Digital Marketing Trends for Small Businesses in 2017

Polly Michelle CunananMarketingLeave a Comment

Digital marketing trends for small businesses in 2017

Are you a small business owner? 2017 has big possibilities for you! And when I say big, I mean GAME CHANGING BIG!

That is why, it is important to keep your eye on new digital marketing and social media game changers and leverage on these to grow your business.

With the proliferation of new apps and tools and regular changes in the algorithms of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat et al, it is oftentimes hard to navigate the world of digital media to find the right fit for your business. Compound this with the thousand and one things that you need to do as the business owner. This is perhaps the reason why only 44% of small businesses in the United States actually engage in digital marketing.1

However, it pays to keep up with digital and social media trends as these continue to be the most inexpensive and with upcoming changes, definitely the surefire way to get you noticed, hit your targets and drive your profits. As marketing strategist Anthony Gaenzle said, “Small businesses need to understand the value of digital. Passing out flyers can be expensive, and word of mouth is great, but it only gets you so far. Digital can be affordable and leads to growth in website traffic, brand recognition, search rankings, and sales.”2

However, if you feel that you have somehow mastered the use of digital marketing and social media tools, think again! Change is coming and you have to consider all these in determining your marketing and digital strategy.

So what can you expect in 2017?

Live videos/live feeds will revolutionize the digital media landscape

The use of live feeds started in 2015 with the rise of Periscope and Meerkat. This trend exploded in 2016 with Blab, Facebook Live and Snapchat Stories joining the scene. Statistics show that Snapchat’s Live Stories generate 10 to 20 million views per day3

while Facebook has eight billion video views daily and its users spend three times longer watching live video.4

digital marketing social media platforms

This 2016, Facebook Live has been widely used to cover important events such as the national conventions of the two major political parties in the U.S., Brexit referendum, Turkish coup et al. It was even used in capturing the aftermath of the shooting and eventual death of a man named Philando Castile in Minnesota who was shot by the police, allegedly for a busted tail light5

and sparked the #BlackLivesMatter protests in the county and other parts of the U.S. The recent widespread use of Facebook Live has led analysts to speculate that it is likely to replace television news.6

For small business, live video feeds can be used to broadcast your events, showcase your products, talk about your services, simply engage with your target audience and more!

“Buy buttons” on social media to change consumer buying habits

Perhaps the most important enhancement to social media accounts that will matter to small businesses is the addition of buy buttons. This means that small businesses no longer need to invest on shopping websites or mobile shopping apps, thereby cutting down on costs. This is also expected to change the buying habits of consumers who can immediately purchase items without leaving their social media accounts.

Check out the buy buttons now on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google and YouTube!

digital marketing social media platforms

Expect an increase in ad spending to reach more customers

All the enhancements and fixes on digital marketing and social media do not come for free. Tech companies of course want to recoup their investments by encouraging an increase in digital spending. How so? Your Facebook post for one will only reach about 16% of your audience.7

In order to reach more people, you will be required to boost or sponsor your posts. This is also through with Google and Youtube.

However, the good thing here is that the improved algorithms of Facebook, Google and Twitter will allow you to target your customers better, allowing for more conversions and better return on investment (ROI).

Engagement will be the name of the game

While content is still king, the question is, what kind of content? Note that there is just so much content on the digital landscape that users are simply overwhelmed and desensitized. Bitcatcha reports that there are two million blogs published everyday and 300 hours of video uploaded on Youtube every minute.8

digital marketing social media platforms

The important thing is to have unique, simple and interesting content that will get people to sit up and take notice. Take for example the use of funny memes or striking social cards. There’s also the shift to interactive content. Jeffbullas.com notes that interactive content is a surefire way to engage and entertain audiences.9

The website10

lists down some examples of interactive content that small businesses can get inspiration from:

  1. Automated diagnostic tools such as the headline analyzer tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute;
  2. Interactive microsites such as Design Hill’s interactive guide to famous logos and their hidden meanings;
  3. Data visualisation such as LinkedIn’s education tool;
  4. Calculators, assessments and quizzes such as the ones done by BuzzFeed; and
  5. Infographics such as these best infographics of 2014.

