What Will 5G Mean for You?

2018 saw the beginning of the 5G tidal wave, when countries like South Korea, China, the US, and Japan began rolling out the upgrade. But by no means is 5G available everywhere just yet. In some places, like the UK, 5G is just getting off the ground in 2020, and big providers like Verizon are currently only offering it in 33 U.S cities.

With coverage steadily expanding around the world, adoption rates are expected to exceed one billion users over the next few years. Ookla’s global 5G map, updated weekly, is a great resource for tracking which cities are currently offering 5G and with what provider.

66% of businesses will opt in to 5G by 2020, according to Gartner, and several factors are driving that decision.

Better, Faster, Stronger

The first implication of 5G for modern business won’t come as a surprise: faster network speeds. While 4G speeds tend to hover around 56 Mbps, 5G would raise speeds to around 490 Mbps. Some have even claimed that 5G will be 100 times faster than 4G, potentially offering speeds “as fast as 10Gb/s.”

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Another likely outcome will be increased efficiency, as 5G networks will be able to handle more complex applications running at once without performance issues. This opens the potential for using more IoT devices, streaming multiple HD videos at once, and even better VR experiences. Along with this will come perks like increased battery life on devices and fewer dropped cell phone calls.

Your Network: Revitalized

Aside from the obvious advancements in speed and efficiency, 5G will bring some additional benefits for the health of your network. Network slicing allows organizations to set up dedicated virtual networks with specific functions for each – all in a single infrastructure. Network slicing accommodates the multifaceted needs of modern organizations, including computing and storage. Ultimately, this translates to better user experience for those on your network.

Another buzzword in relation to 5G’s arrival is edge computing. Edge computing is a way of clearing up congestion on a network and creating an ideal setup: high-bandwidth and low latency. For larger organizations, the edge can be a gamechanger, as it allows many departments to streamline activities from one network.

“Processing high volumes of data at a faster speed will require new antennas, new devices, and new applications for wireless data. The influx of additional data - which will need to be processed in real-time - will drive the need for edge computing.” source

Data Capabilities

With faster speeds and more sophisticated network functioning, you might be wondering what this means for your data. One of the biggest shifts that will likely occur is the progression of IoT devices. This means data will be easier to gather from more devices than ever before – cameras, sensors, drones, etc. While some of this was already possible, 5G will enable for faster insight drawing and decision-making based on data. Organizations will be able to sort, store, and process unstructured data using analytics tools without the clunky problems associated with less advanced technology.

It’s not only about speed, but about size. 5G will accommodate greater cross-device connectivity and bigger data sets than any previous generation. This will translate to more real-time data that organizations can act on.

5G Impact Across Industries

A study by Qualcomm predicted that 5G will usher in unprecedented growth compared to previous generation upgrades. Survey participants believe 5G will have a larger impact on the economy than 4G had, as well as the benefits of increased productivity, small business growth, and global competition.

Along with these predictions, 5G is expected to have wide-reaching impacts on healthcare, manufacturing, transport, and retail.

“Deloitte estimates that the UK market for digital health will grow to £2.9 billion in 2018. Services such as remote and robotic surgery are developing fast. Remote patient monitoring and patient records access are advancing rapidly too. 5G is expected to usher in automation in manufacturing, creating smart factories that will make processes more efficient and cut costs. Mobile AR shopping experiences will revolutionize retail, with customers able to visualize products in a local environment. In-store, AR will enable shoppers to view additional information on a product simply by pointing their phones at it. 5G is expected to usher in self-driving vehicles, as well as making smart traffic lights even more intelligent, reducing the time waiting in traffic.” source

This broadscale view reveals just a few of the ways 5G can make a huge impact on day-to-day life as well as business operations.

Cybersecurity Risks & Added Costs

Despite the many potential benefits, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns with the development of a global 5G network. Additional risks will come with the transition, and organizations will need to take extra precautions in ways they previously didn’t.

Starting with cybersecurity basics is a good idea. “Firewalls, required employee VPN use, malware scanning and removal, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are all crucial elements to start with,” according to Forbes.

