Hot Marketing Trends: What to Use, What to Ignore

Online marketing trends to use

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the “viral” marketing trends that are taking over your social media feeds, email inboxes, and favorite websites? You might be wondering what makes them so popular, and how your business can take advantage of them to drive more engagement and action from your target audience.

Some of the latest trends provide great examples of topics and mediums you can absolutely use in your own marketing. But some of these tactics may not be worthwhile for your business. Here’s our list of the marketing trends we’ve seen recently. Check it out and see which ones top our list for local marketers – and which ones fall short.

Trends To Use:

Social Media Videos

We’ve all seen dozens upon dozes of videos show up in our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and you’ve probably taken the time to watch many of them, especially if you don’t have to leave the experience of the platform. So how can you use a social media video in your own marketing strategy? Whether you want to use a traditional video, Instagram video, or a short Vine, you can use this medium to get creative. Come up with a call to action (such as making an appointment with your business), shoot a fun video about it, and unleash it on your social networks, asking them to share it or to make their own videos to spread the word. Keep in mind that your campaign probably won’t go viral, but if your video or request is engaging enough, you could gain a few more social followers, build brand awareness, and hopefully meet your goal.

Socially-Minded Marketing

The Ice Bucket Challenge campaign has done wonders for awareness and fundraising for ALS. This engaging online marketing campaign has even reached the likes of celebrities and former presidents who have gotten involved. Why has it gotten so much attention? Not only has it spurred fun social media videos, but it’s also for a good cause. People feel good about giving their time and their money to worthy organizations that they are passionate about. So, try pairing up with a local charity for your marketing! For instance, you can donate 20 percent of your proceeds to your chosen organization for one day, then share your message on your website, social media pages, and email marketing to drive sales and engagement with fans, followers, local influencers, and more. Plus, you can get an extra boost from members of the charity you work with, who may get involved by making a purchase and spreading the word about your efforts.

Retargeting

A lot of businesses are jumping on the retargeting bandwagon. Why is this marketing trend so popular right now? Because it’s cost effective – and because it works. Retargeting is a form of display advertising that only shows your ads to people who have already expressed interest in your business – meaning they are more likely pay attention to additional marketing. Site retargeting is the most common technique being used, but search retargeting is gaining ground with local business because it targets local searchers who may not have visited their website the first time around.

Local SEO

Search engine optimization is a hot topic in online marketing right now, especially in light of recent Google algorithm updates like Panda 4.0 and Pigeon, which has put more emphasis on local search results. And, your business should take note. To stay on top of these trends, focus on local SEO on your site by optimizing your content, metadescriptions, and semantic markup for local keywords. Plus, you should also manage local search off your site by claiming and updating your local listings and social media pages with your accurate local business information and regularly keep them consistent and up to date.

Content Curation

Blogging and social media publishing are huge factors for SEO and consumer engagement. But, not every business has time to come up with original content multiple times a week. That’s where content curation comes in. Take 20 minutes every day to read articles from news and industry publications to find content that you think your audience will enjoy or learn from. Then, share that content on your own social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with a quick comment about the article, the link, and an @mention if the source is on the social site. You can also use curated content on your blog – but be careful not to re-post the article in its entirety or try to pass it off as your own to avoid search engine and even legal penalties. Instead, share 15 to 20 percent of the post along with your own commentary, along with a link back to the original source. This marketing trend will help you save time when creating content to fuel your SEO and drive audience engagement.

Trends to (Kind Of) Ignore:

Every New Social App

How many social sites and apps are there now? In addition to standards like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, newer social media platforms have emerged that leave local business owners scratching their heads. Image and video- centric sites and apps like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and more might be popular with consumers, but does that mean your business needs to be on them? The answer is: it depends. If the platform makes sense for your business type, and you have the time to dedicate to finding, creating, and posting content, then go for it! For instance, a local clothing retailer might perform well on Pinterest. But for many businesses, trying to keep up with the social media sites they’re already on is a challenge. So, focus your time and energy on the sites that work well for you and the ones you can dedicate time to. It’s better to perform well on one or two social sites than to perform poorly on many.

Real-Time Marketing

So, you’re still trying to recreate that Oreo Super Bowl ad? While the ad was a great win for the brand, it wasn’t exactly the norm when it comes to marketing. Most local businesses don’t have the dedicated teams or budgets (or just dumb luck) that often enable big consumer brands to pull off such a timely marketing feat. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and steal other marketing trends that big brands use. Coming up with the latest viral craze may not be within reach, but you can be like Oreo and take advantage of local events, your smartphone camera, and a clever hashtag to create fun social media posts that will engage your audience online.

Link-Baity Headlines

If you’ve clicked on anything from Upworthy or Buzzfeed in your social feeds, then congratulations! You’re just like everyone else who can’t resist those controversial, sensational headlines. But, are you ever disappointed when the content doesn’t live up to the hype? The problem with trying to copy the headline styles of these publications is that if you don’t have the content to back it up, your audience might start to feel a little mislead. So, if you want to write some fun, engaging, buzz-worthy headlines for your blog, we say go for it! But we don’t recommend trying to use this formula for every headline you write – especially if the article doesn’t warrant it. So, be judicious with how many link-baity headlines you write, and make sure to always deliver on what they promise.

What online marketing trends have you tried and been successful at? Let us know!

Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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