5 marketing trends your small business should know about

Here's five trends you'll want to put into practice to enhance your marketing efforts. Whether you're selling wine online or trying to encourage locals to visit your tasting room: tapping into current trends will help you reach your goals. Using 2017 industry budget forecasts and insights, we've curated a list to help you action, enhance and repeat!

1- Visual content is "absolutely necessary."

You can spot it on your own Google results and social media feeds: it is becoming a significant factor for both marketing content and allocating budgets. According to a study by Venngage, of 300 marketing professionals, in 2016:

53% of marketers said they used visuals 90-100% in published content.
While over 90% said they use visuals more than 50% of the time.

All in all, that's a lot of visuals! But what we find particularly interesting is to learn the biggest struggles the same professionals face. Can you relate?

  • 37% struggled producing engaging visuals consistently

  • 29% struggled producing well designed visuals

  • 24% struggled with the ability to reach a wide audience

  • 10% struggled finding engaging data to share

You can see the full infographic study here. Ask yourself, what images are currently receiving the best engagement? But more importantly: how could I possibly get more of them?

2- Video content

We've steadily seen the impact video has had on marketing engagement. From its beginnings in casual social media, businesses are now creating or planning for video content in their daily feeds or top level marketing projects. Industry leaders like Tasty, Yellowglen and a personal favourite Mouton Noir wines know very well the high engagement video has.

Could simple daily videos engage your customers? Or could you create a short clip to better share your business story?

It's important to note that a blockbuster movie budget isn't what is required for "good" video content. The increasing use of Snap, Instagram stories, and as of this week, the brand new Messenger Day (Facebook Messenger's brand new "stories" feature), shows that even raw/candid videos are engaging!

Facebook ad sample for Club W

Facebook ad sample for Club W

3- Time to pay-to-play

Social media algorithms are increasingly limiting your organic reach as a business. Or, if we put it more simply: Facebook, Instagram and the likes keep making it harder for you to reach out to the people who want to hear from you (!)

You might be thinking "why would they do that?" Answer: they want you to pay for it...

The incredibly dense amount of marketing on Facebook means you've got to put money where your mouth is. The benefit? Facebook's Ad Manager is a highly targeted tool that can go as far as geo-targeted by postal code and likes on a specific topic. Facebook ad targeting is a great tool, completely tracked and can give you real-time analytics that show where your money goes. 

The challenge? You want your post to be effective so you need to "boost" (pay Facebook) engaging content that users will action. Think about your company goals: do you want people to click to your page? Do you want them to Sign Up, Download or Shop Now? Test different images with as little as $5 a day and see your engagement (and sales) numbers increase!

4- Employee Advocacy 

If paid marketing isn't in the cards (or even if it is) there's one other avenue we strongly recommend checking out: use the resources on hand, and we're talking about the fantastic people in your team! This forecast has been shared from the team at Hootsuite, they even have a very nifty app to make it one step easier, encouraging businesses to use their employees as advocates for their brand.

The challenge? Encourage and incentivize employees to present an "on-brand" presence. The benefit? Content shared from personal accounts is more trusted and effective when fighting the social media algorithm. 

Shopify's Messenger integration for a personalized customer service experience

Shopify's Messenger integration for a personalized customer service experience

5- Use social channels for sales and customer service 

Even though we're discussing marketing trends, it's more than likely that you are involved in more than that (like Sales and Customer service). Social media goes beyond marketing.

Consumers are now using platforms like Pinterest and Instagram to gain product knowledge. Test and trial are always best, but check out this feature for Shopify users that integrates Facebook Messenger with ease!

We actually leverage social media that way, and observed for ourselves how greatly personal and amazingly efficient this can be!

What can you do with these trends in mind?

Start a conversation with your team! You may just find one of these trends was the direction your marketing was lacking, or it's the perfect direction to further push the content you already have. Discuss:

  • What type of visual content is getting the best engagement with your users?
  • Could you introduce video content to engage?
  • What budget do you have to start using Facebook paid ads?
  • Can you create goals so your team start sharing your content on social?
  • Can you introduce social channels to talk more with your users?

You'll never know if you don't give it a go! Why not kick off next week with a few posts and see what happens!? Monitor, compare and adapt. This is the best way to work out what your users are best engaging with so you can create marketing strategies to sell more product!