In addition to security woes, countries are dealing with the costs associated with setting up 5G. Deloitte estimates that the U.S. alone with invest anywhere from $130 to $150 billion in extensive fiber optics cabling. The same will go for businesses, as 5G technology will be more costly to implement than 4G was.

Challenges aside, hopes are generally high for 5G having a positive and innovative impact on a number of societal factors – that includes small business growth and productivity. With that said, 5G rollouts are just beginning in U.S cities, and it will likely be several years before we see the full impact of this global technology upgrade.


2020 Predictions Based on Current Quantifiable Trends

“Data and analytics leaders should actively monitor, experiment with, or deploy emerging technologies. Don’t just react to trends as they mature. Engage with other leaders about business priorities and where data and analytics can build competitive advantage.”
- Rita Sallam, Vice President Analyst, Gartner

It’s no secret that technologies like machine learning, AI, and predictive analytics have revolutionized how organizations are developing. But within these broad categories, several more specific data trends are particularly relevant. Organizations that pay attention to these now will thank themselves later when they’re able to keep pace with the next set of emerging trends in years to come. Here are the most disruptive data analytics trends of 2020 that will continue to mature over the next five years.

Augmented Analytics

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Augmented analytics (AA) allows for optimized decision-making beyond what many professionals are accustomed to. AA uses machine learning, AI algorithms, and a process called natural-language generation, which transforms structured data into our normal, natural language. Rather than pulling up the most relevant insights manually, organizations can automate this process and save loads of time. These insights can be made available to all important players, and the process saves them from having to be (or rely on) data scientists and analysts. AA has a lot of potential to be disruptive because it addresses the collective Achilles heel – that there are not enough data scientists and expertise to manage all the data that organizations are accumulating.

Data Fabric

Data fabric is a platform that allows for the convergence and management of data from different sources. Through this framework, data can be transported, combined, designed, managed, and protected across channels. For organizations that don’t want to convert or migrate data, data fabric offers a solution that doesn’t waste as much time. Closely tied to managing augmented data, data fabric allows organizations to support data at scale from diverse silos like cloud, SQL, and more. In the past, organizations aimed to have all their data stored in one warehouse. Today, we’re moving beyond this to a more comprehensive goal.

Explainable AI

Explainable AI will be essential for organizations to successfully manage the rise of AI in business. With such complicated models being employed more every day, it’s critical for organizations to learn how to understand and explain their results for internal monitoring. Detecting for bias and privacy issues, and ensuring regulations are observed, is of growing importance and difficulty.

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Explainable AI is critical because it addresses the growing “black box” problem in which data experts do not know exactly how and why an AI tool came up with the answer it did. Many AI algorithms can’t be examined after they generate insights, leaving organizations to wonder about the accuracy of the information. With explainable AI, the models and steps involved can be more carefully scrutinized. This way, organizations can repeat these processes and have them be transparent rather than hidden.

Continuous Intelligence

Continuous Intelligence is as useful as it sounds, providing the ongoing capacity to make real-time business decisions based on analytics. Organizations with situation-specific data can make informed decisions or receive predictions on what to do next. Central to this process is a focus on outcomes and automation. This may sound like what many organizations are already doing, but it goes a step beyond that. You can analyze data as it is created, visualize aspects of your organization, make predictions faster, learn from unstructured data, and automate actions immediately. In today’s world of developing technology and ongoing change, continuous intelligence is a no brainer for the future of business.

Mobile Intelligence

Perhaps the least surprising trend, the mobile intelligence (MI) framework will be built upon to achieve better results. Mobile app development will be geared toward a better work experience, stronger internal communications, and stronger B2C communications. With consumers using mobile devices for more and more tasks each year, it’s clear that mobile is being embraced on all levels. This means organizations need to have MI at the front and center of their strategy. Much like continuous intelligence, MI allows for real-time insights that help organizations act more quickly.

Data Diversity

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In 2020, we’ll see an even stronger focus on bridging the gap between diverse data sets as organizations grapple with what tools to use and how to combine data in the most efficient way. When data sets become too large, sometimes the simplest solution is to break it up into smaller, more meaningful sets. The key to truly diverse data is to look beyond what’s obvious, not just focusing on the data that would be easiest to collect.

