Digital content creation trends for smart brands to build on in 2020 and beyond – #BizTrends2020

Year-on-year social media platforms tighten the squeeze on how their algorithms prioritise content across timelines in favour of user-experience, which in turn means companies and brands pay more for that space and the smart ones are changing their strategies. Content creation, customer interaction and brand communication online are turning more towards claiming a niche in various communities and evolving messaging from there, unlike sending multiple messages across the web in the hopes that some of it resonates.


Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022.

Brands are seeing more value in focused and targeted strategies that lead to increased community engagement. The advent of 5G and the growth in video consumption will lead to the creation of more visual content that customers can utilise and easily share. There will be more investment in collaborating with content creators whose messaging can be easily linked with certain brands without a major change in narrative.

Short-form brand video ads

New entrant to the banking industry, and challenger brand (in its own right), TymeBank, had one of the most focused social media adverting strategies in 2019; where the brand displayed its card in short-form video format. These GIFs flooded timelines, mine and my immediate circle, resulting in improved brand recognition among social media users in a crowded marketplace. Their smart tactics from artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning to the intelligent use of big data saw them surpassing the 600k customer mark in less than a year.

This short-form, snackable, video content strategy will continue to grow as more brands see value in breaking down their messaging to take advantage of increasingly fast-paced timelines in a hyper competitive attention economy. Video is also one of the most competitive spaces among social media platforms with each trying to out-manoeuvre the other, which creates a gap for brands who understand their customers’ consumption patterns and interests.

Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.



Increase in branded video content and collaboration

Researchers predict that internet advertising will account for 22.7 percent of the total ad market with a value of over 700 million U.S. dollars by 2022. The growth of 5G, increased use of Stories across social media and the spread of video content will lead to more brands creating original video content and collaborating with video content creators.

Unlike written content, video is more engaging and ensures that people interact with content longer than other mediums across digital platforms. As more brands realise the need to create current, shareable and continually useful content, we will see more quality videos. Some of these will be on the brand’s platforms which – for brands themselves – reduces some of the relative noise they compete with across social media.

With some content creators already working on quality video content, it will be easier for brands to plug into that rather than starting from scratch. Specialist content creators, from video to podcasts, will find it easier to collaborate instead of creating content for a brand outside of their existing portfolio and niche.

Black Twitter and other niche communities

South African brands have begun asking questions about niche communities and some have been successful in engaging with Black Twitter, which is largely characterised by political content. With the maturity of social media in South Africa, especially on Twitter, there is also growth among niche communities that develop around multiple interests.

Smart brands, armed with digital data, will craft their messaging around specific communities with the aim of better targeting.

Year of the micro-influencer (again)

Zara’s #DearSouthAfrica campaign was one of 2019’s most followed trends that had micro-influencers at the centre of it, which talks to how brands are now beginning to adopt a different strategy compared to the celebrity-influencer format. Micro-influencers whose content is focused around specific interests will be included in more campaigns, as brands and their industry peers realise increased value in this ever-growing space.

Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Some micro-influencers create content around things they are passionate about, instead of messaging that a brand is interested in pushing. This is how micro-influencers remain unique and the reason why brands in 2020 will include them in their strategies instead of bigger names.

Intelligent data analysis differentiates

Data has been used by some brands to replace human truth and insights that inform strategy, in 2020 this has begun to change with the growth and influence of niche communities. Intelligently analysed digital data will be the great differentiator among brands that glean useful insights from those that utilise information at face value.

The maturity of social media has ensured that people organise themselves better, more effectively, into niche communities. Brands that invest in community understanding and collaborate will experience increased uptake and interaction, which will lead to more useful data.

There is a growing trend towards enabling content creators and communities to build on their existing efforts in collaboration with brands, instead of the brand taking over completely. Smart communicators who will win over audiences across digital in 2020 are the ones that will be seen as enablers, as catalysts for the people they collaborate with and as brands that understand the communities they engage with.

Finding and creating opportunities to collaborate easier with community insiders will enable brands and their communicators to build on their messaging. There are already content creators whose niche communities find them credible and as long as brand messaging matches the platform, this will be an easier choice. Collaboration, not just finding platforms to advertise, will enable better human connections with those that will lead their industry peers.

This post by Mongezi Mtati was featured on BizCommunity’s #BizTrends2020.

