Monthly Archives: November 2013

Social Trends for 2014

It’s clear that social media is here to stay, but many businesses are still slow to adopt a strategy on how to best utilize it for marketing.social-media-trends-for-2011  New social networking platforms continue to appear and the existing ones, like Facebook and Twitter, continue to evolve to keep up with the changing market.  We have analyzed the current trends in social media and have made some predictions for next year so that you can be ahead of the curve.

1. Investment in Social Media is a Necessity

It’s already been clear that your business should have a presence on social media, but in the coming year it’s absolutely necessary.  Integrating social media into your marketing plan is key for generating leads, referrals and brand recognition which in turn leads to higher revenue. Brand awareness, word-of-mouth advertising, improved search rankings, and direct customer interaction are just a few of the key benefits from having engaging social media pages.

google-plus-3602. Google+ is on the Rise

Google+ already has the second highest number of monthly users behind Facebook, and that user base continues to rise.  It’s proving itself to be more than just another social network, with the integration of higher SEO rankings for Google+ pages, improved social signals and a more personalized search experience for users. Also, with the new Google Authorship, You can link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile. Businesses that are having trouble keeping up with multiple social networks at once could turn to Google+ as their main outlet because of all the benefits associated with content search optimization.

3. Image is Everything

We cannot emphasize this enough, but image centric content is key in generating engagement on social media platforms.  Many studies show that users are much more likely to click on posts with images or videos than just text-based content.  Coupling important information with eye-catching images or graphics is a great way to stand out in the news feed, so do it.

4. The Rise of Micro-Videoinstagram-vine

Vine and Instagram have revolutionized real-time video sharing in social media. With a max of 15 seconds for Instagram and 6 seconds for Vine, users can create short pieces on their smartphones to share instantly with their fans. We’ve already talked about the many benefits of using these services for small business marketing, so it’s only fair that more and more companies will be jumping on the video bandwagon.

5. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player

LinkedIn has always been the #1 social networking site for business professionals, boasting nearly 240 million users, but now with the launch of its Influencers program, it will become a source for content creation and curation.  This program allows for selected “thought leaders” to share original content directly with LinkedIn users. Where LinkedIn was already a great source of information, now it will provide insight from some of the best minds in business.

Looking ahead to the future is not easy, but if you keep these trends in mind going forward with your social media plan, you should be ahead of the curve.

 

Using Hashtags

hashtags

In the tide of social media feeds it can be difficult to keep your posts above the waterline.  Thus, the Hashtag was born in 2009 on Twitter as a solution to this problem. The best way to explain a hashtag is a way of grouping information together. Since 2009 many other of the most popular social networking sites have adopted it’s use as well.

The main problem with hashtags is that many people don’t understand them.

To someone new to Twitter, putting the “#” in front of words looks like nonsense, but don’t avoid using them.  Connecting your content with others using the hashtag ensures it’s getting to the audience that is interested.  Use hashtags that are already being used in your industry as well as a few of your own to join in the community of dialog.

Another benefit of using hashtags is connecting your business to people you don’t already know.

You will appear in the stream of the hashtag which can lead to new resources and opportunities.  Relevant posts tracked through hashtags help build your audience and community. They help people sort through the clutter to focus on what they truly care about, so make sure you are giving it to them.

Being consistent with the use of your hashtags and sticking to them increases visibility.  Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t take off right away because exposure takes time.  Reshare other’s content, keeping the original information, hashtags and poster but add your own hashtags as well.  Associating your spin on shared content not only lets people know you are participating in what others post, but you have something to add.

If your hashtag is interesting, it will generate activity. twitter

Participating in live conversations on Twitter, tracked via hashtag, is a great way to get your name and brand out there. Many live events has special hashtags so that event organizers can track what people are saying about it and provide feedback.  Schedule conversations with your audience and enjoy hearing what your fans have to say.

