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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Demystifying Content Curation

content curation(Image by WeSEE)

 Hello,

Well it’s Monday (Again!)  and we’re bringing you a new post for your day. It’s part of the strategy series of posts we’re doing to help you get started with your campaign and hopefully douse any concerns you may have or to answer your  any queries relating to content.

In this post we will cover:

  1. What is Content Curation
  2. Content Curation tips to add to your marketing mix
  3. Content Curation Step by Step
  4. Content Curation tools to get your content to spread like wildfire!

content(Image by WeSEE)

 Now that you’ve got your pages up and running, it’s time to put some great content out there for your readers!

 

Content Curation:  Differing from a museum curator, content curation is the art and science of finding good content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way, centralized around a specific theme or topic.

Why Curate?

Content Curation can help build your audience. A content curator will spend hours sifting through, sorting, arranging, researching and publishing information. He will choose the best content that is relevant and informative and share it with the community.

 

Curation can help you build authority, gain trust, build loyal followers if you curate relevant news and information.

who is a content curator

 (Image by WeSEE)

 The content can come from various sources like blogs, articles, videos, photos, infographics, podcasts etc.

How to use content curation:

  • Always ensure that credit is given wherever necessary like the sources from where your content is
  • Avoid using only curated content alone but rather a healthy mix of both curated and original content
  • Use a good mix of automated tools as well as human interactions.

This graphic from SocialBites explains it beautifully,

 

content-curation-process

 (IMAGE BY SocialBites)

Content Curation Strategies to Add Value to Your Marketing Mix:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Pick topics that focuses on your audience’s interests
  3. Ensure that the content quality is impeccable and used to inform, engage or entertain readers
  4. Share on a consistent level
  5. Never use the same heading as the original piece of content
  6. Add your own commentary to it.  It will help you differentiate your content and promote your own thoughts on the subject. If you give an explanation as to why it is relevant or why it caught your attention, it might inspire others to read it too.
  7. Link back to the source
  8. Use different kinds of media to tell your story

content curation step by step

 (IMAGE BY BethKanter)

 

We also like this post published by Pawan Deshpande on using six different approaches for content curation;

Is it Abstracting? Quoting? Summarizing? Take a look here

Six Approaches to content marketing

Where Exactly Do We Get Content from?

content curation sources(IMAGE BY WeSEE)

 Blogs like WordPress allows you to search current topics and see what others are blogging about on Reader.

Tweetdeck can perform automated searches for keywords and hashtags, giving you instant access to articles that are currently trending.

Paper.li is a twitter creation tool to publish an online newspaper. You can find interesting content, share them with your followers and promote photos, videos all across the web.

Google+ for its rich keyword search capabilities, simply type a query into the search bar and filter your results by’ Best’ posts or by ‘ Recent Posts’

Pinterest for sorting, organizing rich visual images and for maintaining content.

Why do you need content curation tools:

  1. Because coming up with content on a continual basis is challenging and having a tool makes it easier and more consistent
  2. It helps you track your results
  3. Organize your content
  4. Promote content

Some tools we like are:

1.Zemanta Content Creation while you blog

2.  Flipboard– Social magazine that lets you share great content

3. Bundlr– Bundle and share content

4. Storify– Add and curate content from any public webpage

5. Scoop.it Turn your content creation into a magazine

6. Bag The Web Curate Web content, Create a bag to collect, publish and share

Also check out this post by WECAI for more great content curation tools.

http://wecai.org/5895/99-resources-content-curation-software

Social Media Today , in one of their content curation articles mentioned VerticalMeasures President Arnie Kuen who recommends what he calls the rule of thirds for integrating content curation in your own social media posts:

  • ⅓ of Your Time is Promoting Original Content
  • ⅓ of Your Time is Sharing Content Curation
  • ⅓ of Your Time is Engagement and Dialogue

We think it’s a fantastic way for managing time and creating great content.

Are you using content curation as part of your strategy? Or will you be giving it a shot after reading this post?

Let us know which tools you like best!

Curate! Curate! Curate!

