2017 has been an interesting year for marketing as we continued to watch the maturity of social media and digital marketing as a while. Looking forward in 2018, pumping out endless content is not going to get you very far. Internet users are continuing to streamline their own experiences and cut out pointless noise from their timelines. This means that you have to be smarter about the way you produce content. Engaging more with your followers and producing meaningful content is the way to get noticed. 2018 is the year to get smarter about the content you’re producing. Here is what you can expect to see in digital marketing this year to help you stay ahead.  

Affiliate Marketing will Continue to Grow Tenfold

 Affiliate marketing isn’t just for big brands and companies in the travel industry. 2018 will be the year we see more and more smaller companies try their hand at affiliate marketing and we will continue to see it explode. With social media influencers (big and small) in nearly any industry you can think of, there is no reason why you should let affiliate marketing pass you by this year. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you don’t always have to sign a check to get on the radar of an influencer in your industry. Sometimes all it takes is sending them a sample product, free trial, or simply have a handful of meaningful interactions with them on social media. Even better if they’re a customer of yours already. Of course, writing checks is the way to make sure you get the exposure you’re looking for, but if you find the right influencer who loves what you’ve got to offer, the results and a potential relationship with them could make for some great organic exposure. When it comes to affiliate marketing, never be afraid to get creative and never underestimate the power of utilizing the customers you already have.  

Video Can Help You Stand Out

 As Gary Vee has been saying for years, a video is where it’s at. With live streams and Instagram stories taking over, you don’t need a decent camera and video editing skills to create content anymore. This year, Instagram stories are expected to continue to grow and become utilized by about half of their users. This means that it is the perfect time to start utilizing it. Instagram Stories is a great way to feature unique benefits to your products and services or simply showcase a little about your company culture. Just like a video is being used to average users to give their followers a look into their everyday lives, you can do the same with your business. However, keep in mind that more and more brands are starting to produce video content. This means you need to provide a unique experience to keep people interested. If you do it right and provide meaningful content, it can help your customers stay engaged and show a unique side to your company that helps you to stand out.  

Continue to Get More Personalized

 Streamlining the online experience isn’t limited only to social media. In 2018, customers will continue to see more personalized experiences in their email marketing. If you’re not using a CRM to optimize your email marketing, it’s time to get on it. And even if you are using a CRM, chances are you’re not using it to its full potential. Creating a more personal experience for your email list isn’t just a good idea to keep your customers engaged. It will absolutely get more customers interested and clicking through to learn more. Not only that, but a more personalized experience can help you to foster brand loyalty too. In 2018, keep your eye out for new ways you can automate and personalize your customer experience.  

Brands Will Continue to See Less Organic Reach

 For brands, organic reach will continue to decline in 2018 as users and social media companies alike optimize their experience. Thus ads on social media platforms will become even more important. Facebook is still the king when it comes to social, but Instagram has seen phenomenal results when it comes to engagement from their ads. Likewise, LinkedIn’s advertising platform has seen a number of improvements to make for better, more effective targeting and personalization. On the other hand, Twitter’s focus has been focused on platform improvements and user growth as it has continued to decline. If you have built a solid organic community on Twitter there’s no reason to jump ship, but with minimal data on their users and no growth overall, it’s not the place you taught to be throwing valuable ad dollars in 2018.  

The mantra in digital marketing in the last few years has been “Create a good customer experience.” In 2018, it’s time to double down on it. With A.I. becoming more and more readily available, companies are working to streamline the customer experience like never before, keeping customers on their sites longer and personalizing their experiences. Businesses that keep their content customer focused by giving them value will be the clear winners in 2018.