“Non-representative data sets are less likely to yield workable insights than those which cover all facets of the issue under investigation. It’s also true in terms of the variety of data available. With the sheer divergence of datasets available, it’s more critical than ever, as insight can often be found in unexpected places. Thanks to breakthroughs in technology such as image analysis and natural language processing, meaning can be extracted, in an automated way, from video, handwriting, recorded speech and the text of emails and social media posts.” - source

Organizations that dig in and engage with these trends now will be much better prepared for data advancements in the years to come. Meanwhile, those that don’t may have a lot of extra headaches later on.

Being data-driven is no longer a luxury reserved for the biggest and wealthiest organizations. It’s an accessible reality for all. Moving forward, focus will shift toward refining data management processes and accessing deeper layers of expertise for sharper results – better customer service, higher marketing ROI, and more confident decision-making. That’s how data-driven organizations will move onward and upward in 2020.


4 Ways Data Can Guide Your Branding Strategy

It’s easy to think of branding as a one-and-done activity – something that is determined early on in a company’s development. Creating the website, logo, and style guide, employing a general content strategy, and hoping for the best is what many companies did in the past. But as our understanding of consumer-brand relationships grows, it’s clear that a brand isn’t just a static ‘set it and forget it’ entity. 

Nowadays, we have a fuller picture of what branding really entails. Thanks to major rebrands by corporations like Apple and McDonalds, it’s clear that no company is too big or well-established to revisit its branding strategy.

So where does data come in?

Ultimately, a business can’t revamp its brand without any insights to support the changes. Anything from the slightest adaptation to a total overhaul needs data to ensure that the changes reflect the company’s vision for the future are also compatible with what its audience can connect with. Without careful consideration and research, a company might join the unsavory ‘failed rebrand’ hall of fame –businesses that wasted thousands of dollars and had to undo the changes made soon after a rebrand.

Data-Driven Storytelling

Data-driven storytelling is a concept that has gained traction in the past several years as marketers learn more about social engagement. Countless social media studies have shown that content that evokes emotion and tells a story drives engagement. If a brand can tell a captivating story in bite-sized pieces, it earns salience in the minds of its audience –

“Beyond simply getting noticed, brand salience is crucial for a more subtle reason. It turns out people are not the rational, utility-maximizing creatures in the way traditional economists and marketers once thought. According to a study by Kantar Millward Brown, “consumers rely on mental shortcuts or heuristics when they make their brand decisions. One such heuristic is to assign greater importance to things that have ready mental availability, the effect of which is to choose the most salient brand.” source

Storytelling is an ancient art for a reason. It helps people get to know others as individuals. Thus it makes perfect sense for a business to employ storytelling to earn the trust of its audience and share its core values.

Data insights reveal what topics appeal to readers and what stories make the most impact. Brands that tell stories with their content show who they are, what they know, and most importantly, why it matters.

Data-Driven Experiences

Data can inform not only how you choose to market and advertise your brand, but also how your audience identifies and experiences your brand. Much like storytelling, data-driven experiences create positive associations with customers. This strengthens their understanding of what you offer and how you offer it.

To start creating and tracking data-driven experiences with customers, it’s critical to know about touchpoints. 

A touchpoint is any time a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your brand–before, during, or after they purchase something from you.source

Customers will interact with your brand via your website, social channels, software, in-person stores, ecommerce checkout, newsletter, and many other touchpoints. The question your data should answer is: How can we reduce friction and make each of these experiences more satisfying? 

Brand Research

There’s no room for assumptions when it comes to business strategy. If a brand seems to be falling short of what its creators envisioned, it’s time for some research. What brand activities or qualities are missing the mark? It’s important to explore all of the possibilities.

One brand might be creating content that doesn’t match the attention span of its audience. Another might be using antagonistic language without realizing it, or even unflattering colors that drive people away from its landing page.

