Best practices for branding your business are constantly evolving. As a result, the content marketing and public relations techniques that dominated this past year will soon fall out of fashion, replaced by new and improved outreach methods. Service businesses should embrace these updated approaches, as customers are more likely to respond to such efforts. Here are the top three branding strategies for 2018:
1. Narrative social media
More than 3 billion people worldwide now use social media, according to research from Hootsuite and We Are Social. This number is expected grow as digitization intensifies. This state of affairs bodes well for service businesses that are active on social networks. But single posts containing images and text no longer meet user expectations, Entrepreneur contributor Deep Patel reported. Most now prefer narrative content, such as the multipart posts created using Instagram Stories. An estimated 200 million people use the specialized social media feature, analysts for Statista found.
Service businesses should take advantage of Instagram Stories in the new year, leveraging it to create concise yet richly branded messaging. The feature facilitates live broadcasts and allows for the creation of animated images via an intraplatform application called Boomerang. The seemingly minor content created with these tools can make a significant impact online and draw in customers, especially younger individuals who appreciate a business with an eye-catching internet presence.
"This year, an estimated 48 percent of marketing leaders increased investments in influencer marketing efforts."
2. Diversified influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has increased in popularity in recent years. This promotional methodology involves recruiting high-profile or important customers to use their influence to promote products or services. This year, an estimated 48 percent of marketing leaders increased investments in influencer marketing efforts, according to research from marketing firm Linqia. This activity is likely to continue over the next year, as even more consumers turn to personalities for advice on purchasing decisions. An increasing number, however, will connect with influencers via video as opposed to static content, which businesses relied upon in 2017, The Next Web reported.
While service businesses cannot replicate the efforts of larger brands, most of which partner with celebrities to promote their products, they can develop small-scale influencer marketing campaigns using local figures. Such efforts usually pay off. In 2016, the average influencer marketing program generated more than $11 in earned media value per $1 of spend, according to research from the marketing consultancy RhythmOne.
3. Dark social networking
With nearly half of the global population active on social media, businesses in every sector are obligated to take their chances online. That said, even the most wide-ranging social media marketing efforts will not reach the significant numbers of users who populate private web-based channels, according to the Digital Marketing Institute. Marketing experts have deemed these conduits dark social, which include email clients, messaging applications, native mobile applications and secure web browsers. An estimated 84 percent of content from publishing and marketing sites is shared via these portals, the marketing firm RadiumOne found.
Service businesses should take advantage of dark social networks in 2018 by rolling out strong email campaigns and engaging with potential customers via messaging applications.
By taking advantage of these up-and-coming trends, service businesses can amplify their messaging in the new year and tap into new, sustainable customer bases.