What’s Trending in 2015?

Hello!

It’s the last day of the year 2014 and we hope it was a good year for you! It’s been an interesting year for us here at Social Pandora as we added more clients to our portfolio, added more team members and experimented with the technological trends of 2014. So as we say goodbye to another year and welcome 2015, our team collectively worked on this post to bring you our top trends for 2015 across various fields. Targeting various interests as we notice how big of a year 2015 will be!

2014 saw a boom of apps, health food trends and color schemes, so too will 2015 with some additions of course 😉

Web Trends for 2015:

  1. It’s all about the Mobile: According to Google’s survey, 48% of users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smart phone, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business enough and therefore they weren’t interested in shopping from them. Also 90% of people use multiple devices at once so it is wiser for you to get your website optimized for mobiles and tablets, and make them better than the desktop version.
  2. Get your Crawler Errors fixed! Google increases the rankings of your site if it is without any errors. Crawler errors will prevent users to get to your site and bring your traffic to an all-time low. So get those errors fixed and watch up to 5% increase in your traffic!
  3. Parallax Scrolling: Readers of your posts seem to enjoy parallax scrolling as it gives them the illusion of depth and movement, which increases user engagement. Parallax scrolling is difficult to pull off but if done right – you can add layers of images to get a 3D effect, think of products selling at its best!
  4. Infinite Scrolling: The more you use your touch screen devices, you do more scrolling than clicking! So incorporating this into your web design technique loads content little by little and keeps adding additional content as you read. Your readers will find that the page does not load as slowly anymore and users can read in small segments at a time!
  5. M-Learning- Mobile Learning makes use of the device to make payments, deliver content in bite sized chunks ensuring user’s recall ability. M-payments facilitate novel methods to share and split costs for both products and services. Also known as fair splitting– ‘Audi Unite’ in October 2014 enables customers in Sweden to share a car in private network of 5 users. The app allows users to view location and availability and can access it using a smart key fob. And as per the agreement, drivers are charged either a usage base fee or monthly fixed fee.
  6. Step into the fast lane! : More consumers are pressed for time and expect companies or brands they buy from to provide a fast lane to beat waiting times. While it can’t be done for all services or situations, it works in your favor as you get more customers to stop by; move from the ‘slow’ to the fast lane; finish up and go. Something like fast food restaurants getting quick table turnarounds. Notable example: Include Starbucks with their ‘Order Ahead’ function, Pizza hut and Taco bell.
  7. Internet of things: 4.9 billion connecting things will be in use in 2015 and businesses will need to spend time and money on designing, implementing and operating the internet of things. As more devises become connected, new ways of delivering value from them will be the big thing in the coming months.
  8. Gamification: Applying game mechanics and design techniques to engage and motivate your audience. Learners recall only 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear. If visuals accompany any presentation or interactive content, users tend to remember them. Storytelling with more visuals than text increases the ability to communicate with your audience quicker.

Color Trends for 2015:

The next year is all about the cool blues and greens- shades of olive green, bright oranges and cobalt blues make for a colorful & chic palette. Grey is the perfect neutral backdrop and can be brightened up with a palette of Mediterranean blue and green with some orange. Renaissance inspired patterns and textures are the pick for the spring and summer of 2015. Choose from a range of olive and bottle greens to make your home feel warm, look earthy and organic and pair it with a gray neutral or go bold with pink and orange for a vivid outlook.

Fitness and Health Food trends for 2015:

As more people join the health foods bandwagon; it’s hard to keep up with the trends! From goji berry to acai berry to chia seeds and the more recent Garcinia cambogia it can be very confusing while shopping! From quinoa to millets, the attention has now moved to Teff- A grass cultivated in Ethiopia. It is high in calcium, iron, fiber and protein and has a sweet taste to it.Tastes great as a side dish or a baked main dish.

More greens like kale, Beet greens or beet spinach is the next big thing. Tastes good in smoothies, soups or as a salad. You can even bake them for a salty snack. Grass fed dairy and meat– Meat and dairy from livestock whose diets are limited to grass fed legumes. They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and are great if you’re looking for a healthier alternative. Nut based butters and cheeses are a sure fire way to lower calories while keeping your taste buds in check. Made from almonds, macadamia nuts- milk, cheese and butters are made the traditional way and they taste great! They are the perfect snack while also boosting your vitamin E and B12 intake.

The fitness trends to look out for are:

  1. Aerial Hammock Yoga– made famous by Pink and Vanessa Hudgens and the cirque du soleil this workout is great to improve flexibility, stay active and get lots of cardio in.
  2. POUND: From Zumba , dance workouts have moved on to something called POUND which incorporates sticks called ripsticks to give a full body workout that is fun, and dynamic.
  3. PILOXING: Pilates and Boxing have joined forces to bring you a workout that is both fun and works on your stability and balance to give you a leaner, toned look.

