2017 has been a hectic year for digital marketers, and it’s suddenly time to look ahead and make some marketing New Year’s Resolutions for the next 12 months. Where do you need to focus your time and energy? What could you be doing better next year?
Here are three New Year’s Resolutions any self-respecting digital marketer should make.
Get Faster Campaign Turnarounds
We all know the digital world moves fast, and trends can disappear in the blink of an eye, but those outside the industry don’t always realise the tight timescales we work to. If your campaigns include stage after stage of approval from different departments and management levels, you may find you’ve missed the boat with some campaigns this year, as they’d already lost relevance by the time the launch date came around.
Your first goal in 2018 should be to streamline the process of getting campaign approval. Even if your company is huge and your head office is on an entirely different time zone, by 2018 it should move with the times and give fast-tracking to last-minute zeitgeisty campaigns.
This year, Evian reported it spent 80 per cent of its marketing budget on digital media, including a high-profile Snapchat campaign with a branded filter. Whilst the brand claims this had a great social reach for them, Snapchat hasn’t maintained the popularity it once had, and Facebook and Instagram have both copied elements of the social network.
A recent redesign may improve things, but only time will tell. In six months, you might not want a Snapchat campaign to be running at all, so hold off on starting any long-term campaign based on a less-than-rock-solid platform.
Look Harder at Your Influencers
For many digital marketers, snaring small groups of top industry influencers with huge followings is their ultimate goal. But, with the combination of ever more sceptical followers and ever more eagle-eyed advertising standards controls, it’s never been so important to micro-manage an influencer campaign.
If you’re working with a small campaign budget, or perhaps no budget at all, don’t assume a little flattery will get you everywhere with the big cheese of the digital world – it probably won’t. But fear not: if their blog or account is awash with sponsored content, freebies or press trips, their following is likely to be tired of constant advertorials.
Instead, consider influencers whose content is a mixture of unpaid or personal posts, with no ties to advertisers or campaigns, and some promotional pieces. And do check out the language they use to disclose any promotional content, because it needs to match the ASA’s guidelines. A good yardstick is the Fashion Law website’s rankings (from 2016) of fashion bloggers and Instagrammers, in order of most transparent disclosures, to follow the FTC (America’s Federal Trade Commission).
Really scrutinise the blog or feed of your social media target before and during any negotiations. Recent scandals over famous YouTubers’ long-buried but offensive tweets should also be a reminder to properly check their social media accounts, especially if your influencer’s target audience is teenagers or children. Aside from having a good following and engagement level, your ideal influencer should really match your brand values on a personal level: no dodgy selfies or hashtags, please…
Use Every Part of your Company for Content
Digital marketing often relies on that old saying, ‘thinking outside the box’, but sometimes creativity can be close to home – or rather, close to your office desk. When your average marketing campaign will involve pushing a product or widening your target audience, it’s worth remembering to mine the talent sitting alongside you, because there are content ideas to be found.
Quick wins for SEO could include writing a guest post or article about the colleague whose family have always worked for your company; pieces like that will tug on the heartstrings of readers and make them see the business in a different light.
You might have an unusual graduate recruitment scheme, internship programme or a fun office layout that an HR magazine might like to feature online. Talk to your own office manager and HR department and find out what they do differently to make your company stand out.
Also look at quick wins locally: instead of going paintballing, could a teambuilding day involve helping the elderly to learn about the internet? That’s a PR’s dream, and it could be your gateway to build relationships with online publications aimed at the over-60s. With minimal effort, and simply by using the colleagues and surroundings you take for granted, you could make your digital strategy more approachable and well-rounded.
We don’t know exactly what 2018 will bring the digital marketing sphere, but it’s safe to assume it won’t be boring, especially if you commit to these resolutions.