In order to know what needs to change, brands must assess their current identity – Who are they now vs. who they want to be in the future. In addition, data analytics paired with market research has enabled many brands to keep up with important new trends. After finding that a growing percentage of coffee drinkers were seeking non-dairy options, Starbucks introduced dairy-free alternatives. With this single decision, Starbucks expanded its brand to be more inclusive of health-conscious coffee drinkers. 

Content Creation

When people think branding, the first thing that comes to mind is often ‘content.’ The content a business creates is closely tied to its identity– What you say and do needs to align consistently with who you claim to be. This is the precise formula that builds brand loyalty.

Data can show what types of content receive the most ROI and what types receive the most meaningful engagement. Data can also expose opportunities your brand is missing out on (e.g. Is there a topic your audience loves that you haven’t talked about? A problem they’re having that you can directly address?) As these insights are observed regularly, brands can build a routine around what works and budget only for that content.

Some marketers may worry that being too data-driven will ruin spontaneity or deflate creativity. But in reality, these qualities of a brand work best when coupled with a sound data analysis practice. With data at the foundation of your branding strategy, your business can adapt to market shifts and new customer interests with confidence.


The Hottest Digital Marketing Trends in China Right Now

China is a digital marketing powerhouse. It boasts the world's second-largest search advertising market and spends more on digital advertising than Japan, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea combined. With the world's largest population -- more than 1.4 billion people live in the "Land of the Red Dragon" -- breaking into this market could prove lucrative for your organization. Here are three of the hottest digital marketing trends in China right now.

1. China is a Global Player When it Comes to Voice Marketing

Chinese brands have invested heavily in voice marketing technology in recent years, and experts predicted that the country's intelligent voice market was worth more than 6.21 billion in 2015. Millions of consumers across the country use their smartphone to search for goods and services with just their voice.

"One of the obvious reasons for more rapid adoption is the complexity of the Chinese alphabet," says Eye for Travel. "With thousands of individual characters, typing on a small screen is rather more difficult than for those using the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet."

While intelligent voice assistants like Alexa and Siri dominate the U.S. market, innovations like Baidu's Raven H lets Chinese consumers access information with simple voice commands. Raven H looks nothing like the Amazon Echo or Google Home -- it's essentially a stack of multi-colored squares.

As more people in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen purchase smart speakers and voice-enabled mobile devices, expect China's intelligent market to grow even bigger in the next few years.

2. Artificial Intelligence Marketing in China is Booming

China uses more artificial intelligence (AI) devices than any other country in the world, according to a recent report. Twenty-one percent of the country's population already has an AI device like a home robot or autonomous car and 52 percent plan to buy one in the future. In the United States, only 16 percent of people own an AI device.

The booming AI market has prompted Chinese marketers to engage with consumers in new and exciting ways. Marketers here use the latest AI technologies to personalize communications and offer customers unique interactive experiences that increase brand awareness.

Take AI apps, for example. Customers can immerse themselves in virtual environments where they can learn more information about a brand's products and services.

3. Search Engine Optimization Still Dominates

China has the world's largest online population -- around 772 million and growing -- which proves profitable for brands who break into this market. Despite recent technological innovations like voice-enabled devices and AI, search engine optimization (SEO) is still one of the most popular (and powerful) digital marketing methods here.

Although SEO is a little different to the US and other Western countries, the process is essentially the same. Websites that rank the highest on search engines like Baidu, Sogou and Qihoo 360 generally receive the most traffic. Marketers optimize sites in order to increase their position on search engine results pages.

One of the biggest differences between SEO in China and SEO in the US is mobile search. Mobile device owners in China make up the bulk of search users, with 88 percent of the online population searching for information through their smartphone or tablet.

Want to grow your organization's impact in China? The three trends on this list are a great way to generate leads and improve brand awareness. Use voice search marketing technology to target potential customers, AI to enhance the customer experience and SEO to move buyers through your sales pipelines. Expect these three trends to keep dominating China's digital marketing landscape over the next few years.


Marketing Automation and Big Data: A Perfect Match

In an age where digital data is not only valuable but ubiquitous, organization and automation becomes a marketing agency's pillars of time management and financial advantage.