Some great alternatives to HIIT and Tabata training eh!

Video trends for 2015

  1. Keep the content short: Maximum impact in minimum time.
  2. Make videos interactive: Like customizable story-lines, combining games, music with ads.
  3. Humanizing your brand: Videos are the best way to create deeper relationships with the audience. So creating 60 second videos with a strong message is the next hot thing in 2015.
  4. Use homepage videos, web chat to interact with your customers and increase conversation.
  5. Create video tutorials or how-to’s to educate and inform your audience.
  6. Incorporate some humor: Using humor and easy-to-digest information in formal presentations to target a wider audience.
  7. Make use of mobile video ads

Social Media and Digital Media trends in 2015:

  1. SEO will be for more focused on technical elements and be a valuable part of content marketing.
  2. Mobile ads: It is estimated that 40% of all paid traffic will come from mobile in 2015.
  3. Sites that aren’t optimized for mobile SEO will fail: Google has been penalizing sites that generate errors for mobile users. So remove all the errors and optimize your mobile website.
  4. Using more long tail keyword searches for mobile as mobile users devour information differently from desktop users.
  5. Link Building: Google’s Penguin algorithm ensures good quality content and links are earned rather than being manipulated.
  6. Google’s Pigeon algorithm enables data to be more useful, relevant and local.
  7. Wearable Technology: This could change the web design and SEO industry completely and it is exciting to see what is in store!
  8. 8. Brand Mentions will be as powerful as links: With Google penalizing manipulated links, Google is placing more emphasis on brand mentions for achieving higher search rankings.
  9. 9. Move from G+: After Google Authorship was killed due to low user rates, people may not be using Google+ as much and Google may put more emphasis on Facebook and Twitter to gain social signals.
  10.  Instagram is best for image marketing
  11. Twitter’s new business model will provide better ROI: When compared to Facebook, Twitter promises to give better ROI on ads as Facebook is touted to increase their ad spending for consumers wanting to grow their business.
  12. 3D Printing: To create personalized brands and product offerings.

Design Trends:

  1. Flat Design: Flat design gives websites a clean and polished look, open space, crisp edges, works seamlessly with responsive design and has quicker load times.
  2. Typography: More flat fonts, billboard inspired fonts that are similar to handwriting and is clearer and sharper to read. The logo, titles, fonts and links should fit the company’s style and set the mood and tone for the website. It all brings the text to life!
  3. Use Bigger, richer images: Create eye catching blog graphics, beautiful photography that convey good information.
  4. Wearables: Wearable technology as we mentioned earlier will blend the smart phone and your watch to create a statement while also having data at your finger tips!

So there you have it, an exhaustive list of trends in the year 2015 across various categories!

Have we missed anything out? Have you used any or all? What do you think will be trending in the new year?

Let us know!

-Social Pandora

 

 

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The Impact of Digitization on everyday life-PART 2

 

Big brands like Absolut with their Absolut truth campaign, Nivea , Hyundai , Lynx have embraced this change and created revolutionary content. Organizations world over are now focused on delivering seamless, meaningful, engaging content while incorporating new emerging technology, adopting a test launch and learn approach after which changes are made based on customer feedback.

 

Few years ago if you were to buy a vacuum cleaner from a store, you would go to the store and buy one that matches your specifications, come back home and see that it’s not as good as they described it to be! Today, you have the choice of looking it up, checking reviews and invest on something that is worth the money. People are practically using it for everyday life! Brands use location services, QR codes, Augmented reality, electronic papers and have taken the customer- brand relationship to an all-new high.

 

Take a look at this chart to see how engagement is changing over time (Source: Ernst & Young )

How engagment is changing over time

 

 

 

 

John is sitting at a café waiting for his first cup of coffee for the day at 8:00 am and his jawbone buzzes indicating a call, he answers it, discusses work while working on his iPad, makes a few appointments through his collaborative calendar and leaves the café. He walks to the car and gets to work, begins his day. His mind jogger app reminds him of his activities every half and hour while his device buzzes him of the steps he’s walked and how much is left to attain his goal for the day. On his way back home, Siri guides him to make a reservation at a plush restaurant, while Navman shows him the way to the nearest Florist, finishes a few calls on his Bluetooth speaker blaring out of his Peugeot and he’s out for his date.

