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The Pivot to Social Media – How COVID Is Changing the Future of Digital Marketing

Globally, individual behaviors have changed a great deal over the past year. Fear of contagion from COVID prompted lockdowns and social restrictions. But they also affected the types of activities people felt comfortable doing. In many ways, people have embraced new ways of doing things. Online retail, grocery deliveries, and remote videoconferencing are just a few of the more obvious. Even with a coronavirus vaccine being released, most believe many of these behaviors will persist in a post-COVID world. And this has significant implications for the future of digital marketing as well as on social media marketing trends.

As a result of quarantines, many found themselves spending more time inside as well as online. Likewise, social distancing and other restrictions made social interactions more difficult. Therefore, it’s not surprising that social media use increased substantially. These changes in social behavior will affect the future of digital marketing going forward. In fact, social media marketing trends are already on the rise as a result of this year alone. For businesses looking ahead, social media will need to play a much larger role in their marketing efforts than previously.

“I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID. People of all background are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content.” – Esa Mbouw, Deputy Head of Business Administration, Swiss German University

Social Media Trends by the Numbers

The increase in social media marketing trends is occurring for a reason. Notably, social media use was quite popular prior to the pandemic. But since COVID struck, the increases in use have been substantial. Between July of 2019 and 2020, social media use increased 10.5 percent year-on-year. That made social media use the second most common online activity among consumers. Surveys have indicated that three-quarters of people consumer more social media. Almost half describe an increase in social media posting. All of this means more time is being spent on social media, which naturally affects the future of digital marketing.

One of the biggest stories related to social media marketing trends involves the use of video content creation apps. Since the pandemic began, TikTok has excelled significantly, reporting an additional 12 million US users in March 2020 alone. Its short video-segment formats are more engaging for social media users. Likewise, these promote creativity and social interactions to a greater degree. While Instagram remains the most popular social media platform this year, TikTok as well as YouTube are not far behind. These rankings are worth noting when considering a company’s future of digital marketing strategies.

“My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade.” – Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director, Cyclone Social

Retail and Social Media Marketing Trends

The rise in social media use over the last year involves more than just entertainment and social connections. Consumers increasingly used this platform for retail as well. Based on recent surveys, roughly 8 out of 10 consumers get information about brands from social media before purchasing. Two-thirds state that finding a product on social media affected their buying patterns. And nearly a third are making new purchases directly from social media. Companies recognizing this have shifted their social media marketing trends. They believe the future of digital marketing for their company must include these strategies.

Some people on their phones instead of talking to each other
A more virtual world means a world more attune to social media – making it one of the most important marketing trends.

Understanding these shifts in behavior, it’s not surprising that consumers are also seeking product testimonials on social media as well. The trust economy remains alive and well. Product reviews have played an increasing role in the retail sector for years. But now, social media influencers and personalities are also affecting consumer buying habits. Many therefore believe that the future of digital marketing will involve partnerships with these social media influencers. Notably, some businesses have noted these social media marketing trends and offered influencers contracts. While celebrities and popular personalities will continue to be sought after, so will those with large social media followings.

“…out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world. For one thing, it’s easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors – and therefore, more time online.” – Lilach Bullock, Business Coach and Author at Social Media Examiner

Social Media and the Future of Digital Marketing Strategies

For businesses looking to excel, several important social media marketing strategies will need to be considered. Based on information from social media users, most want content that’s engaging but also fun and entertaining. Given the stress and seriousness of the pandemic, many are burned out on such topics. While consumers appreciate authenticity and informative content, they also enjoy something that’s more lighthearted. Thus, experts suggest that social medial marketing trends will favor this approach.

In addition to these suggestions, the future of digital marketing will still focus on brand consistency and omnichannel outreach. As one of these channels, social media marketing should align well will other company messages. Likewise, consumers are more likely to engage content that is interactive in nature and promotes community. This works to business’ advantage, particularly if the content being promoted can be shared. Based on existing social media marketing trends, these concepts should guide a company’s digital marketing strategies.

Connecting with Customers in a Post-COVID World

Eventually, the pandemic will be controlled, and some resemblance of normal life will resume. But the adoption of social media by consumers is likely to persist and continue to expand. As always, the future of digital marketing will encourage companies to connect with their customers emotionally and authentically. This can be achieved on social media as marketing trends as of late has shown. Of course, it never hurts to secure expertise in digital marketing for these purposes. But regardless of the approach, it’s clear social media marketing is an essential component of any effective digital marketing plan.

 

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Best of 2020: Society Rolls with the Punches

Last year was one of tremendous change and growth. Amidst all the challenges and struggles, each of us has been forced to adapt and deal with the unexpected. But in the process, something amazing has happened. Nearly every sector of society has evolved in ways to have enhanced our lives in major ways. Without question, the coronavirus pandemic has been heartbreaking and difficult in so many ways. But we’d only be looking at the glass as help-empty if some of the positives weren’t also considered.

