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We are just a few short weeks till the start of a 2020. Can you believe how fast 2019 has gone? With the new year fast approaching, we are looking to help give your marketing efforts 20/20 vision by giving you some things to look for or think about. Each week we will cover a different topic about organizing your thoughts, efforts, and strategies around marketing your business. Enjoy the content and let us know if you have any questions!

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” —  

David Alston

I started working in digital marketing about ten years ago for a company that specialized in SEO websites. I would say that Google was at its peak in terms of having the corner on search engines. If you as a business wanted to do well online, that meant having an SEOd website that “looked” good to Google’s search algorithms. 

Google is still a major player when it comes to marketing your business, but they now far from the only large search engine your potential customers use. Social media is one of the most popular ways businesses communicate their message to their current and potential customers and those customers use to find the products and services they’re looking for

In the last ten years, social media went from “Why would anyone post what they’re eating?” to “We need to find a way to leverage our brand on Instagram!” For the majority of businesses, marketing on at least one social media platform (but usually more) is critical for success. 

Unfortunately, many business owners still look at social media as an optional task when in reality it needs to be a critical priority. Whether you like social media or not, your customers use it and use it frequently. If you want to be relevant in 2020 and beyond, social media WILL have to become part of your marketing mix.

To help you decide how much social media should be in your marketing mix in the upcoming year, let’s take a look at some trends and how you can position your business for success: 

Alternate Search Methods

Since the rise of the Internet, our primary way to conduct a search was to type your query. Products like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home are allowing us to do voice searches. Visual-based content such as Snapchat and Instagram are allowing people to do searches using graphics. Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu, predicted in 2018 that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice or image. The percentage of video and voices searches may not be that high as we enter 2020, but it is rising and it is something worth keeping an eye. 

How To Make It Work For You

Prepare yourself by doing a little homework and see what tools are available, such as featured snippets by Google for voice search. Also think about how your current and potential customers ask you questions. The questions they ask you will be the same they ask voice-activate search engines. Most importantly, start building written and video content to address those questions.

And remember: the video content and especially the image content you create must be high quality and eye-catching. A curated social media presence will help you attract the gaze of potential customers in a much more valuable way than something you put up without any thought. 

Video Everywhere You Go

For the last few years, whenever you’ve seen a list of marketing trends, video has been at the top. I don’t really see that changing any time soon. Why? People love and prefer visual mediums, especially video. Someone speaking directly to you gives a very different experience than reading words. And as much video marketing content as there is out there, too many small- and medium-sized businesses have yet to wade into the video pool. Just about every social media platform has some form of native video capability, and advancements in technology are making it easier to publish video content. If that is not proof enough for you, viewers say they retain 95% of the message when seen in a video. 

More importantly, YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. You do the math. 

How To Make It Work For You

Just do it. Not to sound flippant, but the best thing you can do with respect to video content is to start recording yourself. Even the famous YouTubers who make six figures in income every year started somewhere. It will take some time to get down the exact content, tone, and style you want, but get comfortable with the idea of creating video content. That comes from just getting in front of the camera and speaking. 

The Rise of Niche Platforms

Currently, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the most popular marketing platforms with LinkedIn and Twitter being a tier below. In 2020, niche platforms will have their time in the sun. An example of this is TikTok, which has grown wildly popular in 2019, and allows users to create and share short-form mobile videos.

Platforms like TikTok and Twitch, which is a social media site for gamers, cater to a specific audience or are used for a specific set of content. These may not make them attractive to everyone at large, but the users of these platforms tend to be devoted and passionate. 

How To Make It Work For You

Understand who your audience is and what their hobbies might be. Do some research to see if there are any platforms that cater to those specific hobbies and make the determination if it is worth the effort to have a presence there. 

Social Media Becomes Even More About The Customer

The key to social media has always been to create a connection with your customers. In the end, that’s what social media is all about. In 2020, your customers are going to have more options than ever when it comes to the media they consume and how they consume it. It will no longer be enough to just have a presence on social media. You will have to have a purpose, so you can engage your audience on their terms and be their to help them. 

How To Make It Work For You

Have a plan of action. Determine which platforms you want to be on and why. Detail your goals and outline how often you want to post. But more importantly, outline how you want to interact with your audience. Make sure to remind yourself and your team that the goal with social media is to encourage engagement and be of service to your audience. 

Fake News and Regulation

In the last few years there have been a lot of news stories about the role of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube play in our public discourse. I am not here to comment on the rights or wrongs of these, or other, platforms. Rather, this is to serve as a reminder that our actions online are under more scrutiny, both from the platforms themselves and individuals who like to call out messages they dislike or find problematic. Congress has already spoken to the heads of several social media platforms. It is unlikely that any regulation will come out of this in the next year, especially with an election coming up, but it is something worth keeping an eye on. 

How To Make It Work For You

Be mindful of your brand and how you wish to be viewed online by your current and potential customers. If something seems questionable, the safe bet is not to post it or at the very least ask for a second opinion. In the end, remember that your social media presence is often the first and only way your audience gets to know you. 

Conclusion

Social media MUST be part of your marketing mix. You do not have to be everywhere. Heck, you don’t even have to be on the most popular ones. But your audience is on social media, somewhere. To be successful in 2020, you must find where that somewhere is and engage in a thoughtful, engaging, and purposeful way. 

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