I wrote a blog last year on the 5 digital trends to be aware of coming into 2017, so this can now be described as tradition, right? A lot of digital marketers and companies write these every year, and while I am all for standing out from the crowd, trends are very important to be aware of to make sure your business is strategically placed to be taking advantage of them as much as possible. A lot of the trend blogs written do also tend to be looking at the UK as a whole, which does not always translate to Northern Ireland business.
1. Video – especially Live Video
Because of the rise of social media, video has become vital – put simply, you need to be producing video content in 2018. It doesn’t matter if your main social media focus is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat, everything is pointing to social media video engagement going through the roof in 2018.
Facebook users watch 8 billion videos EVERY day(!!), YouTube users watch 1 billion hours of video EVERY day(!!), predominantly on mobile.
Live videos don’t require expensive videographers and production costs, they are popular because they are off the cuff. Think about hosting Facebook Live sessions with Q&As, product launches and how tos, or about getting short & snappy video content on Stories (Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, Facebook stories are all good places).
Following on from video, “Stories” have become a key part of digital marketing strategy and social media strategy. Pioneered by Snapchat it has taken social media by storm, and now they have been rolled out by Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube (they’re called Reels on YouTube).
Stories can be video, images, polls (get creative with them) and disappear after a set period of time, normally 24 hours, so they create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for users. They are also small bites of easily digestible content for the bored generation. Most platforms will also have suggested stories for users, so even if they aren’t following your social media profiles you can get extra views and followers.
Thank the US for this trend, in 2018 it’s set to hit Northern Ireland. Influencers have been big for a while but are poised to hit Northern Ireland in a big way in 2018. Put simply, an influencer is a user on social media who has established a lot of credibility and followers in a specific industry. They therefore can influence a huge number of people if they have content around your goods or products by virtue of their authenticity. 90% of people trust reviews, and followers of these influencers really trust what they have to say. In Northern Ireland, in terms of influencers you should have a look a look at the likes of Tiffany Brien, Ivona Moore, My Sister's Closet, That Belfast Girl and see if your brand fits. If not, there are plenty of others.
4. Data protection & Privacy
Start getting ready for this guys – this should concern you if you collect any data, and you should be collecting data on your customers and potential customers by the way! The General Data Protection Regulation is coming into effect on May 25th 2018, which basically gives EU citizens more control over personal data. Explicit consent from the individual will now be compulsory. This could be any data, from a name, to location, to email address. As well as complicit consent, it is your responsibility to tell the person what data you’re collecting and why. Don’t comply? 4% of global annual turnover fine – don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Maybe not something you need to worry about straight away, but you will hear a lot more about chatbots in 2018. They’ve been around a while, but the improvements in AI mean they’ve gotten better, and more businesses are using them. They are basically a computer bot designed to simulate conversation over the internet with your users – and can be used to answer queries, book tables at restaurants, book tickets for gigs, cinema etc. With WhatsApp for Business on the way and Facebook pushing its Messenger app this way for brands, it’s something to be aware of!
That’s our top 5 digital marketing trends for 2018 in Northern Ireland! Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything out!