There are some recent trends in marketing that look good at first.

But like leftover fish stew they start to stink after a while.

This year was full of interesting new trends that really took off. Voice search is changing how we optimize SEO. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are helping us aid and interact with customers. And creative video content continues to educate, engage, and entertain audiences—81 percent of businesses have used video as part of their marketing this year.

Then there are these trends we’re just sick and tired of. Perhaps you’ve used them (in which case, no hard feelings). Or perhaps not (in which case, thanks). Either way, our fingers are crossed these recent marketing trends miss the trip to 2019:

1. Not Thinking Through Social Activism in Your Branding and Messaging

Don’t get us wrong: Social causes are great. We all want the world to be a better place. But carefully consider every angle and outcome before you give the okay to a politically-charged marketing campaign that your brand may have little to do with. You may think you’re doing a noble service, but your good intentions won’t matter if it all backfires.

If you’re really going to go forward with something that’s going to turn heads, have multiple people from multiple departments proofread the copy, emails, subject lines, and images to avoid any possible outrage. Also consider one of the reasons why a diverse workplace is so important – you can get various perspectives that can red flag any problematic content before it goes out the door. Imagine that.  

Remember: For every inspirational Nike campaign, there’s a tone-deaf burger joint yukking it up about workplace harassment at the worst possible time. Read the room.  

2. Wasting Dollars on Influencers

Did you hire a major Instagram celebrity influencer for your next marketing campaign? That’s too bad because according to this article from The Drum, chances are high you’re wasting your budget, effort, resources, and time on fake engagements.

Fake engagements? That’s right. Influencers, those movers and shakers with perfectly-worded Tweets and immaculately-lit Instagram selfies, are stuffing their enormous follower counts with fakes—bots, dummy accounts, falsies, whatever you want to call them—they’re not real. According to the same article, as many as 15 percent of Twitter users are fake, and a startling 60 million Facebook accounts are bots. That means that up to a whopping 40 percent of social engagements from an influencer could be absolutely useless.

How do you account for the fake accounts and real ones? Basically, you can’t. So, please, let’s stop spending up to 75,000 Pounds on social media mentions. It’s not even worth it—only 36 percent of marketers said in a survey that their influencer marketing efforts were effective, and 19 percent were brave enough to admit they wasted cash. In short, we all fell for a ruse, folks.

If you want to step up your social game, concentrate on starting conversations with the actual influencers in your niche. They may not have 10 million followers, but they’re the ones with actual knowledge of the industry, so they’re who really matter. Share engaging content with them, start discussions with them, you’ll automatically increase visibility and retain customers without handing over tenners (or hundred-thousanders) to the Jenners.

3. Not Monitoring Social Discussions (or Using Memes Correctly)

We see it repeatedly. Customer questions go unanswered on Facebook or Twitter threads. Frustration mounts. Nothing gets solved. If you want to lose goodwill and trust, ignoring your audience queries is a great way to do that. But if you want to look like the most knowledgeable, trustworthy brand with its finger on the pulse of the community, respond to as many questions and mentions as you can. You’ll learn of new pain points, figure out the topics that matter most to people, and produce new ideas for your content creation team.

However, if those new ideas involve memes—then think twice.  

Brands love to stick their noses where they don’t belong, especially when it comes to pop culture references and popular, shareable meme content. We wish they’d just stop altogether and focus on creating original, thought-provoking content. But we know the power of memes, so, do your due diligence and make absolutely sure you get the joke or understand the format or you could end up the punchline yourself.

4. Pop-up Ads

Not very recent – the opposite, really. But we still see these “pop-up” at a surprising number of brand websites. You still don’t do this, do you? Please! Stop. They’re bad, and they’ve always been bad. They slow down load times, make you look sloppy, and annoy the hell out of everybody.

And not only are ad blockers eating your lunch over this intrusive nonsense anyway, Google is starting to actively punish sites that still use “abusive practices” such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, and notifications that bother website visitors. The Chrome 71 update, which has already rolled out to many users, is about to bring the hammer down on this dying trend for good.

Instead, create natural, useful content that fits your brand. Create videos with interesting, eye-catching thumbnails that are creative, funny, and to-the-point. Answer questions your customers have with helpful, thoughtful content – never antagonize them.

Want to know more about trends in content marketing? Curious what to look forward to in 2019? Stick around for some imminent updates.

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