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10 Digital Developments Businesses Can Experiment and Get Ahead With

In the time it’s taken you to read this sentence over 40,000 Google Searches have taken place.

By the end of this sentence eight new people will have joined Facebook, adding to their colossal 1.86 billion monthly active users. To put that in perspective, Facebook is bigger than the populations of China, India, and the US.

If I’ve still got your attention (because most people online have less than a 4 second attention span), then over 340,000 tweets will have been sent on Twitter.

It’s no wonder creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, said in an interview with The Guardian earlier this year “People can pick things up on the internet very quickly but they can also drop them very quickly”. For companies looking to manage their online reputation, drive their sales of products and services, or simply trying to be noticed for the first time, the internet provides a number of challenges and opportunities.

There is no better place to explore online possibilities than the biannual BrightonSEO conference. With 4,500+ delegates, 7 different stages, and talks taking place non-stop throughout the day, BrightonSEO is probably more comparable with a music festival than your traditional business event. It offers unrivalled insight into how the best digital teams and freelancers theoretically and practically approach online challenges, with candid explanations.

That is why it’s important for Lansons to join in with the discussions at BrightonSEO, to ensure our knowledge of the continually evolving and frequently disruptive digital industry aligns with our promise of helping businesses communicate more effectively with customers, investors, employees and regulators.

Among the 20+ hours of talks we attended, there are some key developments taking place in our industry that every business has a chance to experiment and get ahead of their competitors with. Here are 10 digital opportunities snippets of fact and insight that may shape your communication plans this year:

1. There was a 140% increase in people using Voice Assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, from 2015 to 2016. It’s expected that in 2020 50% of searches will be voice searches. So when you’re creating content about your brand, consider how people may be able to find it as a result of a voice search.

2. Google is more than a series of blue links. Today we’re presented with star ratings, information boxes, answer boxes – all of this is about using rich snippets online, providing information to people before they’ve even clicked through on a link. Are you top rated on Google yet?

3. People are searching with more than just words and voice, but are now using image recognition. For example, the launch of Pinterest Lens means people can find likeminded products through taking a picture with their camera. Will your product appear in the next search?

4. Alongside working with traditional media outlets, it’s always worth considering how you’re going to use bloggers. As with journalists, it’s about building relationships with the key people, which means understanding what makes them tick. Always keep any emails short and don’t be afraid to tell them what you would like.

5. If you’re using social media already, then have an awareness of what your company purpose is and how your content could help your audience. With the amount of social media updates that take place each second, it’s easy to not get noticed and fall into the trap of providing updates without value.

6. If you think Facebook is just a consumer channel, then it’s time to reconsider your stance. With 32.5 million Facebook users in the UK, representing 55% of the internet-connected population, all companies can use the social network to support business.

7. There are dedicated teams at top FTSE companies who are proactively working towards getting their products and services listed more prominently in Google. This may sound obvious, but there are still plenty of companies that are slow to invest in these areas.

8. It’s impossible to not mention Virtual Reality when discussing upcoming digital opportunities, but VR is becoming mainstream. Developments, such as those being driven by the gaming industry, means that VR could become mainstream by the end of this year/start of 2018.

9. Using paid-for social media is a low-cost opportunity for targeting specific demographic groups and audience interests. Coupled with the right content, paid-for activities should be standard practice of any online campaign. It’s worth trying if you haven’t already.

10. The digital industry is fast paced, with Google making constant updates and conversations on social media continually taking place, only a dedicated public relations programme will keep brand awareness top of mind. Of course, I would say this because this is a blog post for Lansons! But it’s true.   

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far through the article. If you think Lansons may be able to help your digital efforts or if you have any questions, get in touch.

Whilst you’ve been reading 150,000 emails have been sent, 500 hours’ worth of video has been uploaded to YouTube, and 1,440 WordPress blog posts published.