Storytelling, shareability and other key ingredients for successful digital communication.

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Storytelling, shareability and other key ingredients for successful digital communication.

story telling

For social-media expert Estée de Villiers, “Content is king/queen”. To stand out from the crowd, content has to be “useful, non-invasive and, most of all, relevant and interesting,” she says. “Storytelling and shareability remain important parts of marketing and digital marketing, and offer people a chance to be truly creative.”

What are some of the current trends in social media and digital marketing?

“Video continues to be big, as does live streaming – people seem to rather trust other ‘normal’ people [as opposed to brands], so live streaming seems trustworthy and exciting as it’s unedited and live. For marketers, live streaming means you no longer need an entire team to shoot and edit a video, you just need an excellent idea, a smartphone and an interesting story to tell,” says Estée.

“There’s a move towards more personalised and tailored marketing, where people’s online profiles are becoming so rich in information that advertisers can advertise to needs and wants consumers might not even be aware of themselves.” For instance, data collected might be able to predict the person will be getting married soon or is addicted to online gambling without the person ever consciously realising it or giving up such info.

Estée says there’s also a general trend of people moving away from more public platforms like Facebook, to more private messaging apps like Whatsapp and Messenger. She explains, “The popularity of Facebook has made it a platform young people aren’t that interested in – you don’t exactly want to chat to your friends on the same platform your mom is sharing embarrassing pictures of you on. The prevalence of reports on fake news has also shown that news on Facebook isn’t as trustworthy as once thought.”

So who’s getting it right and why?

With its delicious, quick and inventive recipe videos capitalising on the #FoodPorn popularity, Buzzfeed’s Tasty page has been winning at Facebook content for quite some time, Estée says. “In terms of its entertainment news and quizzes, what Buzzfeed has done really well is create content targeted at very specific niches, instead of trying to appeal to the masses. They have quizzes and content targeted and tailored for micro audiences who are most likely to share and engage with the content aimed at them.”

In terms of local digital marketing, Nando’s continues to be on point by targeting Twitter conversations around big and current national discussion topics with witty comebacks, Estée says.

And “As much as I hate to admit it, the Kardashians have managed to dominate digital and social media in such a way that they’re almost inescapable,” she concedes. “Their presence is so strong that Chrome even has an extension you can instal to block them from your browser!”

Any predictions for the near future?

“Virtual reality seems to be the next big thing companies are investing in and playing around with. Already, tools like Google’s Cardboard Camera allows you to take 360-degree photos you can upload to Facebook for an almost-VR experience.

“I think good trends like activism and body positivity will continue and flourish on social media and in digital marketing this year.”

“Digital marketers should use social media as a two-way discussion. They’re not just talking to people; they need to listen too.” – Estée de Villiers

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