Phew! The year sure went by fast. New Year is the perfect time to look back into the past and make plans for the future in an effort to make our lives better in the coming year. Although many of us make lofty plans and ‘New Year Resolutions’, it has convinced me that resolutions (made right) can make a huge difference in boosting happiness and productivity level, be it personal or in social media!
Before we jump into our resolutions, here is a quick look at 2012 and 2013!
How 2012 looked for Social Media?
How will 2013 hold for social media?
Whether we believe it or not…social media is here to stay. Social network usage, e-commerce, social television, social CRM as well as social gaming will be the BIG trends in 2013. The info-graphic above demonstrates a shift towards a greater and deeper understanding of social from everybody associated and engaged in digital marketing and social media. Some of these trends have already emerged in 2012 but they will become more prominent and pronounced in 2013.
Social media is fun and everyone is taking time/effort to learn…but we at futurON believe that 2013 is a time to get a little serious – so why not start with some resolutions for the New Year?
Here’s my list that I believe will make social media as effective as possible – feel free to add more!
SOCIAL MEDIA RESOLUTIONS
a) I will understand that social media is about relationships and not broadcasts
This is the first splendid truth! People on virtual social platforms are way smarter than assumed. It is important to have a personal connection or a relationship with the audience; this is the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. Many times huge corporates don’t engage in a discussion or seed a dialogue and in many cases, social media becomes a broadcasting tool with no interaction what so ever. This makes the organization look sales hungry and can put off a customer so very easily! It makes the effort no different from any other mass media broadcasting exercise like television, radio or the newspaper.
Furthermore it is also important to figure out how to create original content, manage content development and link social media plans with business strategies, which will lead to building relationships with the desired audience. Successful brands are building relationships with existing and new clients without making them feel like pawns in the mission to close a sale. With more than 26.7 million ‘LIKES’ Red Bull’s Facebook Page ranks in the top 50 branded pages on the world’s largest social network. The brand’s most popular posts are extreme sports videos and photos – sometimes garnering thousands of re-shares onto the personal Facebook profiles of its fans. Many, but not all of these videos are of Red Bull’s own sponsored athletes. Red Bull relies heavily on its engagement metric to measure success!
b) I will use Google+
Why should I use Google+ is a question often asked by Social Media Gurus and practitioners. Well, Guy Kawasaki Wants You To Love Google+ As Much As He Does is an Interesting read for all of us who have stayed away from Google+.
Google+ usage is on the rise and as of February 2012 and it drew over 40MM unique visitors in December 2011 alone. Google+ is still nascent and it does require more attention than one would give other burgeoning social networks. Here are a bunch of reasons why:
G+ may at first glance seem very similar to Facebook, but it’s not. G+ is the step towards Web 3.0 and semantics. It is intended as a hub for all of Google’s services. For Google it is important to interconnect Search, YouTube, and Newsgroups and make it all integrated with each other to greater extent than ever before and for better user experience.
Google+ posts can be referenced through unique links and shared publicly. There is no need to worry about whether or not someone has a Google+ account. Everyone can view your public content regardless of their Google+ account status.
The analytics are built right into the G+ Design and one doesn’t need foreign tools to measure data and information.
Many businesses have stayed away from Google+. And this means beat a lot of the competitors to the punch if they haven’t got their feet wet as yet! What are you waiting for? Make the leap now!
c) I will take the visual route
Facebook acquiring Instagram and Pinterest hitting the 10 million-visitor mark faster than any other site are a few strong examples of brands going visual, hence I’m embracing visual too!
Read this interesting article why Facebook bought Instagram by the Forbes magazine. Visuals are engaging, easy to consume and are high on emotional quotient. 2013 is the year when we will truly feel the rise of visual marketing. Visuals and video done right are highly effective in cutting through the noise and clutter.
Experts at futurON, like Khusbhu Doshi in her blog, Growing digital trends in 2012, have already explained the advantages of visual. Pictures top the list of things social media users enjoy seeing from their friends and this kind of content resonates with people everywhere and it increases engagement across social nets. Corporates and brands have to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well. They have to participate in different forms of visual social media, whether it is Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. Visual has become one of the top de-facto methods of cataloguing, sorting, filtering and understanding the vast amount of information we see every day. One in four consumers’ reports say that they are spending less time on other social media sites in favor of Pinterest. EdgeRank prefers visual content too. This means that photos get more visibility for your content on Facebook.
Photos have more interaction than statuses, likes, links or shares. Infact, photos often get from 5 to 20 times as much interaction as any other type of Facebook post. A popular mobile and laptop accessory brand has managed to garner a lot interest because they are taking the visual route. Most smart brands will leverage this to the optimum and to stay ahead of the curve.
d) I will monitor my social footprint
How can I define and measure success on Social Media? Do I understand the power of Social currency? Do marketers still grapple with what and how to measure?