 

More needs to be done to understand the motivations of a consumer. Content creation and targeting are only the tip of this iceberg and the start of a deep dive to converting a customer into a lead or sale. It's data that educates a marketer on what makes an individual tick. Through data, they'll be able to establish what exactly triggers them and the most efficient way to do so.

 

To do so, you need to build a customer profile:

 

"Through marketing automation systems, we should be able to build better-rounded customer profiles through variable data field capture during different communication touch points."

 

Using big data can gain a marketing agency advantages when it comes to developing relevant content and messages, collecting and analyzing data on how customers interact, and delivering a more consistent, positive customer experience across devices.

 

Digital advertising isn't just posting an ad online and hoping for the best. Leveraging automation enables agencies to determine what type of content is best at attracting leads, how they find you, and why they chose to connect with you. It can help figure out how, when and where customers tend to interact with you, as well as what platforms and devices they're reaching you on.

 

Even though we're online, you still have to imagine a face and personality behind that screen.

 

Online marketing may have muddied the border between buyer and seller, but it hasn't completely eroded it. The intimacy of conversation may get down to bare bones quicker, but getting to know one another, in order to build up a level of trust from the seller's side and understanding from the buyer's side, has not been completely lost.

 

Now instead of asking questions, you're simply provided with profiles through those variable data fields we just mentioned. You get to know their behaviors, tendencies, and interests, while marketing automation and big data work "together to create an effective way to collect, sort and gain insight from thousands of data points about customers, campaigns and products or services."

 

This can partly be done by the miracle of predictive analytics, which can predict the future by mining the past. Consider Amazon; they gather past purchase data, wish lists, similar purchases and customer ratings to predict future shopping patterns. They simply acquire all the data they need to build up an accurate enough profile that will efficiently usher you from point A to point B:

 

"With the increased accuracy of self-learning algorithms, marketers will be able to better deconstruct big data to create incredibly targeted and optimally timed user experiences."

 

Getting a customer from each of those points requires a meld of data and automation; the data working as the blueprint, and automation working as the tools, delivering quickness, accuracy, and an improved user experience, one that puts the user in the driver's seat:

 

"They can access the exact information they want, how and when they want it. But every potential customer isn't necessarily going to want exactly the same information. With automation, you can also create multiple paths, so each person can have a different experience, based on their own needs and interests."

 

When "80% of your sales come from only 20% of your customers", automation is a necessity to pinpoint just what type of customers will react and how. For example, say you're running an email marketing campaign and you're trying to deliver the best possible user experience, you might monitor:

 

  • When your customer open emails
  • When they engage with content
  • What content they engage with
  • The frequency with which they choose to engage
  • Conversions that take place

 

Platforms like AutoPilot can deliver a tailored experience that accommodates each and every one of your leads as a unique individual, rather than just another part of the catch-all. Sure they might share similarities by way of being interested in what you're selling, but they all have different triggers and ways of going about things.

 

On the other end, the Zapier platform can help gather that data and turn it into data you can use to create a more efficient workflow and finish routine tasks quicker.

 

These platforms and tools will not only help you get better organized, but they'll help you draw in more leads. You can't treat your audience as a monolith. They might all like your product or service, but they all arrived there differently, are using different devices, react to different content, and come from different areas where the product or service might serve a different purpose.

 

You may not see them, and that disconnect and widening gulf isn't helping, but there's still a person behind the screen and the only way to turn them into a sale or lead is treating them like one.


6 Digital Marketing Trends for 2017 and Beyond

1. Snapchat is only gaining in popularity among milennials (But Facebook is still king)

Among milennials, no social media platform is matching Snapchat in a short-term popularity contest:

"According to research by student loans company LendEDU, 58 percent of the 9,381 milennials it polled said they typically open up a Snapchat before Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn."

It's rise to social media supremacy has been unprecedented. Not only has it overtaken Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn as America's second-favorite social network (It was fifth last year), it "grew as much in one year as Twitter had in four years combined!"

