with a brand and get the personal touch. It’s more labour intensive but it could also be a lot more profitable too.

  1. Live Feeds

They’ve taken a while to gain popularity but live feeds are starting to become an integral part of social media platforms, including Facebook. Across the provision, social media live streaming is growing and creating more engagement than standard marketing practices. Millennials are one major demographic who are attracted to live video feeds and sharing the right kind of content is going to be the challenge of 2017 for many businesses.

  1. Chatbots and Automation

There’s been a big conversation in recent times about how automation can be introduced, particularly for businesses that are struggling with the time needed to successfully engage on social media. Artificial intelligence is improving quickly and the latest chatbots can make users think they are talking to a real person. Putting aside the ethics of using automatic responses, there’s no doubt that many businesses are improving their customer service operations by introducing this kind of technology. Chatbots on social media can have numerous benefits and boost confidence in your brand particularly among those all-important millennials.

  1. Augmented Reality

It’s been around for a good few years now but is, at last, beginning to catch on. Facebook is starting to experiment with it following the recent success of Pokémon Go and the growth of Virtual Reality devices and apps. Basically, AR puts digital images onto the real world and there is a lot of potential for social media, and businesses, to make good use of this technology and provide a more immersive experience for fans and followers.

  1. It’s All Fake News

Made popular by new President Donald J Trump in recent months, the notion of fake news is one thing that your business shouldn’t ignore. Social media platforms such as Facebook are looking at ways of reducing the amount of fake news that is disseminated through click bait sites. For businesses, it may well be a case of keeping a look out and being sceptical about information they intend to pass on via social media. A lot, of course, depends on what your business is all about but quick retweets of interesting news snippets is going to be a lot more hazardous for your brand from now on.

It’s vitally important nowadays to have a coherent strategy in place for social media, including policies for what can be shared and what definitely shouldn’t. There’s no doubt that 2017 could be an interesting year for businesses, and leveraging your brand in new and exciting ways is going to take some deep thinking and a good deal of experimentation to find what works for you.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Blog

You’ve got the right content on your site, worked hard on your meta tags and descriptions, have your keywords liberally splashed across the pages and you’re ready to go. Businesses often put the effort in to set up a website but ignore one of the most potentially powerful tools in their marketing armoury. A well written blog can not only drive traffic to your site, it can set you up as a respected and trusted expert in your industry.

1. Drive Traffic to Your Site

Search engines like Google love new content. If your website is a static entity, one way to improve this is to add a regularly updated blog. You can include keywords and other SEO tricks such as optimised images to improve the visibility of your site with search engines. Do it well and you drive more traffic to your site. The good news is that a well compiled blog can help deliver relevant traffic not only in an immediate sense but for months and years to come afterwards.

2. Create a Conversation

Putting the right blog posts up on your site can bring new customers to your site but also get them leaving comments and starting a conversation. Your website goes from something that people just look at, to a community where they want to engage. It can lead to consumers bookmarking your site and returning at regular intervals.

3. Establish Authority

Whether you run a service such as legal advice or accountancy or have an ecommerce site selling products, gaining the trust of your potential customers and clients is vital. A blog can help you to do just that, allowing you to share your expertise and show that you know what you are talking about, even setting yourself up as thought leader in your industry. Authority is important in the online world and a blog can help you to establish it. At the end of the day, people buy from people and they are more likely to use your service or purchase your product if they trust what you have to say.

4. Blogs and Social Media, the Perfect Match

Most businesses nowadays engage on social media. Having a blog allows you to post something different on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and drive more traffic to your site. Rather than sending your followers to product links, you can ease them into your site through your blog, providing free and interesting content that gets them engaged and more likely to return, hire your services or buy your products.

5. Build Your Email List

If people like what you write on your blog, they might want to be kept informed of your future posts. This is a great opportunity to build your email list by including the chance to join your mailing list. The next time you have a big marketing push you can then send these individuals your advertising, sure in the knowledge that they are actually interested in your product or service.

There’s no doubt that including a well-written blog on your site can have huge benefits. Our top tips for getting it right are:
• Post quality content. Post it regularly. Much will depend on your industry area but getting that balance between quality and quantity is key to success.
• Have a blog list for the next six months or so with publishing dates so you aren’t constantly looking for ideas.
• Don’t be afraid to mix up your content by using images, infographics and videos.
• Include keywords that match your product and industry to attract more relevant visitors.
• Tie your blog posts into your social media presence and give visitors the chance to share your posts when they have read them.

If you need any help with your social media or online marketing please pop your details in our contact us  page and we will get in contact with you to help!

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