Being afraid of making mistakes on social media should not deter your from experimenting with new ways to generate content.  Hashtags are a simple way to branch out and connect to others, so use them.  Be be aware, there is a fine line between participating and overuse. If done correctly, hashtags could help elevate your brand to a new level.

Standing Out with Unique Content

uniqueUnique is a word that’s thrown around a lot now a days, but I’m not sure it applies to everything that it’s used for. The competition for content marketing in social media is fierce because you not only have to worry about your direct competitors, but also all other marketers. We are gonna go over some tips to help you develop unique content around your brand that should make you stand out from the crowd.

1. Perpetual Content

The very first step in making your content unique, is constantly churning out quality posts multiple times per week (or per day depending on the platform). Competitors can’t really copy you if you are putting out your distinctive content on a regular basis and engaging with your fans.

2. Vary Content Platforms

All marketers re-use content across multiple platforms, but give thought to what you are sharing and why you are using that format. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into always doing the same things with your content.  Some platforms are better suited for visual media than others, so keep that in mind as you are recycling your best bits of information.

3. Surprise People

Always wearing the same thing to work get’s pretty boring, right? The same idea is true for your content. Do things your audience Social-Platformswouldn’t expect from you.  Surprise product giveaway? Awesome! Covering a new topic? Go ahead! Share content from others that is interesting to your fanbase, even if it doesn’t directly relate to your business.  Give people a reason to recommend your pages to friends.

4. Take a Stand and Stay Relevant

Provide useful information to your fan base about changes in your industry and how they might effect business.  Obviously you want to avoid negative positions, but you can be objective about the things that effect your customers directly.  Do a video or blog post on the changing landscape of Facebook or an industry specific source. Your fans will appreciate the insight and information you provide.

5. Keep Tabs on Your SEO

All the work you put into your content will be for nothing if it’s not showing up in search results.  There are many services that help you monitor your SEO, for both your social media pages as well as your website.  Keep up with both to ensure that your content is visible to the world.

Creating interesting, special content for your business shouldn’t be a chore, so approach it with excitement.  You are getting your business name out there.  Make sure what’s associated with you is what you want people to see.  Stay fresh and engaging, and you will have no trouble being a content superstar.

Why?

whySocial media marketing has become a must for business.  Period.

With so many people in the pool, it’s easy for your pages to get lost in the crowd. Making unique, engaging content is not only difficult, but tricky when online reputation means so much. Many business owners find themselves asking “how do I market myself?” or “what do I post and where?”, but these are not the most important questions when it comes to your business.  For marketing purposes, as well as just good business practice, the most important question is “Why?”. Why are you creating content? Why should your audience choose you? Why should they listen? Your “Why” is what makes you special. It is the basic building block of your business and should be the foundation for your social media strategy.  Knowing the higher purpose of your business helps guide decisions and give you focus to your content.

Once you answer your “why?”, the next point should be “how?”

How do you accomplish what you are here to do? How are you different from your competitors? These basic facts can essentially make up your entire social media plan.  Choose the best platforms for your message and tell the world why they should care.  Living your brand’s “why” and “how” ensure’s that not only is your content focused but genuine.  Who you are talking to, your audience, can tell if you are pushing content for the sake of it.  Genuine content develops genuine interest from consumers.

Your company cares about it’s customers and social media is the perfect channel to express that.  You are giving relevant information Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphereand listening to feedback.  Communication matters for your business so make sure you are communicating to the people who are in your niche.

You can’t be all things to all people with your business, so cater to those who are or may be interested in what you do.

Stick to the platforms that are most effective for your market.  Not all brands are suited for Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  Remember to ask yourself “why” when it comes to the channels you choose. Why use Facebook over Google+? What are the advantages of each platform?

Clear-Sense-Of-Purpose

If you dig deep into your brand at the beginning of your social media adventure, you should be able to develop a comprehensive strategy that satisfies your audience as well as yourself.

Don’t be afraid of letting people really get to know your brand and what it stands for.  Above all, be true to yourself.