Major changes in society in 2020 took place as we were forced to embrace social distancing and quarantines. The come-to-me economy blossomed in the process with technologies providing many answers to our dilemmas. Healthcare, education, entertainment, and many other areas changed how services were provided and interactions experienced. And as a result, we have realized many additional conveniences that previously didn’t exist. At first glance, the year might be perceived as a complete loss with little to appreciate. But on closer examination, the changes in society in 2020 that occurred demonstrate our resilience and capacity to overcome.

“There will be interruptions, and I don’t know when they will occur, and I don’t how deep they will occur, I do know they will occur from time to time, and I also know that we’ll come out better on the other end.” – Warren Buffet, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Educational Changes in Society in 2020

Education, especially at the collegiate level, was already having some difficulties before the year began. Student debt had reached $1.6 trillion, and a college degree did not provide the same level of guarantee as before. But with the pandemic, virtual learning opportunities were forced to advance. The majority of schools restricted or eliminated on-site learning favoring online classes. As a result, Blackboard, Moodle, and Sakai educational platforms became in greater demand. Likewise, EdTech companies like Pearson Education, Coursera, and others excelled. As the come-to-me economy matured, higher learning institutions and students alike realize the advantages. In fact, Harvard, Princeton and others are now developing their own in-house virtual learning platforms for the future.

Workplace Changes in Society in 2020

Within weeks of lockdowns, more than three-quarters of the workforce began working remotely from home. Surveys not long after showed nearly 90 percent wanted to continue this current arrangement. Videoconferencing platforms and tools enhanced remote work productivity. Likewise, businesses began to recognize the cost-savings in facility, real estate and other expenses they could enjoy. Remote work even expanded human resource access and promoted greater diversity. The come-to-me economy for remote work is now here to stay. And companies like Zoom, Time Doctor, Action Trak, and Microsoft Teams have seized a tremendous opportunity in the process.

Entertainment Changes in Society in 2020

With events shutting down along with concerts and movie theaters, society had to make a change. Fortunately, industries were well-prepared for such a shift. While drive-ins had their brief hoorah, streaming services expanded in scale and scope. Netflix, Amazon Prime, NBC Universal Peacock, and more all expanded their content and offerings. Likewise, Instagram Live, Twitch, and Facebook Live provided new platforms for streaming live events and music. These changes have been the most noticeable and entrenched aspects of the come-to-me economy this year. And many question whether in-person movie theaters will ever return.

Healthcare Changes in Society in 2020

Telehealth and telemedicine services were already being explored before 2020. But regulatory barriers, technology costs, and social acceptance posed notable barriers. That all changed with the pandemic and with society embracing a come-to-me economy. With safety and convenience paramount, routine healthcare services embraced virtual care platforms. Not only did this include routine checkups and healthcare monitoring, but it also involved remote surgery. Teladoc, a leader in telehealth saw a 203 percent YOY increase in visits. Likewise, numerous other companies like Mydecine Innovation Group and Corindus developed healthcare apps to facilitate virtual care. In the process, providers and patients alike finally realize the advantages these platforms offer.

Food and Dining Changes in Society in 2020

Like remote work from home, major changes in dining and food services were also easy to recognize. Food delivery services boomed as restaurants were forced to shut their doors during lockdowns. Likewise, grocery and retail deliveries grew exponentially as society distanced themselves from COVID exposure. UberEATS, Door Dash and Instacart were big winners as a result as the come-to-me economy accelerated. Now, additional companies are expanded food ordering, preparation, delivery and management further. Companies like SpotOn, BentoBox, Numa, and Virtual Kitchen are just a few startups in this area. These companies as well as some involved in food data analytics are completely changing how we’ll dine in the future.

Fitness Changes in Society in 2020

Not only did restaurants have to shut down for a period of time, but so did gyms and fitness centers. For companies like Peloton and Mirror, they were at the right place at the right time. But other fitness businesses adapted to the come-to-me economy well also. Many fitness centers like Orange Theory and Modo Yoga began posting online sessions. Instagram Live was a favorite platform for these types of companies. Other smaller boutique gyms and studios used ClassPass subscription app to shift into the virtual fitness arena. And in the process, society realized such platforms offers greater flexibility, better access, and cheaper costs.

Ed Kopko's Come to Me Economy story featured image
The Come-to-Me Economy is an immutable lifestyle evolution.

“Thanks to the Come-to-Me Economy and the opportunities it brings, people will be better, society will be better, and fortunes will be made.” – Ed Kopko, CEO, Bold Business, LLC

Making the Best Out of a Bad Year

In looking back at all the changes in society in 2020, it’s really quite amazing. Our ability to adapt and even excel amidst such profound challenges is a testament to our strength. The pandemic challenged us in many ways, but it became evident that some change was good. As we recognized the conveniences of this new economy, we rose to the challenge. And a number of businesses seized the opportunity to explore new territories and innovations. The year was tough but not all bad. In fact, the changes we pursued actually enhanced society in every way.

