Out with the old and in the new! As we cruise into a new year, it’s time for reflections and predictions about where digital marketing is headed. We asked a few housing industry marketing pros what strategies they’re focusing on in 2024 — and which ones they’re leaving behind in 2023.
Throughout 2023, we saw one strong theme emerge from brands’ social strategies: authenticity. Consumers want to know what makes your business stand out, what you stand for, and what benefits there are to working with or purchasing from you.
Nicole Anderson, director of social media at Nor-Son Custom Builders, emphasizes the importance of treating audiences like friends. “2024 is all about connection and creating a virtual relationship between you and your audience by being real and authentic.”
Lindsey Wojski, brand and design manager for Style & Structure and founder of Sloane House Branding, urges companies to stay consistent with messaging and align branding with their personality. “Know your origin story and founding principles to remind audiences of the unique vision that kickstarted your business.” On top of that, highlight the qualities that set you apart from the competition.
OUT: Ad-Heavy Content
So where should your focus not be? Let’s be honest, there are noticeable content trends that may be dating your brand or rendering it ineffective. “When it comes to social media strategy, it’s high time for professionals to move beyond using their platforms as bulletin boards,” says Nataliya Becerra, marketing specialist with Sustainable 9 Design + Build.
Enough with the overly designed, graphic announcements about your latest product or project. Anything with text, a logo, or stock imagery will scream “ad” to your audience and they will scroll right past your post.
IN: AI Tools
Also of note: artificial intelligence is here to stay and evolving every day. Sarah Hinderman,
social media manager with Housing First Minnesota, uses AI weekly for content support. “Chat GPT offers a great launching pad for writing content or a fresh perspective when brainstorming outlines.” Just be cautious of copying content word-for-word — these AI robots need quite a bit of help when it comes to grammar, accuracy, and personality.
OUT: Excessive Influencing
Consumers are sick of paid ads hitting them left and right. The concept of ‘de-influencing’ has emerged with accelerating traction in 2023. “It’s a creator coming onto a platform and talking about products and/or a company from a real unpaid point of view,” Anderson explains, “Viewers are captivated by this ‘de-influencing’ movement because it has no ulterior motive compared to social media’s plethora of click-bait material.” Instead, we’re seeing a rise of organic collaborations from real, paying customers. Not famous content creators marketers find while scrolling on the apps.
IN: Short-Form Video
Video content is hot — especially short-form, casual clips. Consumers want to experience the personality of your brand. “High quality videos that grab the viewer’s attention is what social media is all about this year and for the foreseeable future,” states Anderson.
Instead of highly-edited, professional-grade videos, brands are posting silly, informal, iPhone-edited shorts that feel more like an organic piece of content, rather than an ad. “We’re consistently treated to behind-the-scenes footage, individuals embracing amusing TikTok trends, and experimenting with diverse formats to deliver audiences unique insights about their business,” shares Beccerra. Show your audience why your business is relevant to their otherwise fun- and friend-focused feeds.
OUT: Ineffective Newsletters
While more traditional forms of digital marketing — newsletters, landing pages, YouTube videos, etc.—may have taken a back seat to trending social media platforms, these tools can still be effective when a fresh approach is taken. “The key to updating newsletters is to make them more dynamic and integrated,” says Wojski. “This drives more relevance, enjoyment, and conversions.” Here are a few of her tips:
- Curate content from your blog, social posts, videos, etc. into a weekly or monthly digest. This conveniently condenses your best content.
- Embed interactive images, quizzes, and surveys to make it conversational. Get readers actively participating.
- Share themed content bundles around topics clients care about. Add value by tying information together.
- Include links to drive traffic to key landing pages, promotions, and appointments on your site. Newsletters can increase conversions.
- Personalize subject lines and content to match subscriber interests gleaned from past engagement. Tailored > generic.
- Enable click-throughs to your e-commerce shop, contact forms, or support channels. Offer clear next steps.
- Provide multimedia experience mixing text, visuals, and audio for richer storytelling.
IN: Human Voices
In our oversaturated digital world, consumers are bombarded with thousands of brands to consider working with or purchasing from. Make your voice stand out by understanding your target audience as humans and morphing your overly professional brand into something more meaningful.
“The key is balance,” shares Wojski. “Highlight achievements without boasting, discuss struggles without scaring people away, share just enough behind-the-scenes access to be candid but not overbearing, address the ugly with care and responsibility.” Being thoughtful, yet strategic helps to humanize your business and engage your audience.
OUT: Old Marketing Habits
An essential step to effective digital marketing strategies is constantly catching up to speed on best practices. Hinderman offers these prompts as a way to get started:
- What new features have apps launched with their latest update?
- What content is trending on each platform?
- What content does the algorithm favor?
- Which posts are the highest-performing?
- What off-app strategies positively influence social content?
“Staying ahead means doing research: reading articles, watching videos, and tweaking strategies,” Beccerra urges. Find seminars and retreats near you, follow subject-matter experts, and seek out learning opportunities to stay up-to-date.
IN: Seeking Fresh Inspiration
When marketing and social teams are often tasked with never-ending creative tasks, it can be exhausting trying to come up with original and mind-blowing content to share daily. That’s typically where the writer’s block or creative fatigue comes in.
To seek inspiration from others, Beccerra sets a goal to read articles daily, scroll through industry-related newsletters, and see what competitors are doing. Simply immersing yourself in the daily social media scene is one of the best ways to remain in touch with trends and consumer preferences.
Creating content buckets helps Wojski organize new ideas and identify gaps in less-covered content. “Categorizing helps ensure you cover all the bases to engage your audience while allowing flexibility to evolve,” she shares.
To sum it all up: Don’t be afraid to scour the internet for examples, revamp strategies for changing algorithms, refresh old content when you run out of new ideas, and lean on digital tools to help get the job done.