We are still in the early days for social; we haven’t discovered a solution to solve the measurement conundrum. But ROI is an important consideration when evaluating social media’s effectiveness as a marketing tool. Also, The advance of social media has added layers of complexity to the engagement challenge. It has given us more areas of engagement to consider, from Likes, tweets, views, comments, shares, reviews to views. This makes it imperative to measure the success of every piece of content shared; be it likes, shares, pins, re-pins, re-tweets and more. It is also important to monitor and respond to what’s being said about one’s brand online. Facebook is the social media platform that CMOs say currently provides the highest ROI. However, 77 % of CMOs plan to increase their investment in YouTube, narrowly beating out Facebook (75 %) as the most popular social media platform of the future. Other popular social media platforms for future investment include Twitter (73 %) and LinkedIn (61 %).
Here are a few metrics that are moving the needle for big brands.
Share of voice – This isn’t a straight-up ROI measurement metric, but it measures how a company is performing relative to its competitors and relative to all communication methods. It also means generating coverage and mindshare, and communicating brand attributes to the primary targets.
Reach – This ” measures the overall “noise level” in the market as well as how effective a specific brand is in reaching its target audience.
Conversations – Conversations put the social in social media. Creating dialogues is important in creating brand affinity and it is imperative to send that good morning message out.
iv) Advocates, evangelists, early adopters, loyal customers, brand champions, influencers, promoters and fans and super fans help one in getting one’s voice heard across the myriad social channels. They are highly passionate about your brand and they help in building conversation. They also help in reducing your support costs and helping in building brand confidence. One can also abstain from tom-tomming about one’s brand.
e) I will integrate Case studies and testimonials on all my social networks
It is largely the emotional connects that makes the consumer. Case studies and testimonials work tremendously because it’s all about people like us. When potential customers check out our business online, they want to see proof that we deliver what we promise. It is evidence that we have happy customers!
iAccy’s ‘Happy Fan Club ‘share pictures of their gifts, here’s a screen-shot.
f) I will plan my social media-marketing budget
Even in today’s challenging economic climate – when companies frequently look to their marketing budgets for cost-saving opportunities – it’s still important to persevere efforts, especially on social networks. One should keep a tab on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) time and again to ensure that it is contributing to the business and is not a dead investment. Reviewing the marketing plan and integrating into it the social media plan into is very important. It is also important to figure out what channels one would be spending money on, map out budgetary considerations for contests and promotions.
When allocating marketing budget to social media, there are a few things that must be factored in
a) Personnel – One must be willing to set aside staff to monitor the company’s profile, respond to comments, and engage with potential customers and build a rapport with them. Social media specialists can make ads for business to disseminate through social media channels.
b) Quality Content — Quality content is the best way to keep your social media presence vital, and, if its good enough, you will get a lot more traffic through positive feedback and incoming links.
c) Analytics – Even if one has a dedicated to monitor social media and top-notch content, all the efforts will be for nothing if one cannot measure the effectiveness of this activity.
Experts say social media spending will be MORE than double in the next five years!
The August 2012 survey finds that social media currently makes up an average of 7.6% of respondents’ total marketing budgets, up from7.4% in February.
g) I will not be on multiple channels if I don’t have the right resources to manage them.
Owning multiple social media channels can be a good idea only if one has the right resources to manage them. Half-baked efforts can do more damage to the brand. Most brands desire to be on multiple social platforms without understanding how these platforms work. Corporates are stressed by the increased demands of customers who want a response wherever and whenever they ask for help, although intentions to provide social customer service are on the right track, many corporates are not structured to handle it in terms of resource allocation, integration, and efficiency. The strategy here is to focus on a couple of relevant channels that suit the brand and to deliver excellent quality, higher satisfaction and targeting the right people.
Fashion, ecommerce and media brands are flocking to Pinterest despite it being a relatively new social platform. The mass market is on Pinterest and it is super easy for fashion and e-commerce brands to jump on and experiment. These brands have images of their products, stores, or commodities being pinned every day. So there is a drag affect. Hence Pinterest can turn your brand red-hot!
h) I will understand the real-time business mindset
The social web has exploded in the last year and Social Media can help you understand what’s happening and respond quickly to any crisis and timing is everything in customer service satisfaction. Social media is about immediacy. Traditionally, customers expect a response within 24 hours, but social media is bringing immediacy to interactions that cannot be ignored.
More and more companies are finding their way to the social web to answer questions of clients and prospects. But many brands forget to offer speed and real value to customers. Speed and around the clock availability will be needed to stand out. If one jilts the members, expect them to leave you in their dust.
In closing, successful social-media management involves production requirements, tools, relevant content, analytics and other aspects of work. We have so much to look forward to in the coming year. I’m already curiously waiting what will 2013 bring for social media marketing and beyond!
Ah well, speaking of personal resolutions, mine are to laugh less hysterically, cut down on my caffeine intake and of course to find my Mr. Right!
Do let us know what your New Year resolutions are for 2013,both social media and personal. You can connect with us on twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook.
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