 

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Digital Transformation – A Necessity for Businesses in the Post-COVID World

The process of digital transformation had been a gradual one prior to 2020. The term refers to the replacement of traditional brick-and-mortar processes to those that are virtual or digital in nature. Many businesses recognized a need to shift toward technology in how they interacted with consumers. But depending on the industry and the specific market, the rate by which this change occurred varied significantly. When the pandemic struck, however, those who had invested greater efforts toward digital transformation enjoyed a huge advantage. And for those who hadn’t, they found themselves scrambling to survive in a world that had suddenly changed.

Today, the luxury of choosing the pace by which a business embraces digital transformation is no longer an option. Digital marketing trends are evolving quickly as are many other business technologies. If businesses want to be seen and connect with customers, they will have to adapt to these trends. And they will have to do it well. Not all digital marketing trends and strategies work for every company. For this reason, businesses will have to be selective and smart in their approach to digital transformation. But, no matter what, opting to avoid it is one approach that is guaranteed to fail.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the weaknesses of all companies not currently embracing digital technologies for both internal operations as well as external sales, marketing and support efforts.” – Paul Schaut, Technology Council Member, Forbes Magazine

Digital Transformation on Steroids

Without question, the marketing and business landscape have changed tremendously within a few months. As noted, lockdowns and social restrictions forced many businesses to pursue digital transformation perhaps sooner than they wanted. This is especially true of some industries such as the restaurant sector. On-demand food delivery and electronic ordering were essential tools to stay afloat. But any business with remote employees working from home felt this impact. Each of these businesses had to quickly develop digital tools and platforms that enabled videoconferencing, collaboration, and information sharing.

In the process of this rapid change, businesses realized that digital transformation had its upsides. Digital marketing trends highlighted the benefits of omnichannel outreach and a seamless consumer experience. These efforts not only provided a means for more targeted advertising communications. But they also enhanced efforts in branding while connecting with consumers in a more fluid manner. Productivity was improved form many firms, and digital strategies often served to reduce operating costs. Not all of the changes forced upon businesses in 2020 were bad ones.

“We believe that 2021 will be full of optimism, with a focus on performance across channels, empowered by improved tracking. Most of the behaviors consumers and brands will adopt are based on core values, authenticity and the efficiency of digital channels.” – Kent Lewis, President and Founder, Anvil Media

Strategies for Digital Transformation in 2021

The landscape for digital transformation is rather vast and involves much more than new digital marketing trends. While digital marketing trends have evolved as well, businesses must adopt a broader perspective. Some of the important areas where firms must advance pertain to things like omnichannel e-commerce platforms, chatbots, mobile applications, and the use of predictive analytics. Artificial intelligence is a must for modern businesses as is data-driven decision making. And without question, virtual platforms and related digital tools to facilitate staff and customer engagement are a must.

A woman working on her laptop next to a plant
For businesses whose focus has shifted almost entirely to the virtual realm, there’s no better time for a digital transformation.

The most important goal for business in their pursuits in digital transformation involves the consumer. The pandemic did more than simply place restrictions on traditional commerce. It changed the way customers wanted to engage and interact with companies. They want flexibility, mobility, and on-demand services as the Come-to-Me Economy materializes. This means companies must consider omnichannel options for digital marketing trends as well as for sales and support. They must also do it in a way that is authentic, respectful, efficient and valued.

“The pandemic has highlighted that companies not able to market, sell and service their customers through anything other than brick-and-mortar channels can be caught flat-footed and unable to service their customers.” – Paul Schaut

Key Digital Marketing Trends Ahead

Like many activities, digital marketing trends took a bit of a hit in 2020 as well with the pandemic. But some have already bounced back, and others are likely to boom in the coming months. For example, podcasting has already seen a nice rebound with consumer search also up in volume. And social media channels are doing extremely well as of late with 40 percent of purchases due social media influences. With nearly 250 million active users, social media will reflect a key part of any business’ digital transformation efforts. These trends as well as a recent boom in video content creation are critical areas where digital marketing is truly hot.

Several digital marketing trends are worth noting as we look ahead into the year. Virtual events have surpassed traditional conventions and trade shows. Thus, some companies will need to explore these opportunities to promote their marketing messages. Likewise, consumers will increasingly value companies with high ethical, environmental and social responsibility. Digital marketing trends favor these approaches for companies. And finally, a seamless, omnichannel message that educates and brings value to customers will be essential. In addition to standard digital marketing strategies, these will similarly need to be considered.

Digital Transformation Doesn’t Just Happen

Prior to 2020, the success rate for companies in their pursuit of digital transformation wasn’t great. In 2018, roughly $1.3 trillion was spent toward these efforts by companies. However, over 70 percent of these initiatives failed to realize their overall goals. In essence, this meant $900 billion of investments were wasted. In the aftermath of the pandemic, businesses no longer have this luxury of taking a chance on a bad investment. They need to hire talent with expertise in digital marketing trends in order to effectively navigate a highly dynamic world. Without a doubt, tremendous opportunities exist. And those who invest wisely in their digital transformation will likely be the ones to rise to the occasion.

 

Want to make 2021 a better year than 2020? Then check out PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success.