21 social media marketing predictions for 2013
Trying to get a handle on your 2013 social media marketing strategy? Good luck with that! In the meantime, why not see what 21 heavy hitters have to say about social media marketing in the coming year? And while you're at it, you can also check out their 2012 predictions to see how they did last year. Here are three predictions to get you started:
John Haydon - New business tools from Facebook: a premium version of Facebook Pages is on the way, with more analytical tools, better integration with e-commerce, and help with content creation and curation or Page managers.
Anita Campbell - Google+ will be the place to be: Google is making the use of Google+ mandatory for people who need to manage their local business's presence in the Google ecosystem.
Michael Stelzner - The number of podcasters will double: with the tremendous growth in mobile Internet use, the demand for fresh audio content can only continue to expand. Podcasts are a great source for on-demand talk and offer web marketers opportunities both as content creators and as sponsors.
What works and what doesn't in social media
Here's a collection of research about social media effectiveness. First of all, people spend more time on social media sites than anywhere else on the web. This is true across both desktop and mobile Internet use. Second, social media advertising doesn't seem to work. People just aren't there to read ads (but see the item below about Facebook community development). Third, while social media definitely influences sales, it's hard to measure return on investment directly. Much of the effect comes from interactions between people who are engaged with the brand, rather than from their direct interactions with the brand itself. Fourth, social media requires ongoing customer care. People who interact with a brand expect to be heard and answered. You can't "set it and forget it'' - and putting the responsibility for community management on a third party or a junior person without authority is risky.
Facebook: how to increase the value of your community
There are two steps to business success with Facebook: 1) grow your community, and 2) engage your community. For the first step, there are several ways to acquire new Fans for your page. Offers works for people who may be interested in your brand; making them an offer is a great way to get their attention. Have a cause you're interested in? Promoting it on Facebook is a powerful way to attract the attention of people who share your interest and concern. A custom landing page ("content gateway") that requires people attracted to your content to click the Like button before they get to the good stuff you've created on your Page is a great way to increase Fan numbers. Finally, any of the various types of Facebook Ads can be a source of new community members. In fact, getting Likes for your Pages and Posts is often a more effective advertising strategy on Facebook than product advertising, and it pays off in Fans who will keep seeing your new content in the future. Once you have the community, you need to engage them. Supplying fresh, lively content to keep them engaged with more Likes and Shares, allows your content to spread out into their communities. More specific ways to supply engaging content (topical, visual, expressive, and target-specific) are available here.
Take a look at Tumblr
Fast-growing microblogging platform Tumblr scored 167 million visitors and nearly 18 billion page views in December 2012. Quirky, photo-rich, anarchic, and varied, Tumblr has become a surprise hit in the past year. It ranked 11th for traffic in December, according to Quantcast. For businesses considering or already using a content-centered strategy, it's worth a look. Besides the large and growing traffic they're attracting, here are some other things to consider. Tumblr has started an advertising platform to compete with Facebook's Sponsored Stories and Twitter's Promoted Tweets, but there's not much data on its effectiveness yet. The biggest demographic groups for Tumblr are ages 25 to 34 (29%), followed by ages 18 to 24 (27%). Interestingly, Tumblr also attracts the under-18 group in large numbers (13%). Two possible problems come to mind in connection with the youthfulness of Tumblr's audience: 1) there's a lot of Not Safe for Work (NSFW) content on Tumblr, and 2) the relative lack of attractiveness to older users may lead to loss of competitiveness with Facebook and Pinterest. Finally, Tumblr has been making a concerted effort to get mobile right, releasing new apps for Android and iOS tablet devices. Oh, and it's fun, too.
Blogging: How to post more often (without working harder)
Blogging works for businesses online. It's been proven over and over again to be a winning strategy, and an active blog serves as a useful anchor for a social media strategy, providing both a steady source of content for posts and an engaging, content-rich destination for people who take an interest in a brand. Make no mistake, though: blogging is work. Learn some tactics to make it easier to keep a blog going. First, schedule time to blog. More than anything else, you need to make time in your busy life for it, just as you do for paying bills or ordering supplies. Figure out how long it takes to write an average blog post, and make sure you're setting aside the time for it. Second, get help creating blog content. Crowd-sourcing content, doing interviews, and accepting guest posts are all ways to lighten the load. Third, don't sit down to blog without having collected some ideas for posts beforehand. Keep a list of ideas: your brain likes to come up with them, and if it knows you're paying attention you'll get more. Lots more great tips here.
What should your website cost?
Businesses are often surprised by the cost of putting up a website. Every business is different. Websites may take anywhere from 50 to many hundreds of hours to design and build. Reputable digital shops may charge anywhere from $50 to $200 an hour. It's important to be aware of what you want - and how much it will cost your business to get there. This article provides some guidelines for what to expect from various levels of expense (under $8,000 to more than $50,000), and also tells you what to expect in ongoing costs, which many often overlook when making decisions about online strategies.
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to."). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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