Another vital area that small businesses need to consider this 2017 in the name of engagement is the integration of customer service and social media. Customer service should not simply be delegated to an email. More and more customers will engage with businesses through their social media accounts and they will expect fast response.11

Related to this also should be the increased use of social media to promote content. Facebook has launched Instant Articles which loads content, that is optimized for mobile viewing, immediately as compared to a regular, static website. So it is important for small businesses to know which of their content should be served using Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Brands will be more personal

With social media accounts improving their algorithms as well as recording and getting more information from users, expect brands to invade private messaging such s Viber, Facebook groups and messenger, Snapchat et al. In the Philippines for example, Viber served up politically-related stickers during its May 2016 national elections, sponsored by political figures.

This can be maximized by small businesses in generating brand awareness and establishing identity.

selfie digital marketing trends

Mobile market gets bigger

It is not anymore enough to have a website. It is vital to ensure that your website is optimized for

mobile use as the mobile market continues to expand. Users surf and browse online content through their tablets and smartphones. Aside from this, Google penalizes websites that are not optimized for mobile use and mobile uploading speed.12

The rise of Snapchat and Instagram

If you only have Facebook and Twitter, think again! It is now time to diversity your small business’ social media accounts to include both Snapchat and Instagram. These two platforms are now on the rise especially with users under 34 years of age. Instagram has been named as the “most engaging social platform and Snapchat has 100 million active daily users.13

digital marketing trends snapchat instagram

To be successful on Snapchat and Instagram, always consider that these are visual platforms and require creativity to be able to stand out.

So now that we have covered all the exciting changes in the digital landscape for 2017, up next is leveraging on all of these and creating a digital marketing strategy that’s fit for your business needs. Remember that no matter how confusing all the new technologies and tools that are available, the important thing is to hit all your business goals!

Show 13 footnotes

  1. “Patrick, Sarah. “Small Business Digital Marketing and Social Media Habits in 2016: A Survey.” https://clutch.co/agencies/resources/small-business-digital-marketing-and-social-media-habits-survey-2016. 22 March 2016.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Dodson, P. Claire. “Why Snapchat’s Live Stories are the Most Powerful New Social Media.” http://www.fastcompany.com/3052322/why-snapchats-live-stories-are-the-most-powerful-new-social-media. 21 October 2015.

  4. Savage, Jonathan. “Top 5 Facebook Video Statistics for 2016.” http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/top-5-facebook-video-statistics-2016-infographic. 10 April 2016.

  5. Logan, Bryan. “Video shows the immediate aftermath of a deadly police shooting in Minnesota.” http://www.businessinsider.com/falcon-heights-minnesota-police-shooting-2016-7. 07 July 2016.

  6. Beres, Damon. “Facebook Is Ready To Replace TV News.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/abc-news-facebook-deal_us_578cd770e4b0a0ae97c28d1a. 18 July 2016.

  7.  Facebook Business. https://www.facebook.com/marketing/posts/10150839503836337
  8.  Low, Daren. “14 Game-Changing Trends In Social Media Marketing In 2016.” http://www.bitcatcha.com/2016/14-game-changing-trends-in-social-media-marketing-in-2016/. 11 January 2016.
  9. Roy, Ankit. “5 Types of Interactive Content to Supercharge Your Content Marketing”. http://www.jeffbullas.com/2015/09/24/5-types-interactive-content-supercharge-content-marketing/.

  10. ibid.

  11. Low, Daren. “14 Game-Changing Trends In Social Media Marketing In 2016.” http://www.bitcatcha.com/2016/14-game-changing-trends-in-social-media-marketing-in-2016/. 11 January 2016.

  12. Hickman, Greg. “Google Will Punish You If You Don’t Have A Mobile-Friendly Website.” http://mobilemarketingengine.com/google-demotion-with-no-mobile-website/.

  13. Low, Daren. “14 Game-Changing Trends In Social Media Marketing In 2016.” http://www.bitcatcha.com/2016/14-game-changing-trends-in-social-media-marketing-in-2016/. 11 January 2016.

Polly Michelle Cunanan

Contributor at The Social Copywriter
Polly Michelle Cunanan is a results-driven media and communication expert with over 15 years of experience and proven track record in working with the Philippine Government and donor agencies such as the USAID, World Bank, UN-FAO, ADB, European Union (EU) and media. Political communication, messaging and campaigns are among her expertise. She spearheaded the communication program on the Bangsamoro peace process which led to a conducive environment for the signing of the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. She is a graduate of BA Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines and has completed the academic requirements for MA Communication Research from the same university. She is an incoming UK Chevening scholar set to undertake MA Political Communication at Cardiff University.
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