Don't give them the crown just yet, however. Facebook still sits on the throne and doesn't appear to be giving up its title anytime soon. In the same survey where Snapchat had become the second-favorite social network of Americans, Facebook blew it out of the water; "8% of Americans cited Snapchat as the place they visit most. It's still far behind Facebook, a place that 61% of social media using Americans say is their favorite."

But that doesn't indicate a shift could be gradually approaching...

"Facebook (including Messenger) remains the most popular social platform among Americans 12-24 years old, with 21% saying they use Facebook most. Snapchat is second with 26%, far outpacing Instagram at 17%.

"[In the past year], 10% of the entire nation's population of social media using 12-24 year-olds moved from Facebook to Snapchat as their platform of choice."

Only time will tell if Snapchat's popularity is a constantly ascending staircase or a bubble just waiting to burst. Seeing as it only appeals to the younger generation, whereas Facebook is still appealing to all ages, I'd side with the latter (Don't bring this up to me in 2032 when Snapchat is running the world).

2. Yes, More Social Media Advertising Spending

As social media expands its capabilities as an advertising platform, advertisers are fully committing to either standing pat on their current marketing budgets, or investing even more:

"61% of advertisers plan to spend more on Facebook, said ClickZ Intelligence. And the web publisher found that investment in Twitter is expected to increase by more than 25%."

This has less to do with brands suddenly discovering Facebook and Twitter, and more to do with different avenues through which people can be reached and engaged with. We're beyond link and image posts. On Facebook, for example, you can create videos, versatile Canvas ads, 360 videos, and video slideshows. It's all indicative of a new availability of advertising to pounce on and use to distinguish your brand.

In another survey by PointVisible, they found that over the next 12 months 39% of B2C and B2B content marketers plan to increase their spending, while only 2% planned to decrease it. 42% said spending will likely remain the same.

In content creation overall, 70% of B2B marketers and 73% of B2C marketers said they will be spending more in 2017 compared to 2016. Content marketing will be a "$300 billion industry by 2019 -- this means it will double in under four years."

And speaking of content...

3. There's going to be a lot more of it

Since we're on the topic of more spending, we can distinguish where that spending is going towards.

There's a perception that users are just overexposed to traditional advertisements and inundated by how ubiquitous it is. Think about it. There's no escape, unless you completely disconnect from technology.

New approaches need to be taken to reach out to users without overwhelming and irritating them to the point of exhaustion, and studies have been conducted to find them.

One of the more revelations from PointVisible's study was that "70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advertisement" and "4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it."

Content is getting more versatile as users have grown weary of seeing the same ads over and over again on a loop. Something new has to be offered to keep them interested. It's why we're expecting an increase in blogs as an advertising tool, and why "69% of companies report their video marketing budget is increasing."

4. But also, More Newsletters

Are you starting to pick up on this trend of more? There's going to be more of everything digital marketing-wise in 2017 and further on.

As mentioned before, there's a need for newness from our advertising efforts. It's become a life component that's unavoidable and needs readjusting, in order to provide users with a memorable experience once again. Just like with any technology, if there's a newer, more efficient, more convenient, and more stimulating competitor, users will gravitate to that.

So what if we try to find new ways to not only reach our audience, but to help it grow, as well. Aside from videos, "in 2017, more brands will launch targeted e-newsletters as the key method to grow audiences."

E-Newsletters are an excellent way of developing an audience without investing too much money and investing too many hours. But they have to be done right, because an E-Newsletter could be composed for nothing if its design isn't engaging enough or if its content isn't interesting enough.

It has to appeal to your audience, which you can find and add to your email list through lead generation ads and visits to your website asking for their email, with content that provides value. You want your newsletter to be informative, feature headlines that grab your attention, and be laden with designs and appealing images that keep the reader interested and their eyes darting from end-to-end of the email.

5. Mobile is still everything 

It goes without saying that if you're still not optimizing for mobile, you're selling your business short. As of early 2016, "mobile represented 65% of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a 'secondary touch point' for an increasing number of digital users."

Basically, why go through the process of loading up your desktop or laptop when you have a computer within your pocket? It's all about convenience. Just give me the information and stimulation I need at the moment, without me having to get up and get it.