 

 This just got more real and better with the introduction of Google Glass. Our experiences as customers are enhanced, because of small personal gestures, virtual assistants to bring a sense of familiarity while also making meaningful and lasting connections with the customers. They have moved beyond falling for mass marketing techniques to one of segmented marketing techniques. Allowing the user to interact with the brand and make their choices of sticking to the brand or move.

google-glasses-v-2

 

(Image credit via- www.techinfo2.com)

 Augmented reality is changing the future

 

(Image via http://www.augmentedrealitytrends.com)

 

According to E&Y , these are the expectations of GEN Y- they represent over a quarter of the world’s population and have significant ideas and are equally impossible to ignore.

 

-They seek transformational change

-To connect with consumers and employees, companies cannot just look good- it has to be good

-They seek transparency

-Visible peer recommendations in decision-making

-Immediate feedback

-Flexibility

 

 

So what do you as consumers, business owners, students, teachers, moms, do? You can effectively gather an understanding of how technology, digitization can work for you? What must you do to create a seamless operation model that connects to suppliers, partners, and employees, B2B?

 

Anticipate what the competition is doing and beat them to it ! Use it to enhance your current model, transform your method of working, and invent a new business model if you have to. If you are a supplier or a partner, see how you can improve work times, work with lower budgets; provide end-to-end solutions for your supply chain process.

 

Digitization has emerged as a key economic driver. It accelerates growth, promotes cultures, facilitates employment across different sectors and of course improves productivity!

 

Whether you’re young or old, off you go to embracing digitization and making it work for you !

 

How has digitization changed your life? We’d love to hear from you!

 

-Social Pandora

 

The Impact of Digitization on everyday life-PART 1

Impact od Digitization.jpg

 

(Image credit – http://www.widernet.org)

Howdy!

We have been writing about Social Media; it’s benefits, posts on using each of the networking sites to your advantage and measuring your efforts. But as we helped more small to medium sized companies with their campaigns, we took a step back and pondered.

While the youth, the young adults of today with their selfies, text messages that read LOL, BTW, OTW, LMAO, ease of technological lingo, if you will, easily adapt to the constantly changing industry. We wonder, how have the others fared? New technology or change in general is disruptive. And with the pace it is currently at, it has posed a fair few challenges to businesses.

While wondering, we had our team meet a few people- students, university staff, office goers, business owners, café workers, content writers, stay at home moms and work from home employees and asked them how digitization has impacted their lives. The result was astonishing, to say the least. Digitization as we know it is a step ahead and greater than the Internet.

Impact of Digitization

(Image credit- http://www.saphana.com)
Most business owners we met had been running the business for 35-40 years and it is safe to say that they knew what they were doing. But, it’s the digitization boom that’s created an imperative for digital innovation, technological upgrades and better engagement. Now while businesses have realized this, some often find it hard to pursue that innovation and disrupt their functioning business model for one that offers a more competitive advantage.

In the harsh world of marketing, if you don’t do it, your competition will beat you to it! So business owners need to deal with the challenge of understanding the technology, engage with suppliers, partners, clients, even employees digitally while also paying extra attention to the customers.

To begin, change needs to be from the top level and work downwards, and extend to all the departments. Developing a digital strategy that is robust, comprehensive, innovative should extend beyond the IT and operations department. It’s got to be cross- channel and should enable continuous engagement with all your stakeholders.

Globally, there have been major changes in the online world. Decline of the cost of media distribution, introduction of broadband has made content available to millions and on a commercial level.
Creating user –generated content which has paved way for companies to change their advertising strategies allowing customers to participate in the usage and review of their products or services
Content marketing with the inclusion of photographs, images, videos, video blogs making it that much easier to connect with people, learn new things and find time to reflect
Web search itself has changed to allowing collaborative working and flexibility of searching for content that is now made easier to find.

Media companies aren’t the only ones reeling from these changes!

 

Information Overload

(Image credit via –www.thecybersec.co.uk)

Students have flocked to the Internet cafes, bought laptops to assist them in their education, there’s an increase in the consumption of data, allowing access to researched articles, international data on topics, broader perspectives – all while shaping the individual! The impact of this is a real time global exchange of information between multiple connected devices-phones, tablets, PC’s, SMART TV’s

Group of college students studying at campus

(Image credit via ihworld.com)
Head over to PART 2 of this article to understand the influence of new emerging technology on today’s world and the latest research that shows what Generation Y expects!

 

 

 

 

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

 

What you should know for your Business

What you should know for your Business

(Image via submitedge.com)

 Content Marketing has definitely come a long way! Something that began as a niche strategy has quickly grown to become one of the dominant methods of attracting meaningful and good leads. Harnessing the power of words, or images or videos is essential for building long-term success and an online presence.