 

-Social Pandora

Creating a Social Media Strategy the hassle-free way

word-strategy-22061925

 Although a lot of companies embrace Social Media as part of their marketing plan, there are a fair few of those who are confused or overwhelmed with Social Media and how to use it.  Reactions vary from “ I already have a lot of customers who are regulars, I don’t need social media to bring me more” or “I don’t know how to use social media, so I don’t do anything”  to “ I don’t think social media can do anything for my job” and the plain and simple” I don’t have time for social media”

Sound a little familiar? That’s all right; you’re not alone. It’s really about understanding how social media works and what it can do for your business. With social media, you can enhance your relationships, build new ones, expand your brand and even understand what your brand needs to improve upon. Today, people the world over look to search engines to find companies, read reviews, check on competitors, look up business partners etc. So if you’re not available to them on social media and the web, they might miss out on what you have to offer.

Once you have established the need for using social media in your business, the next bit is to have a social media strategy in place. If you’re a company already using social media but have the issues of not being engaging enough, you may not achieve the goals you’ve written out for yourself.

Here are 10 easy steps to crafting out a strategy for your company and how to start a campaign.

smart-phone-social-media-icons-19658510

 STEP 1: OBJECTIVE SETTING

What are your objectives for your company? Establish a clear, focused vision. It could be to grow your brand, attract new customers, or just to engage with your customers and fans.

Next is to make it measurable. So let’s say you want 50 new customers or leads in the next two months. It is more measurable and clearer than saying that you want 50 new leads.

STEP 2: SITUATION ANALYSIS

Who is your audience? Who are the people you want to engage with on social media?

In order to do that, consider asking yourself these questions;

  • Where does my target audience engage? Is it Facebook? Twitter? Blogs? Or forums?
  • Do they just read and leave or do they share, and actively participate?
  • What do I know about them? Their demographics, psycho-graphics, their interests?

STEP 3:  TOP PRIORITIES AND IMMEDIATE GOALS

What are the immediate goals that your company has? What do you want your business to be known for?

What do your customers like about your brand? What do they feel you lack?

Are you having any other marketing or promotional events lined up in the near future?

If so, just  link them with social media to promote it even more.

The answers to these questions will give you content for your brand.

 STEP 4: RESOURCE ALLOCATION FOR YOUR GOAL

Write down what resources you need to achieve your goal. They could be the following too

–       Internal resources and skills needed

–       External agencies you may partner with

–       Responsibilities and structures

–       Processes where possible

–       Social media policy or guidelines

STEP 5: CONTENT PLAN

hand-drawing-content-flow-chart-transparent-wipe-board-30045870

Answering questions to steps 2 and 3 will give you the basic content needed to get you started. With Digital, remember that the’ Devil is in the details’. So start slowly, create content for a week, then a month and work your way up. Remember to post content that is engaging and informative.

STEP 6:  PUBLISH AND PROMOTE ON THE SOCIAL NETWORKS WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS

–       Create a presence on all the major social media platforms

–       Ensure that the company name is the same across all the main profiles

STEP 7: LISTEN AND COMPARE

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Although it is relatively simple, it is most often ignored. When you ‘Listen’ you’ll know what your customers are saying about you and what your competitors are doing. It’s great to know where and how you should be active on social media.

 STEP 8:  REMAIN HUMAN AND APPROACHABLE

How will you post content, engage with your audience, promote you brand while still being human and approachable?

Social Media is about people, not logos’

STEP 9: MEASURE AND MONITOR YOUR RESULTS

Set up everything you need to measure results. These metrics will be based on the business objectives you have defined.

What is your social media call to action? How do you make your audience respond to your social media activities?

STEP 10: MODIFY AND REPEAT

But, don’t forget these!

–       Be consistent with content

–       Be original

–       Be focused

–       Have a website link

–       Use e-mails

–       Maintain a personal blog- it makes the company more human and tangible

Lastly, make your employees your advocates. Including them in the social media brand building will not only build brand loyalty among them but also foster greater employee advocates.

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Follow these simple steps and see how social media starts working for you!

(Images via- Dreamstime)