In a few weeks, offices will be engulfed in that fuzzy feeling called Christmas. Before you know it, everyone will care less about work and will devote more time making plans for the office party and those dreaded Christmas presentations.
So we thought now is the perfect time to take a last solid stock of ourselves and see what happened this year and more importantly what to expect in 2015, especially in the moving target we call marketing.
To give you a quick bottom line, 2015 will be a war for digital space. Yes kids, sell your houses, pawn everything and make all necessary preparations for a battle that will be waged where your customers are online.
Here are some things Comm&Sense is predicting for 2015 and what every enterprise, whether multinational or SME, should prepare for to come out in one piece, victorious, and gleefully dancing like mad men in the 2015 Christmas parties.
- More companies will use social media not just as an awareness tool, but more as a platform for conversation with existing and potential clients.
For the past five years or so, social media has been viewed by many companies as “a nice to have” tool to raise awareness for their business. Several companies, however, have expanded the purpose of social media by turning it as an engagement platform, or a way to communicate with their existing and target markets. 2015 is expected to be the year that this thinking will be the new best practice. As brands converse with their customers through the popular social media platforms, a stronger sense of trust is established.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES: The start of 2015 should be a good time to revise our strategic objectives for social media. Facebook must no longer be about posting announcements and mindless promos; it is also about giving followers good topics for conversation. Give them specific feedback queries, anecdotes, issues for discussions‚ anything to get them engaged. The year is also an opportunity to open new social media venues to further increase your reach and improve your SEO (now that Google has become more serious in putting more premium on social media conversations to improve rank). And for your own sake, start investing in Facebook ads not only to get more exposure (or impressions) but also to target the people you want to engage with.
- Companies will place more money on a new form of advertising called “Native ads”
“Native advertising” started creating buzz two to three years ago, but it wasn’t until 2014 when both corporations and publishers abroad embraced this form of advertising fully. In reality, native advertising is just a fancy name for a paid post in a popular publishing website. It’s like an advertorial, or an advertisement published to look like a regular editorial content.
Last year, highly popular websites like Forbes, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and recently, the New York Times have started accepting sponsored advertisement that looks like an editorial. Today, online media entities like ABS-CBNNews.com and GMANetwork.com have already followed suit.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES: With online media already overtaking print media as a source of information, expect more Philippine news websites to make thinner the lines of journalistic independence and join the native advertising bandwagon this year. But more than the media, invest in content that will feel less like ads and more of articles people will care about; for instance, if you’re a BPO, publish these kinds of stories: “10 reasons why Filipinos make the best BPO agents, bar none” or “Careers in BPO that will not lead you out of your mapped out career path”
- Mobile browsing will continue to make a splash
The number of Filipinos browsing the web through smartphones, tablets, and the crossbreed phablets‚ will continue to increase, certainly surpassing the growth rate mobile internet experienced in recent years.
In the same manner, studies show that Filipino mobile consumers now spend an average of 171 minutes per day on their mobiles. The usage will continue to rise in 2015 and Filipinos will still use smartphones mainly for chat, social networking, and entertainment.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES: Online marketing efforts should also focus on optimizing for the mobile platform. It is also time to consider the possibility of rolling out mobile apps for your business. In the same way, 2015 is a great year to implement mobile or responsive versions of your website.
- Content marketing will continue to grow
The exponential growth of content marketing has been a common denominator in predictions of many digital marketing experts worldwide. Content AI not link building and keyword stuffing, ‚AI will be the new norm of SEO. Their potential for “shareability,” over social media will be the key to their “searchability.” In 2015, content strategists, copywriters, and graphic designers will become the new SEO experts and not programmers.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES: Expand your content production for publication in your website and share them across as many social media accounts as possible. Instead of getting the usual “SEO experts” focus on getting writing and graphic arts services. Come up with more articles, eNewsletters, case studies, infographics, and videos for your websites. This will lead to building better rapport and loyalty among your followers and searchers.
- Employees will be empowered to become brand experts
For the longest time, the pervasive school of thought is that social media is a virtual taboo in the workplace. However, in an age where social media has taken over traditional media in delivering corporate messages for the public, many companies have started to unsubscribe to the belief that social media should be banned in the office.
Employees have so many friends and followers; it is such a waste of organic audience potential to prevent them from helping the company in spreading the good word out about the business. Imagine if each of your employees had 100 dedicated followers‚ or even 1,000. Your reach would quickly increase exponentially, and with it, your voice would get stronger.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES: If social media is banned in your workplace, it’s high time this policy is reviewed. The modern solution is managing, not banning. Most companies already have a policy for employee social media engagement, along with basic guidelines. These rules and guidelines need to be crystal clear, easily accessible, and distributed to every employee on day one.
Here are some suggestions you can adopt, in case the company decides to open up social media in the workplace:
– Make sure the agreement focuses on your corporate brand
Make very clear the guidelines of your corporate brand statement, vision, values, and voice, as well as how you position the brand on social media. Each employee must embody these values on and off social media. Emphasize, however, the opportunity to partner with employees so that they extend the corporate brand and brand values through their own efforts. Have them embrace and extend the organization’s voice in each and every social media interaction. For example, if integrity and excellence are key attributes of your brand, your employees can seek to emphasize those qualities in all of their activities.
– Talk to and train employees who plan to use social media
Employees participating in the corporate social media initiative must get regular training on how to manage their accounts, including privacy settings, who they are posting to, and what they are allowed and not allowed to say.
You can also create an ad hoc social media team to answer questions when employees are uncertain, or must make a judgment call about a piece of content they’d like to share.
– Monitor social activity closely
Make it clear to those joining this program that you will be monitoring their activities over social media. It must be emphasized to them that any public information is subject to monitoring.