The four online marketing trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2017 – explained!
If you’ve been a bit startled by New Year marketing checklists filled with buzzwords and little strategic advice, you’ve come to the right place. Bijou Collective offers tangible business advice to passionate individuals, and we’re here to help you cut through all the clutter. In this article, we have selected the four major online trends that will help you stand out in 2017. Read on to discover the next steps to take to grow your business or organization.
Video became a hot topic in 2015, and it really took center stage in 2016, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing that “we see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and services” – an important announcement coming from the most frequented social network, and one of the most important websites on the Internet.
This year, it is estimated that online video will account for 74% of all web traffic . In other words, if you want your message heard, you’ll need to use video to convey it to your audience. Your business therefore needs to get comfortable creating video content, and not just once a year. But the good news is that videos don’t all have to be artistic films professionally shot with an expensive camera.
On social media, they are widely used to provide users with information in a condensed and engaging format; some contain mostly text, or still images. Many software programs – like Animoto or Biteable – allow you to create your own professional-looking videos without any technical knowledge. And with most smartphones now equipped with high quality cameras, it’s easy to snap a video to promote your business.
And don’t forget that videos can be a great tool for SEO too: make sure to optimize the name of the video and its description as well as the text around it if you’re embedding the video on a website, and provide a transcript or subtitles.
HIGH QUALITY STORYTELLING
2016 has, in many ways, shown the limits and the dangers of fake news and clickbait. Millennials and younger consumers are wary of these unsubtle marketing tactics, and Havas recently revealed that 60% of worldwide consumers think that the content produced by brands is “poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver.” 
In response, marketers have to commit to creating meaningful content, instead of creating content for the sake of it. As the study conducted by Havas shows, brands need to step back from the content they create and ask themselves why they create content. Many brands see it as another way of entertaining consumers, but for many consumers content is an opportunity to get educated about a company’s ethos, operations, products and more.
Content also needs to be more approachable. Many companies use content as a way to lure in customers and get them to scroll through layers an irrelevant blog post or click on several links. Marketers should focus their energy on creating high quality content that will make visitors want to come back for more, instead of forcing them to subscribe to a newsletter or to leave their contact details. As more and more content is produced, companies will have to focus on quality, rather than quantity, to get noticed, remembered and trusted.
Mobile has been on every marketer’s mind since February 2015, when Google announced an upcoming update to its algorithm that would give priority to mobile-friendly websites. While it “only” accounted for 35% of global web traffic back then, mobile traffic now accounts for just over half of all web traffic, with a 30 percent increase year-on-year.
It is therefore crucial that your website should work well on mobile. And that doesn’t just mean having a sleek design and a hamburger menu: mobile-first design focuses on the mobile user experience as a whole, improving readability and loading time. A responsive website not only improves your SEO, it adapts entirely to the device to make the customer experience seamless. Moreover, mobile-first design easily fits in with the minimalist web design trend that has grown over the years. The two keywords you should keep in mind are : seamless experience.
Echoing point 2 about high quality content is the ever-growing search for authenticity. In terms of content, authenticity translates as providing genuine, honest information that truly relates to your business, as well as replacing cringe-worthy, stereotypical stock photos with original pictures and adding more identity to your web design.
In the Information Age, authenticity goes hand in hand with transparency. Be open about who you are and what your company stands for, and make that information easily available. Small companies can use their websites to showcase their crafts (using videos, photos, infographics or beautifully-written text) and break down the walls between their customers and themselves. If there’s anything you’re not comfortable sharing, try changing it rather than hiding it: if you lie about something, it will come back to haunt you sooner or later.
Honesty, accountability and open-mindedness are important for today’s consumers. Don’t fake it: remember to be real, consistent and ethical. Communicate with your customers, be ready to answer their questions and take notes of their suggestions. See criticism as something positive that will help you tailor your business to your customer’s desires and expectations.
CONSUMERS WANT TO HAVE THEIR SAY –
so make it possible for them to interact with you and seek their advice to help you grow, and you will be rewarded with a faithful base of customers who think – and talk – highly of you.