Gone are the days of marketing to your customers with advertising. Consumers have become very savvy and don’t like having opportunities to buy thrown at them. Things are all about collaboration now. Beginning a conversation with your customers and building a relationship. And social media channels are the perfect place to begin those conversations.

Your business will pay the price if you treat social media as a way to broadcast your sales message to the masses. Instead, take the approach of collaborating with those that buy, use and advocate your products and services. These five trends are where you should begin to get real results from your marketing.

1: The New Product Development Medium

Technology and innovative channels have made it possible for all business ideas to be realised with hard work and dedication. Utilise the crowdsourced brainpower that this technology allows…

Funding: If you have a good idea and a solid plan for turning it to reality, then you can use crowdfunding to see your product realised. With this medium you can raise millions without a massive risk.

Distribution: Multinational sales platforms like Etsy and even Amazon allow you to get your small business in front of a large audience.

Production: Technology advancements mean creating prototypes, self publishing and manufacturing can all be done for a relatively low cost.

2: Continuous Customer Relationships

Your relationship with a customer doesn’t end when they buy from you. In fact, that is just a beginning of an on-going, repeat purchase relationship. Get close to your customers by creating genuine and personalised interactions. This will position you well to target your particular niche market. Do it by remaining in contact with them, providing value and individualising your approach.

3: Information Sharing

In the past, secrecy used to be the way to success. But holding all of your knowledge close to your chest will now turn your customers away. How can you expect your customers to trust you if you don’t give them a reason to? Give away your knowledge freely and without fear. Once your customers realise you are the solution to their problem with all the great information you are providing, they will be reaching for their credit cards.

4: Use Your Brand Advocates

One of the best forms of marketing is a referral. They are like little nuggets of gold because they automatically give that consumer a reason to buy from you. In this digital world, people live their lives through social media. They love to share their experiences, the products they have used and what they love about them.

If you can get people raving about your products online, then they will effectively be advertising your business for free. So instead of wasting your time and money on mass advertising campaigns, cultivate relationships with your existing customers instead.

5: Focus On Quality Over Quantity

There is no use in thousands of people seeing your advertisement if none of them click through to the offer. Which is why focusing on the impressions instead of the conversions is a mistake.

To ensure the effectiveness of any campaign, you need to analyse what your customers are engaging with and responding to. If something is not working, then it is time to change it up. Test your campaigns to see if a simple tweak of copy, or an image could make all the difference.

Collaborative marketing is about removing the barriers between a business and its consumers. It is about improving your products, messages and approach by communicating with your customers. They will then form a strong bond with your brand and drive you forward to success.