Which of the Following is a Challenge of Marketing through Online Social Networks?

For those who want to challenge themselves and grow as marketers, here are seven trends that will change your world as we know it.

1. Authentic Long-Form Content for Instant Gratification

It starts with an interesting discussion on the future of content, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to engage her audience and bring them back for more, Lady Gaga launched a “fully supported multi-media platform” – as she puts it – to offer “stories, quizzes, and podcast episodes around the themes of unity, diversity, and inclusion.” According to the platform’s CEO, this was driven by the need to attract younger audiences who prefer shorter clips and quick bites.

While the “long-form content” trend may not exactly have begun with Lady Gaga, it certainly was a prominent feature of her unprecedented performance during the pandemic. The singer released three albums over the course of seven months, each one containing 14 tracks and totalling nearly six hours of music.

What is long-form content? Think of a long-form article as a book report, something you might have done in high school. The article usually takes several minutes to read, partly because it was written in a leisurely manner and partly because you had to stop and think about what you were reading. As books become digitized and easy to search, this strategy makes perfect sense.

2. Influencer Marketing Rebranded as “Influencer Activism”

One of the defining features of the contemporary marketing era is the shift to influencer marketing. According to HubSpot Blogs’ analysis of the 500 greatest articles in the world, influencer marketing as we know it today was propelled by two trends: the proliferation of online social networks, and the rise of digital content creators.

From influencer marketing to influencer activism, content creators are actively shaping the future of marketing through their social media platforms. The trend began with influencer marketing, where content creators – often famous individuals – would promote brands through lifestyle posts. But as social media evolved to allow for more sophisticated content and greater interaction, influencers began to use their platforms in more provocative ways.

Consider Taylor Swift’s “Me, Me, Me” campaign, where she shared intimate details about her life in an effort to promote her new album, Reputation. As a result, she became the top-searched individual on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Or think of the Women’s March, where thousands of digital influencers and content creators supported the cause through videos and articles, helping to rebrand the event as we know it.

3. Micro-targeting for Maximum Effect

While Google and social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok allow for greater reach and more effective engagement, that doesn’t mean that you should expect to hit everyone you try to reach. Marketers now have the tools to focus their messaging to specific groups of people, creating custom audiences that can be re-engaged with through content and other digital marketing tactics.

Oberlo, a market research firm, estimates that only 0.7% of the US population is considered to be “highly targeted” – using demographic, psychographic, and behavior-based targeting – while the remaining 99.3% is considered to be “mass”. If you consider that only around 4% of American adults currently use TikTok – and 70% of those people use the platform’s targeted ads – you begin to understand why micro-targeting could be the next big thing.

4. Earned, Not Bought, Media Channels

While traditional news outlets like CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times have kept up with the times by creating digital-first versions of their publications, consumers have increasingly turned to smaller news platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to get the news they want. This trend is known as verified account journalism and is being pushed by prestigious news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune.

The rise of verified account journalism is one example of how the marketing industry is evolving to keep up with the times. It’s also a testament to how digital marketing and social media have disrupted the traditional way we get news.

5. Video Content is Worth More than Still Photos

The average person now spends around four hours a day consuming content on their mobile devices, mostly video. In 2020, businesses should consider making more video content to keep up with consumer demand. According to HubSpot Blogs’ research, people value video content much more than they do text-based or image-based content. Furthermore, the amount of video content needed to produce a meaningful result increases steadily with each new generation.

In today’s world, people have more access to video content than they do any other kind. This is important because when someone decides to watch or listen to something, they usually do so via a video.

6. Authentic, User-Generated Content is the Key to Effective Marketing

While video content is becoming more popular, nothing drives engagement like user-generated content. This content exists on a variety of platforms, from blogs to forums and message boards, and it usually consists of individuals sharing their experiences, ideas, and questions. It’s important to note that user-generated content often comes from people who are passionate about a subject matter – think of all the medical blogs you can find on the internet – and this passion often translates to higher editorial quality.

In order to foster this kind of environment where people are comfortable enough to contribute their opinions and thoughts, businesses should strive to be more “open” and “honest” with their marketing. If someone believes a brand is open and honest, chances are they are going to be more engaged with the content published by that brand.

7. Gamifying Marketing to Increase Engagement

The last few years have seen an obsession with gaming concepts and symbols in marketing. While some see it as a passing fad, others see it as a natural evolution of marketing, drawing upon the popularity of gaming among young people to increase their engagement with brands.

What is gamification? Think of a game, whether it is a mobile phone game or an online PC/Mac game, and how it is designed around a series of challenges, prizes, and levels. Gamification adds a competitive element to your marketing by prompting users to engage with your content, either through action or reaction, and it encourages them to keep coming back for more.

The marketing world has certainly changed over the last few years, but the basic principles remain the same: brands should seek to engage with consumers, provide useful content where they can, and track the results of their efforts.