Every year I check out the industry press round-ups of trend predictions, says Luan.
Most mention some new technology, technology that will come of age, how we should focus on the customer, how to make better use of data and how the role of the marketer will change. Predictable predictions!
As marketers, we are often looking for something new and shiny. But I strongly believe that trying to predict what the next 12 months will deliver is a distraction.
Regardless of regardless of technological changes and new gimmicks, we need to remember the fundamentals of marketing, the importance of getting to know our customers and creating solutions that satisfy their needs and wants.
How are you going to go about this in 2018?
Heres some thoughts on how to refocus and refine your marketing activity for the coming year and get the basics right.
Wise words from Luan
- Get organised and be prepared. By planning ahead, you can nail your day-to-day use of social media into under fifteen minutes. Taking a strategic approach will enable you to meet your business objectives and stay focused.
- Be realistic. You cant control everything and change is inevitable, but consult credible sources for information and consider what they mean for your business before you dive in.
- Plan for change. Are your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analyses up to date? Dont forget to regularly review the impacts that the wider environment may have on your business, and refine your marketing plans if necessary. After all, who predicted a vote for Brexit, or a Trump victory in 2017?!
- Always focus on best practice. GDPR will be with us in 2018. Its the most important change in data privacy regulation for 20 years and we have a deadline 25 May 2018. Get ready by following the GDPR checklist from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and use their advice service for small organisations. Data is the lifeblood of business and hiding your head in the sand on this matter could have a hugely detrimental effect.
- You have the answers in your own data. When is the best time to post on Twitter? What social media platform is the most effective for engaging your customers? Figure out what is working and how your audience is responding to your marketing activity by using tools such as Google Analytics and social media native analytics.
- Focus on your reputation. Always think before you post; so much business is generated by referrals, your personal brand is important. Have a personal social media policy and understand the guidelines of your employer. For example, what will others think if you argue with a competitor, or tell someone that their LinkedIn post is more suitable for Facebook? This often reflects more negatively on the commentator than the person who originally posted. Keep negativity out of the public sphere as quickly as possible.
- Put people first. We have the technology, but social media should not ever replace face-to-face conversation. You can read more in one of my top performing LinkedIn Pulse posts.
- Automate to free up time. Its OK to schedule core posts and free up time to focus on other tasks and engagement. Many useful tools, such as Hootsuite or Facebooks built-in scheduler are free or low-cost. Google has some great chrome extensions that can be life-changing for a social media manager. Feedly for curating content is a must.
- Where is your audience? If I asked a client if they wanted to advertise on every commercial radio station, they wouldnt do it. Not just because of the cost, but because it wouldnt effectively reach their target audience. Social media is no different, its a marketing channel and if your audience are not there, then dont do it! My Lynda.com course on Social Media Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) goes into this in more detail.
- There are no quick wins. Focus on strategy, aim for sustainable growth, play the long game and dont waste your time seeking silver bullet solutions.
Luans award-winning book, Relax! Its Only Social Media is available from Amazon, and the companion 2018 social media planner which provides a simple step-by-step guide to developing a social media plan is available from Luans website,