Life just keeps getting easier in terms of instant gratification. It's probably why "mobile will account for 72% of US digital ad spend by 2019" since that's where all the eyes are, as indicated by studies, mobile vs. desktop usage, and, you know, just looking around you at any given time while you're in public.

Go ahead and try it next time. When you're out in the city, and hopefully not peering into your phone, look around and notice how many people are buried in their phones. Then you'll realize just how important mobile optimization is. You're potentially missing out on the sales or awareness you could be generating when those users aren't home and need a distraction.

Think we're missing out on a trend? Drop us a message on our Facebook or call us!


Making the Case for Social Media

There’s no debating it: Social media, and the digital medium as a whole, has emerged as a substitute to traditional advertising practices for brands of all sizes.

 

Add in the growing number of those cutting the cord and you have even more incentive to advertise predominantly online.

 

Almost all major brands have realized this, resulting in portions of their marketing budgets from common mediums, such as television and radio, being deviated to build a social media presence.

 

Smaller brands have also taken advantage of the medium’s cost-effective advertising, but have seen their reach taper off in recent years due to heavy spending from larger brands:

 

"The State of Retailing Online 2016, an annual study conducted by NRF and Forrester Research, found that 92 percent of retailers are investing in social media marketing to some degree and looking for ways to update content to stay on trends.

About 55 percent of retailers surveyed also said they are increasing their online merchandising budgets, a portion of which is clearly earmarked for social media activities that engage consumers to promote two way interactions."

 

Regardless, social media’s ubiquitous platform provides small and medium-sized businesses with exposure they would have never dreamed of. In a survey of over 7,500 local businesses that purchased local ads in 2016, Borell, the organization behind the survey, found that "local businesses have ramped up their use of social media to help drive business and generate new customers."

 

As much as it seems that every person you know has a social media account, you may be surprised to learn that social media is only gaining users. While Twitter is pulling up the rear with only a 3.15% increase between the 3rd quarters of 2015 and ’16, Facebook experienced a 13.6% increase in the same period and LinkedIn a 15.2% increase.

 

Instagram witnessed a 20% increase between September 2015 and June 2016. All of this may seem like a boom, but it also muddies up the landscape because there are so many platforms to post on. It’s up to the brand to do the research on where the audience is.

 

Unsurprisingly, "Facebook was the number one choice for local advertisers with 96% responding they have  Facebook page. Twitter was a distant second at 51%, and LinkedIn came in at 41%."

 

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It can be daunting to a newbie. You need to ask yourself a few questions before stepping up to the task:

 

Which social media platform is best for me work on?

 

How much money should I invest?

 

What type of posts should I make?

 

How often should I post?

 

The greatest issue with starting out on social media is the idea that it’s easy. Failure and frustration is a common characteristic among new businesses starting out on social media because they believe it’s as simple as making a sales-y pitch, attaching an image, and sending the post out.

 

It doesn’t work like that, at least not anymore. Strategies need to be put in place. Budgets need to be created. Research into best practices needs to be done. Basically, an entire comprehensive rundown of your social media plans should be resolved before you even begin posting.

 

Now, does this mean you should keep a rigid schedule? No. While you should have prepared copy to pitch your product, you should also have a free-flowing schedule that allows for transparency into your business.

 

Or, to make things even easier, a brand can simply hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in social media strategy, copywriting, implementation, and moderation.

 

Social media is simply too valuable a resource to waste. Without the proper funds and research invested, an inexperienced brand is doomed.

 

Experts in the field are a necessity; an expert at crafting concise copy that delivers an impactful message, an expert at graphic design that can create appealing images; an expert at website design that can make a landing page that converts; an expert at moderation that knows just what to say to disgruntled commenters; and an expert at SEO that can identify the right keywords, among others.

 

It takes a village to raise a brand on social media. Going at it alone and without the tools and people necessary to help it succeed are only going to hamper your efforts.

 

Interested in raising your social media standing or looking to start out? Visit our Facebook for more info, email us at ask@one12th.io or visit: https://one12th.io/contact-modern/