As we leave 2017 behind, we can be sure 2018 will be just as packed with new digital features, challenges and opportunities. One thing that won’t change for the bulk of social media and content marketers is that time and resources will remain at a premium. With that in mind, here are some low-hanging, evergreen(ish) hacks to boost engagement no matter what 2018 brings.
The challenge of tech and tactic fatigue
Back in 2014 the terms “content fatigue” and “content shock” were populating headlines everywhere. In good content marketing fashion these were used to excess then scathingly dropped (to use 2016-17 parlance people “double downed” on them too much).
Both were a reference to information overload and glut. But what about the flip-side? The overload on marketers trying to feed their content pipelines? This was a challenge then and it remains so now.
There is definitely a sense of fatigue out there. Caused by all the channels, formats and tactics now available. So many possibilities have given rise to the ironic challenge of being just too spoilt for choice. That’s why I’ve gathered what I tentatively call ‘evergreen’ hacks that should serve you well in 2018 and beyond.
1. Actually get to know your audience
It sounds obvious, but you may be surprised how many companies I’ve dealt with that still rely on hunches and assumptions over data.
As 2018 takes us even deeper into the ‘age of big data’, knowing what drives your target group is easier than ever before. You must not only know who your ideal prospects are but learn about the context in which their conversions happen.
Detailed persona profiles are the lowest-hanging fruit here. But the most effective and necessary way to do it in 2018 is to bridge your social media and CRM data. Your venerable ol’ CRM is still invaluable, but it takes evergreen data sourced through social listening to really get a handle on what drives your audience.
McKinsey found that companies using data-driven personalization to drive their marketing and sales decisions increased their marketing ROI by 15% to 20%.
2. Invest more in retargeting
Even the sharpest persona scoping and targeting aren’t going to convert everybody.
Retargeting is one area where the social networks are only growing in strength. Facebook and Twitter frequency caps keep audiences from continually seeing the same ads. Custom Audience segmenting or exclusions help you do the same. You will also save money by not targeting earlier conversions.
A good tip with retargeting is to put a Facebook pixel in your emails and then retarget the people who open with a personalized paid ad.
3. Trust in SEO
Search engine optimization may seem something of an arcane art, but it is simply making your content visible to the people who care. As with organic social media it is often declared dead, but the logic just doesn’t stand.
Consider this: 80% of website traffic begins with a search query.
Using the words the people are searching for makes your content far more likely to cross their path. It can be laborious but adding keywords (especially localized ones) to your headlines, meta titles, URLs etc. are simple SEO techniques that can make a huge difference.
A basic rule of thumb is to write your content as if you were directly answering the questions being typed into Google – to discover what those are you can use freemium tools such as tinysuggest and Isigraph. An important tip is to aim for long-tail keywords – especially in light of the accelerated adoption of voice search for Siri, Google Now etc.
4. Picture it on mobile
Google’s algorithm has prioritized mobile-optimized websites since 2015. Mobile internet traffic first overtook traditional desktop devices back in January 2014 – and now accounts for 65% of digital media time.
And yet a lot of brands still don’t pursue a mobile-first marketing strategy. Only one in five do according to one study, settling instead for just ‘mobile-friendly’.
‘Mobile-first’ doesn’t need to be a technical exercise. Much of it is simply employing the classic art of short-form content: shorter headlines, tighter copy, portrait images etc.
One important technical consideration though is loading times. Mobile devices lack the CPU of desktops, so your website’s loading times need to be optimized or you risk losing people at the first hurdle.
Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how your website stands up.
5. Say it with (Instagram) video
No one needs to be told that video is taking over.
One poignant fact among the million available is that one in four consumers lose interest in a company if its content lacks video. But without dedicated video resources and a shoestring budget what is the best way to go here?
If there is just one format you have the bandwidth to pursue, then all the numbers point to Instagram Live Videos and Instagram Stories. Both Instagram and Facebook’s algorithm’s prioritize video, especially live video, in their newsfeeds.
Instagram – and social media video in general – has the added advantage that people expect it to be rough and ready. Basically any intern with an iPhone can produce it.
Some simple tips here include the use of links. Verified Instagram users can embed links that viewers can open with a quick upward swipe. Another is to make ample use of all the filters and effects now on offer. One thing that will never change in marketing is the value of a little pazazz.
Here’s to an energetic 2018
Content marketing is never going to not be hectic. But with trial and experiment and a few hacks like these, you can push through the tech and tactic fatigue.