 

So here’s a gist of what we believe are trends for this year and where it is headed!

content-marketing- has to be Original and valuable

 (Image via siliconangle.com)

 Did you know that 92% of marketers are using content marketing? According to infinigraph.com 2014, is all about going beyond experimenting to full content marketing integration and executions.

 

Instead of arguing about its significance and wondering what strategies to follow and the budgets to go along with it, this will be the year where you will need to have your content marketing strategies organized and in place.

 

58% of B2B and 60% of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. That being said, companies need to become aware of the importance of content marketing so that CFO’s can make investments in solid content strategies; meaning creating more positions and teams that are dedicated to creating great content. Without a good strategy in place, results won’t be as effective for every aspect of content marketing

 

Online Marketers have seen an explosion of how people are accessing the web via their mobile devices. From when they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night, people are on their phones. So why shouldn’t marketers take advantage of this trend and offer consistent and effective content that is accessible on not just mobiles but also tablets? – Trend to look out for is Multi-screens

 

Marketing needs to be Integrative – it’s not enough to just simply focus on content marketing or social media marketing but to take a holistic view of online marketing in general. Connecting e-mails, content and social media would do a lot to promote the brand and to build relationships.

 

 

New SEO –Google’s new algorithm Hummingbird, delivers better results based on the way we speak, so you will now need better and greater content. This update means better use of grammar, synonyms and words that deliver results.

 

Content Curation:  As more content is being churned out everyday, 2014 will see a greater need of efforts to organize all the information into relevant and better ways for audiences to absorb them- like Custom Timeline in Twitter to tweet about a specific topic or event or LinkedIn Showcase pages that allows brands to segment content for audiences based on different aspects of their business.

 

Providing value and quality content:  The overall quality of content will grow more than ever this year and as more people consume this content; brands and marketers will step up their game by integrating photos, videos, journalism and innovative story telling into their strategies.

 

So it’s time to get your Business on board and incorporate these into your strategy!

What are your content trends for 2014? What do you think people should include into their content strategy?

 

Let us know!

 

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

 

20 ways to use Twitter for business that is absolutely Twitterific !

twitter(Image by WeSEE)

If you’re a business owner, you have a lot on your mind, like how to market your business, ensuring that your customers are happy, that your product or service is up to standard, that your product or service is being recognized and delivered on time, are all the logistics in place?

Phew! That’s a lot and it is certainly not all.

You want to make the most of your time and effort so we have listed 20 easy ways to use Twitter for business.

But, before we proceed, take a look at our  ‘Creating a Twitter strategy over a cup of coffee’ and ‘ Creating twitter content without racking your brains’ posts to ensure that everything is in context.

Remember that a twitter strategy before you begin is essential and valuable.

Here we go!

Personal Branding:  Positioning yourself or your brand as a leader or expert within your industry is our first twitter tip. Personal branding would be an extension of your corporate brand or image.

 

Networking (Of course!): Finding other twitter users and bloggers is great for business and to broaden your interests.

networking(Image by WeSEE)

Promotion: If you have a promotion running or an event coming up, you can promote the event through twitter.

 

Integration: Integrate twitter into Facebook and load the twitter app in LinkedIn for better marketing.

 

Marketing: Run special deals, promotions for your company, seek sponsors for your event. Use Tweepi and Twellow for following people in your category or industry. You can also find them according to your location.

 

Create a conversation list: You can focus on people who inspire you and mute or ignore all the others. You can include people who inspire you in business or are creative or simply because they are  fun to talk to!

 

Promote your brand through visual branding:  This gives you an opportunity to provide extra information about your business to everyone who checks out your profile. You can create a custom graphic and use it as your background.

 

Customer service- The ultimate tool for delivering those important referrals, solving problems, answering queries, anything that will help you collaborate better.

 

Keywords: Tap into existing traffic using ‘Keywords’ to help amplify your exposure

 

Tag, you’re Hashtagged!: Use Hashtags to keep yourself updated on the keywords and trends.  You could use Hashtag.org and Topsy.com, which allow you to search trends by geographical location too.

 

Research: Find out what is being said about your brand or about your competitors. Listen with tools like Topsy.com, Tweetdeck.comHootsuite.com.

 

Understand Sentiments: What sentiments does your brand conjure when you type your brand name into Twitter?

 

Tweet links to your surveys on your website or blog

Opinions matter: Ask your client for their opinions. It’s the best way of knowing what they are looking for. It also gives them an opportunity to voice their views as well as engage with others in your community.

personal branding 2

 

(Image by WeSEE)

Feedback: Collect positive feedback tweets about your product or service and use them as testimonials

 

Make sure that you are following your customers:  In order to find your customers on twitter, advertise your twitter account to your customers. Then connect with them on all the latest news, tips, events, etc.

