Social media is one of the most powerful platforms available for marketers. From Facebook and Twitter, to Pinterest and Instagram, the ever-expanding amount of social media platforms represents a growing number of opportunities for businesses to interact with their customers, who are spending more and more time using these outlets. Many companies have a corporate Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog. But it takes more than that for companies to gain strategic business value from the most important social conversations happening about their brand, product, competitors and industry. It also requires changing their business processes to be that much more effective as a result.
Top 10 challenges marketers face in Social Media Marketing
Social media usage is set to rise everywhere over the next couple of years but growth will continue to be far higher in emerging markets, as Internet penetration and more sophisticated forms of online engagement continue to catch up with those in more established markets. Many commentators have marked 2015 as the year when mobile search and online activity will overtake overall static usage worldwide. For social media the tipping point might arrive sooner than that.
The competitiveness in the Social media has resulted in technological developments like more features for the small players like Pinterest, Instagram etc. With Pinterest expanding its features for businesses, Instagram launching a Web version and Facebook continually expanding its advertising options, now is as good a time as ever to boost your social media presence for the future.
Before doing so, it's important to understand the data behind each social channel to gain insights into what works and what doesn't with your audience. Here are some latest trending key points to be kept in mind while designing your social media strategy.
1. Mobile first
The mobile usage is growing every day and it’s essential to optimize the content you share with your target audience. 90 percent of social media users use multiple screens sequentially, meaning that your content not only should be adapted to smart phones and computer screens, but also tablets and TV. Brands are placing mobile at the heart of their retail experience to deliver an experience that enhances engagement, deepens the relationship with the brand and increases loyalty. Mobile must be at the middle of the brand experience, not on the periphery.
2. Converged media
The merging of paid, owned, and earned media provides the opportunity to grow earned media organically. It’s the combined impressions that will create your strength. All content you share are your advertising – and it doesn’t have to look like editorial content to be advertising. Promote high performing content, that’s relevant and in the right context, with paid media such as Sponsored Page Stories, to reach as many people as possible. Sponsored Posts and Promoted Tweets give brands the power to boost high-performing content so that it can drive more engagement with the community.
3. Amplifying sourced content
Some of the best visual content and most compelling stories about a company and its products come from fans and enthusiasts who are sharing great stories about the brand each and every day. Using fan generated content work as peer-to-peer recommendations, which probably are the strongest source for marketing you’ll ever get. User generated content brings transparency to the brand and shows consumer appreciation.
4. Visual storytelling comes into focus
Visual stimuli have a strong effect on humans, also compared to other kinds of stimuli such as reading or listening. Visual content get 5 times higher engagement on Facebook and technology has made it easier to take part in visual storytelling with online communities. 300 million photos are posted to Facebook every day. 5 billion photos have been shared on Instagram. Visual sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest have surged in interest, with 23 million unique visitors per month. Consumers aren’t just visiting visual sites, they are interacting more with visual content. According to Simply Measured, fast-growing team of data geeks dedicated to making the world of analytics, visual content generates 5x more engagement than non-visual content on Facebook. This year, we’ll see an increase in video sharing and social networks such as Vine fueling the trend.
5. Show Up and Show Out. Be somebody important
This is the shortest simplest advice possible. “Yourself” is a role that you should play for your family and friends in your personal relationships. The role you need to play here is “somebody important.” What’s needed most is the interesting and knowledgeable version of yourself. The goal is to emphasize your expertise and professional experience in order to position yourself as someone important. In simple words words. ‘Stand out in the crowd’, this is what is going to help you in long run.
6. Get Tribal
The latest trend in social media for business in 2013 is the idea of tribes. The first step is to identify the tribe leaders, gate keepers, decision makers, and thought leader in your industry. Follow all of them. The goal here is to position yourself as one of their peers in the eyes of your clients. How to connect with key players in any industry: Get involved with the discussions on their blogs. Only post comments that add value and will stand out. If you are an expert on these topics start writing about them on your blog and share the articles on social media. In the meanwhile watch and learn the leaders will literately show you how its done.
7. Plan your move first, then strike
The easiest way to know the future is to plan. Even though it’s December imagine if you planned to strike in late February with a product launch? Planning is the latest trend for 2013 and is very important but too much planning can lead to paralysis. As they say,“study long study wrong”. Stay focused on results, don’t get so consumed by planning that you forget about taking action. Before launching the social media strategy, have a well laid plan on how to approach each platform differently.
8. Intelligently choose the platform that suits your business
We have seen many clients jump into social media simply because it’s the need of the hour and their competitor has social media presence. Statistics prove that 56% of customer tweets are being ignored. This happens mainly because you have not chosen your platform carefully or designed the content to match the audience. We should understand each channel, whether it be facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest had audience with different taste and our responsibility is to cater the client requirements. For Eg. If your business is a B2C one, then Channels like Facebook, Pinterest and even for that matter Twitter can help you. But if yours is a B2B or a more professional service, then LinkedIn is the best one to choose with.
9. Being Transparent
Transparency is about being open and honest about running your business. What you do and what you post will directly reflect on your business. Being transparent doesn’t mean sharing every detail of your business with your audience but it does involve the following: Owning up to your mistakes: The benefit of acknowledging your mistakes online is that it them becomes a great opportunity to be clear about what you're going to do to fix them. Responding publicly to customer complaints, concerns and questions: Social media allows you to have a closer, more intimate relationship with your audience. It allows you to address any questions and concerns about your business, both good and bad. Responding to all the comments helps to create a level of trust between you and your customers. Be honest about who you are: Putting a face to your social media identity will also help build a level of trust between you and your clients. It doesn’t really matter who’s in charge, just as long as you put a face behind your posts or tweets.
If you use social media just to post links to your blog or website, you aren’t going to gain much. It’s essential to provide a name, a persona, a human being in all your social media marketing and campaign efforts. Don’t go out there with just your website or brand; be there as a person.
Share links, post videos and photos, interact with communities, comment on other people’s statuses. Do what a person does naturally on social media. The level of interaction between individuals is enormous on social media websites like Twitter and Google+. People will more readily interact with profiles that feature people on them than the ones that are only brands. And people trust other people much more than brand names, even when both operate the same way.
Looking at the trends of social media marketing from why marketers like social media as a part of their marketing, the top social media channels they like to utilize for their marketing efforts, and how they are planning to use social media marketing in the future is helpful for my business, for clients and to know where the potential customers are at.