December Industry Trends Report

December 2018 Digital Marketing and Public Relations News

December brings us a number of things – a season of giving and cheer, a wave of cold weather for many, and a final opportunity to accomplish yearly goals. This has also been a month filled with innovations in marketing and as we move into 2019, Proof Strategies is exploring some of the latest industry news that came to the forefront this month.  

Welcome to the Influencer Era: The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a concept that has been dominating the communications space not only this month, but all of 2018. Influencer marketing is when an organization utilizes a relationship with an influential person, or people, to share a story, message or mission. Rather than marketing to a large group of consumers, these influencers drive the brand’s message to a specific and strategic share of the market.  

Influencers do not have to be social media stars with a Kardashian-like following of millions. Influencers, at their core, are people who can affect change within their networks, companies and spheres of influence. Micro and even nano influencers can be incredibly effective, reaching and connecting with niche audiences. Last year a survey found that 84 percent of marketers planned to work with at least one influencer in 2018.

Another study found that 30 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger because of that influencer’s relatability, proving that implementing this strategy presents a great opportunity for return on investment for brands and marketers, alike.

Our recent DC Communicators event explored this trend alongside a panel of industry experts to discuss the importance of identifying influencers to positively impact their brand. More on the trend of influencer marketing can be found in a recent blog post.

Today In: Facebook Provides Community Info with New Feature

Facebook faced no shortage of public-facing challenges this year including a large privacy scandal and an on-going moderation dispute. Despite their issues, the platform remains a leading communication tool for billions of users and made it easier for people to connect to their local communities.

Facebook’s new product, Today In, launched earlier this month and connects people to local news and information in over 400 U.S. cities and its first international market, Australia.

Today In aggregates local news articles and features upcoming events, school announcements, and conversations happening in location-based groups. Research done in testing the feature showed that more than 50 percent of people wanted to see more local information on Facebook that combined both traditional news and community information like bus schedules, road closures and restaurant openings.

With the number of ‘fake’ news stories, Facebook is planning to ensure the content shared on Today In passes through their filters designed to weed out spam, hate speech and other content that goes against the platform’s policies.

LinkedIn Launches ‘Student Voice’ to Engage a Younger Network

LinkedIn, the premier social site for professionals, will be integrating their own version of stories called “Student Voices” into their platform.

Stories, a feature first started by Snapchat allowed users to receive and send short messages, pictures or videos to their friends and fellow users. We’ve seen this concept successfully expand to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

LinkedIn’s version is currently being tested in the U.S. and will allow users to post short videos with the goal of encouraging students to add content that says something unique, interesting and positive to their network and potential employers. Unlike other platforms, Student Voices allows users to only post videos (no photos) that will last seven days versus the typical 24 hours and remain permanently visible on a user’s Recent Activity section of their profile.

LinkedIn product manager Isha Patel told TechCrunch that “it’s a great way for students to build out their profile and have this authentic content that shows who they are and what their academic and professional experiences have been.”

Patel also noted how students utilize their smartphones to capture special moments on video and how Student Voices will help them to connect with one another around shared experiences such as career fairs, class projects and internships.

What could this update potentially mean for the 500 million LinkedIn professionals once it rolls out to larger audiences? Does this new addition also act as a marketing initiative that will appeal to a younger generation? Check out an example Student Voices post here and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

That’s all we have for this month’s Proof Strategies Industry trends! Keep an eye out for next month’s updates and visit our blog for more information.

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