 

Reward people: Give away an e-book, a seat at a webinar, or service discount or product discount. It is a good tool to drive traffic to your blog. Although, ensure that the terms of the offer are mentioned in your blog or website.

 

Expand your twitter conversation to your blog:  Twitter makes that happen by embedding a tweet into a blog post. Which mans that you can write a blog post centered on a tweet and your blog. Visitors can interact with you on twitter through your blog.

 

Share company news: Post pictures about your company, your employees, new services or products or even company events to show how authentic and fun you are.

 

Bridge Twitter with other media: Enrich your audience’s experience by including different kinds of media like images, videos or even audio.

 

Some good tools are Twitpic.com , Yfrog.com , YouTube.com, Audioboo.fm for photo-sharing, videos and audio files.

 

Use Twitter for a number of reasons for business and you will find your company building conversations with people, connecting with other companies at Trade shows, webinars or live events pretty soon.

 

How will you be making Twitter a vital element of your business strategy?

Tell us your stories!

-Social Pandora

You can also follow us @InSocialPandora for more tips, trends and news

Creating super easy content marketing strategy in 8 steps

Content plan

 You’ve started using social media for business (Good work, Btw ) and created the company profiles across the main social media channels. That’s the first step you need to start a campaign and to create content.

Now, you have the content part of it to begin. Well, you may have heard that ‘Content is king’ so we need to get that sorted out first and sorted out right. For most companies, launching your own content marketing campaign can be daunting. But with this quick guide that we have put down for you, you will be up and running in no time!

Remember, a content marketing plan is only good if it helps you achieve your goals.

What are the elements that belong in a content marketing plan?

content marketing elements.jpg

Content marketing is the soul of any organization and needs time and attention to detail.

Okay, so what exactly is content strategy?

Simply put, it is the analysis, creation, publication, planning, and management of content and it could refer to any of the above-mentioned elements.

Rock your content strategy with these steps:

rock-rule_large

STEP 1: Define your Objectives

What form of media should you choose? Do an audit of your company to understand where you lie and if there are any changes being made to your company. This will give you an idea of your strategy and what message you need to convey. Would videos, blogs or e-books work? Or will a combination of things?

STEP 2- Define your key content theme

What is the single most thing  your brand needs to be associated with or known for? The key content theme should include the following

  • Your customer profile
  • What do they need or want?
  • How will you solve their issues?
  • What will your positioning be?

This is very important for defining your audience and focusing on their unmet needs

STEP 3: Understand your market

You may say “Of course I know my own market”,  but this is purely to create audience personas. Where are they most active? What are your competitors doing? Who are they reaching? What relationships do you need to start building in the industry in order to reach your customers through your content?

STEP 4: Create a content planning calendar:

Align content development with social media metrics and goals. If you’ve created content before, see what has worked for you. Check it’s performance. Did you get noticed? Shared? Were there any comments?

If you haven’t created content before, create your first batch of content on the main channels you have chosen. Create user generated content and create designs like photos and illustrations to be more engaging.

Create a calendar that works for you but include these too

  • Content type
  • Title
  • Category
  • Keywords to be used
  • Distribution channel
  • Date of publishing
  • Goals ( Ex: 110 shares or 50 likes etc)

Ensure that everyone in your team has access to it and are equally involved in content generation process

STEP 5: Set a launch strategy

You can try your creative ideas on focus groups, or few customers to see how you do. Create content for each of the channels and decide when they will be published.

Our tip is to post 5-8 times a day on Twitter and 1-4 times a day on Facebook to get optimal results. Concentrate on increasing daily updates.

STEP 6: Engage in real interactions

Always be available to your audience in real time and have more meaningful conversations with them.

STEP 7: Make sure your blog is mobile friendly and network in all the right places

STEP 8: Wrap up and measure your success

With the first piece of creative work in the bag and results being gathered, you and your team should now go over all aspects of the content and begin working on the next campaign. Or create fresher, more interesting and diverse content.

rock this

Additionally, We love these tips from Social Media Examiner

  • Show your human side with photos and  your work environment
  • Ask your reader’s questions – generate conversations and get a bird’s eye view of what their lives are like
  • Replicate your brand strategy across all channels
  • Use hashtags- great way to get noticed and participate in active conversations
  • Link your outdoor promotional events with social media

A workable content strategy will help you build, plan and maintain a website easily and effectively.

Get started with these and see how it works for you.

Or give us a ring and we’ll do all the hard work for you!

-Social Pandora

(Images Via- WeSee and Blackhold.nusepeas)