& Virginia

By Bobbie Vance
When I was a kid, I remember the hand drawn department store advertisements in the newspaper. Shoes, dresses, men’s suites, furniture – were carefully drawn by talented artists in the advertising department. The artwork was carefully cut, arranged with all of the other information, and glued onto a large newspaper sized “layout” which would eventually become a page in the local newspaper.  I remember this, because my mother was one of the last remaining artists drawing those items before photography ads came into existence. Then, she moved into the position of “Art Director” in charge of the photo shoots and designing the ads, as Art Director in the advertising departments for major stores such as Montgomery Ward and Carson Pirie Scott in downtown Chicago.

Now, here we are today using digital media, social media and videos as one of the most effective and fastest tools to advertise and reach civilization. CEO and Founder of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes says “Facebook reported its highest earnings ever in Q3, up nearly 50% from a year ago. Its mobile ads are so popular that the platform is actually starting to run out of space for them, even though they’re charging more than ever. Meanwhile, the network eclipsed the 2-billion-user mark, now counting nearly one-third of the planet among its user base.” (Forbes Jan 2, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholmes/2018/01/02/2018s-biggest-social-media-trends-for-business/#3f08947b5623).

As social media and technology change, businesses definitely need to make adjustments as to how they use social media from this point forward.

  • Facebook is creating a new “Explore Feed” which will be used for company updates. Testing has already begun in some countries to eliminate all company social posts and switch to “Explore” which is not a free platform. Thankfully, Facebook has developed some of the best targeting tools available.
  • Videos are still watched more than copy is read, but going viral doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Companies should use analytic tools to track this.
  • QR codes are being added to new mobile phones so users can log into wifi networks without having to type in passwords, make purchases with PayPal and more.
  • Because of AI powered tools, users can automate campaigns to boost the best performing campaigns.
  • Businesses can instantly integrate their social data to personalize emails and messages.

Holmes also says there will be a lot of change because of the competition between networks to capture advertising money.  “Social media tools and tactics will continue to evolve at a breakneck pace in the year ahead. Expect plenty of new features, new ad tools and brand new ways to watch video.”

Sprout Social has more insights on social media trends in a Feb 6, 2018 article by Alex York at SproutSocial.com (https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-trends).

  • They have observed that there is a higher engagement rate between brands and customers because 1 in 3 consumers mention a brand when they share on social media. In turn, brands are then trying to use social media as a way to create a relationship with consumers.
  • Organizations and companies that receive more customer service questions than they can handle are turning to customizable Chatbots.
  • Social listening tools are being used more to track phrases, words or brands to find create content for their target market. These tools allow the companies to analyze how their effectiveness, create better marketing and improve customer service.
  • Instagram Stories has engaged more than 250 million daily users which makes this platform an enormous opportunity to engage more people.
  • Augmented reality and face filters are becoming more popular as the public is using an advertiser’s face filter which is a great way to use the public to advertise for them.
  • Consumers are using social media more to “Call-Out” a company or brand if they feel wronged which is resulting in more accountability for businesses.

From Now On…
A business has to be tech savvy to compete in the world of social media marketing and someone on staff has to have the time to do it or the work has to be hired out.  You have to keep up with it and at least be willing to let go of the “old way of doing things.”  Unless of course your target market uses a phone book to look for a business listing.