Social media is no longer the “new big thing” or a “fad” it is growing up fast from a teenager to a young adult who has gone out and got a job. When I first embraced Facebook and Twitter five or six years ago it was fun and truly social. Social media didn’t have a past, just an exciting future, it was not taken seriously by the city or big business and automation was seen as bad practise.
Today, the big technology firms, IBM, Apple etc have acquired start-ups, built and have introduced enterprise class social media marketing platforms. Facebook and Twitter have become public companies and social startups are no longer dreams or playthings of bedroom programmers. It’s all grown up and has now become serious business.
So what does all this mean?
It means many things and will impact in various ways with differing levels of intensity across business. It will absolutely affect your planning, time allocation, resource and will impact the culture you are instilling. The landscape is still changing and you will need to embrace it, continue to work with it or (if you haven’t done so already) get started! The historic ways of print and mass media publishing have been challenged, everything has to be more accountable and measurable and social media maturity means implementing processes into daily routines. I know it sounds a bit boring, but it will just have to be done, or outsourced if you don’t have the time or resources.
So, lets have a look at my social media marketing tips and trends for the coming year:
1) Pay Up!
Facebook likes were the start and the finish of Facebook marketing. Get lots of likes and you could reach a big crowd. Facebook becoming public means the shareholders want a return. That means that free reach is diminishing and becoming really hard. To make an impact and get results you will have to set a budget and pay for it.
Twitter ran ads like Facebook in the USA as a test and is now rolling it out into the UK and Pinterest’s first paid promoted pins went live at the end of last year. To go viral, you will either have to be really creative (and a little bit lucky) or pay for it.
2) Plan and stick to it.
It is not good enough to say that you do social media marketing because you have a Facebook and Twitter page. The increasing complexity means you need a strategic social media marketing plan. This means defining your goals, audience and allocating a budget and appropriate resources. 2014 is now the time to write a social media strategy.
3) A Good Strategy Will Enable you to “Out Publish” the Publishers.
Social media has given us the power and the ability to engage with world reaching networks, in effect, for us all to become publishers. Innovative and creative businesses have realised that social media and content publishing are in synergy. If you create multimedia content and share it on social networks you will start global conversations. Brands such as Red Bull and Coca Cola are becoming media companies and publishers with hugely powerful results. Red Bull even has its own media company with nearly 150 employees. Blogging is being left behind and Content is now king. Mass media is struggling to compete with social content which is spread by the crowd and goes viral. The latest stats show that 99% of brand conversations on YouTube are created by fans and followers. Crowd driven marketing is now the norm.
4) You Have to Be Visual and mobile
Visual social content is now a powerful contender in social media marketing amplified by the following factors:
- Smart phones and tablets are maximising market penetration.
- High speed wireless networks (4G) are the norm and becoming necessary
- The decreasing cost of mobile data means uploads and downloads are affordable.
- The sharp emergence of visual media social networks such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram.
5) To Become Social and Mobile is an Absolute Must
The rise of smartphones and tablets means that ensuring your social content is optimised for mobile is essential and includes:
- Ensure your blog is responsive and can be easily viewed on mobile devices.
- Ensure images and video can easily be viewed on smart phones and tablets
12 months ago it was important, now, without it, you will fall behind the competition.
Automation used to be frowned upon by social media purists social but you now don’t have a choice in the matter. Check out startup Sprinklr who are helping brands do social and digital marketing efficiently. There also free platforms such a Hootsuite who I personally use, they provide a great portal to manage all your social media accounts in one place.
7) Social Media You Can Wear is Here!
I am so excited by the arrival of Google Glass and it is promising to do social and commerce with your eyes! 2014 will see technology you can wear that takes the social away from your mobile and laptop and onto your face. Trust me, this will be big but I do wonder how quickly it will be accepted and taken up by the masses and also where the angle will be for Social Media Marketers to get involved with this emerging tech.
8) Use Google+
Google plus does not need to make money as it helps feed Google Adwords. The more Companies and brands become fed up with Facebook and Twitter’s trends of monetizing to appease shareholders the more it could play into Google’s hands. It already has 500,000,000 users and rapidly growing. It has become vital in SEO and moving content across the web. Google+ quite simply cannot be ignored.
As always, these are just my views and I am happy to discuss any of these at any time or during one of my monthly IT / Marketing Workshops which I would urge you to attend.
All the best for 2014