Four Digital Marketing trends that will impact small business in 2015

Joanna Michaels, Beyond Social Buzz

Now we are at the end of 2014, and peering into the digital future of small business marketing. So what does 2015 have in store for digital marketing and how will new trends affect the marketing for small businesses?

Here are four top digital marketing trends to keep an eye on as you plan and develop your small business marketing for 2015.

1. Online reputation will dictate your sales

Many small businesses still lack a proactive approach towards managing their online reputation. Recent surveys (source: My Review Now) show that while 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, 89% of consumers rely on anonymous online reviews, from people they have never met. What’s more 86% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their purchase decisions.

The power of online reviews and their impact on your bottom line sales is unlikely to decrease in 2015. On the contrary, they are predicted to become even more important. This trend is also visible through the increased number of companies specialising exclusively in online reputation management.

So if you haven’t yet embraced online reviews for your business, don’t waste any more time. That means dedicating more time and resources to strengthen your online reputation or hiring a company that can do it for you.

2. Mobile optimized sites will become a norm

Creating content that is easy accessible to the ever-increasing number of mobile users will be an absolute key to success in 2015. Recent studies show that 80% of social media users access social platforms ‘on the go’, through a variety of mobile devices and this number is predicted to grow. Also, online sales involving tablets and smartphones are rapidly increasing.

Small businesses whose websites have not been updated to match these new norms, will simply become obsolete and lose customers to competitors who have adapted to this trend.

3. Facebook paid advertising will be the name of the game

Do you want your customers to hear your promotional message on Facebook in 2015? Soon you will have to pay for Facebook. It is slowly becoming a predominantly paid advertising platform.

As already discovered by many small businesses, the organic reach (visibility of unpaid posts to users) on Facebook is almost dead. For the last few years, Facebook has been focusing on providing a better user experience, highlighting the importance of a quality content. As a result Facebook will make it harder for brands to push their promotional posts (in Facebook’s own words “overly promotional content”), if they haven’t been paid for. Any posts that fit into the bracket of ‘buy from me’ kind of content will be muted by the platform.

These important changes will require small businesses to become more creative and to provide non-promotional, interesting content focused on providing value. In other words, it goes back to the core rule of social media – don’t sell, but offer useful and trustworthy content. That way you will enjoy a social media success, regardless of algorithm and platform changes.

4. More brands will take advantage of Social Media Ecommerce

Throughout 2014 Facebook and Twitter have been testing their new feature, the ‘buy’ buttons. Such development may eliminate the need to drive users to online stores with links in social posts. Instead, the shopping experience will become a part of social streams, with users being able to shop with just a click or two, without the need to leave their social network.

2015 is expected to heat up the trend of social buying. The purchase process will require an account set up, but once this is done, ability to buy through social media will be just a ‘click away’. Should that happen, small businesses that successfully manage to build a strong, receptive audience on social platforms will start selling.

Social ecommerce will give small business the long-awaited ability to attach concrete revenue metrics to their social media activity. Overcoming the most complained about analytical challenge makes this development a really significant change.

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