5 Digital marketing trends and hacks for brands and entrepreneurs to use in 2019

In the perfect world most brands and entrepreneurs start planning long before the beginning of the year, with the start of each year mostly set aside for some tweaks and updates. Digital marketing trends, social media and the odd social media crisis tend to trip even the most strategically insightful among us. It makes sense to keep the strategy document constantly updated while looking at some growth areas in digital marketing and taking full advantage of social media.

Five strategy hacks and trends for brands and entrepreneurs to improve their digital footprint in 2019:

 

1. Create a video content strategy

 

The consumption of video content across the internet continues to grow at a rapid rate with more social media users also creating their own content. Research shows that 93% of businesses got new customers and converted leads as a result of video.With so much content being created daily, it’s best to keep your brand content short, punchy and fun to ensure both impact and social sharing. This requires brands to be brave and to keep creating content to understand what works, which may take some time.One of the advantages is that owned content may cost less than other forms of advertising and increase engagement between the brand and its community. It also gives added insight into what customers like because platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram give you data.

Quick hack: Start creating videos, even using a mobile phone, and improve quality as well as content. This will get easier over time and post some of these as Facebook stories, then monitor feedback.

 

2. Understand and use IGTV

 

Instagram’s IGTV is the new popular kid on the social media streets and a promising entrant in the long-form vertical video space. Launched in June 2018, when Instagram also announced that they now have a billion monthly users, IGTV has already begun making strides with some brands and influencers embracing this platform. It’s nowhere near being a YouTube killer or a worthwhile adversary to the likes of Vimeo, but it’s changing the game.Some of the top global brands that took up IGTV creating some quirky and fun content include Netflix, Bacardi and Louis Vuitton which have all been creative in their use of the platform. IGTV with its largely youth audience enables brands to think more creatively, to be quirkier (yes, that word is coming up again) and a little “weird” in comparison to traditional strategies.Cisco predicts that video will account for 78% of mobile data traffic by 2021, in just 2 short years, and the early adopters will lead their industry peers. Some brands have already begun building communities on IGTV.

Beginner hack: Start by opening an account and following some of the most active brands for your own inspiration and ideas. You can also check some of these brands on IGTV that are making serious moves on the platform and how they are doing it.

3. Create a robust LinkedIn brand strategy

 

LinkedIn is the single most useful tool to gain access to the decision-makers in most organisations that matter and this is why everyone spends time networking. It enables users to have a better understanding of their potential clients and the platform has been improving its offering for professionals, brands and entrepreneurs.Over the past few years, LinkedIn users have been utilising the platform to share stories and original articles, which in turn improves engagement. It’s a more powerful platform for lead generation and general brand engagement for professional B2B services.

A hack to use: In addition to the company page, build a showcase page for a service or product because these showcase pages increase engagement for specific products. Some of the most interesting LinkedIn showcase pages include companies like HP, Cisco and a few others.

 

4. Personalise! Personalise! Personalise!

 

Next to customers wanting more customisation than ever, personalising the customer and client journey as much as possible with a brand strengthens the relationship. In 2019, personalisation from shopping data to search will evolve more.Leading brands like Amazon have been personalising the customer journey for years and they continue to make the individual experience more worthwhile. When it comes to improved customer interactions 96% of marketers say personalisation helps to advance customer relationships.

A hack to try: Instead of a broad strategy, personalise your email and social media marketing for a specific target audience. This may exclude some of the customers you want to reach but it will be impactful for the people to whom the message resonates. Try this a few times and track the results.

 

5. Work towards a medium to long-term micro influencer strategy

 

Big brands from Listerine to Cîroc Vodka had their share of major criticism in 2018 which made others approach influencer marketing with caution. Some countries have since created policies around influencer marketing where people should mention that they have been sponsored or even paid by brands. This will increase transparency in 2019 and increase awareness among consumers, as opposed to people believing that brands are used organically.That said, influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2019 with more brands potentially collaborating with micro-influencers. Instagram is the leading platform for most influencer and brand collaborations which will continue in 2019. Twitter and Facebook will also be part of this influencer marketing mix as the connected get access to brands.

Micro-influencer marketing hack to develop: Follow some of the people who already engage with your brand and industry, then invite them, as early adopters to small pre-launch meetups. Let them be the first to sample products and experiences, as well as be the first to spread the word.

 

Budgets are tight and most brands are bringing things in-house with less to play with, and this may be the best time to experiment with a few ideas. A long-term approach is always key because it often takes time to see results and build the traction needed to grow a community behind your idea.

 

This post was first featured on WordStart.