Social Media Marketing Trends for 2013 | Vanus Creations
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Social Media Marketing Trends for 2013

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By Priit Kallas

Every year I have compiled a list of trends that marketers have to follow closely in the following year to beat the competition. Social media marketing trends for 2013 is all about mobile, personalization and location. Read on to find out how marketing will change in the near future.

1. Social everything

Social media is here and it’s the place where consumer spend big part of their day and that time is increasing. If the site they are visiting is not a social networking site then it’s usually connected to social with sharing buttons, displaying your friends on the site or using social media accounts for login.

Social technologies will be at the heart of everyday life and business environment. Social media marketing will lead in making a shift to context based personalization of marketing messages.

2. Social media as entertainment

People have turned to TV and later to news sites to kill time almost from the beginning of time. This is changing. The biggest junk of time online goes to social networking. The triggers for this are obvious: it’s easy to use, requires little mental effort, makes feel you good and connected.

In March of 2012 The Hollywood Reporter study found that 88% of the respondents view social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of entertainment, and 79 percent of television viewers visit Facebook while they watch TV. This make storytelling more important for brands as great stories entertain and engage.

3. Social TV

TV is becoming interactive. Viewers comment and share during air time. This activity can be fed back into live shows or inspire plot changes in TV series. TV shows will make better use of votes, comments, etc. TV is going to be everywhere through mobile apps and this trend is growing.

TV ads will be the triggers to move consumers to websites and social media to get a more meaningful, interactive and personal experience. Currently second screen dilutes TV ads by making them easy to ignore. Advertisers will find ways to engage through the second screen.

4. Social news

News sites will crunch data from social interactions to deliver more targeted news. News sites will try to connect to your social graph. The dilemma for news sites is that they want to make the user visit their site to subscribe or for ad revenue. On the other hand social ties will make people stick to social networking sites.

The targeting will become transparent as most people will not bother to tweak the settings to change their preferences. We will take in a lot of recommendations and read the same things that our friends are reading.

5. Second screen shopping

As tablets and smartphones get ubiquitous second screens is going to grow very fast. Currently 79% of survey respondents always or sometimes visit Facebook while watching TV. This is fueled by better apps and this and continually shortening attention span. Add the need of instant gratification and there’s a potential to turn any TV program into an infomercial. Marketers will create models that bring consumers in from TV shows and ads, direct them to make a purchase right there.

Twitter will have a lead in this as TV already uses hashtags to add value and social context to the programming on the second screen. Facebook needs to find a way to get similar engagement.

Mobile commerce is expected to reach 10 billion dollars in 2012 and 31 billion by 2016. It’s time to start a new start-up on this area.

6. Social commerce

Social media will influence more sales. 70% of consumers have listened to music by an artist based primarily on what a friend posted on a social networking site. We are moving in the direction of social shopping but there’s no killer application yet that makes social buying really appealing to people. During the holiday season social referrals that led to purchase were really low.

Recommendations in a form of ratings, reviews and comments are one of the key drivers in buying decisions. Integrating that with the online shopping and social technologies is a powerful driver. Social media will allow consumers to get real user experience before making purchase decisions. Facebook can provide trust and emotional drivers through the mountains of data the have at their disposal.

7. Mobile everything

If 2012 was the breakthrough year for mobile then in 2013 mobile will strengthen its position. Social media usage on mobile devices will grow rapidly. More than 60% of people have used Facebook on a mobile device, but mobile will become even more important as the main device for social media channels. Social media is happening in real time and people share content when it’s happening!

People are expecting mobile versions of websites they are visiting and mobile app usage will continue to grow. All the successful new mobile apps will be deeply integrated with social networks allowing you to share and engage more than ever before. Mobile platforms on tablets and smartphones will enable second screen media consumption and local services.

The main question for platform owners such as Facebook will be the monetization of mobile channel.

8. Advertising on mobile devices

Right now consumers spend 10% of their time using media on mobile devices. However only 1% of ad budgets are directed at mobile channels. The problem is that there’s no real scalable solution to advertise on mobile.

Facebook and Twitter will be leading the way try to figure out how to present ads on mobile. They have to find a way how to target the right consumers with relevant messages and not to annoy users too much while doing it.

Marketing on mobile devices has to pick up as people move away from desktop and laptop computers.

9. Mobile first in web and add social

You will be left behind if you don’t have a mobile presence. Responsive design or a mobile version of your site is a must. This is not a social media thing but businesses need to make their sites mobile. More and more people are opting for mobile when they want to take a quick glance at your site. It is a sure way to annoy them by presenting a full-blown desktop site. Making your content mobile-friendly will give you an edge over your more old-fashioned competitors.

Make the mobile versions of your site location aware (if appropriate), add click to call. Make sure your content such as e-books, case studies, videos and other are usable on mobiles.

One interesting fact to note is that Facebook page apps can’t be used through Facebook’s own mobile app.

10. Local

As with mobile advertising there’s no real killer app in local field. Google and Facebook have all the data about our location and interaction with different venues. There’s a big opportunity in using this data in real-time marketing. Connecting social graph, behaviour and location is the next big step in marketing and technology. Location will add a lot of context to the other data providers have about you.

This is supported by our increasing use of mobile technologies. More check-ins and recommendations, more images uploaded, more chats in the coffee shop. All this leaves a footprint that location based services will use for marketing.

Location based marketing on mobile devices will become one of the most important channels to get new and repeat customers.

11. Big data gets social

Big data will make use of social dimension. Big data will try to combine and mine different sources from offline purchases to web behaviour and social with location context. Most promising sets of big data for marketers are social graph, intent graph, consumption graph, interest graph and mobile graph.

One side of the equation is that mining data will give you an edge over your competitors. The other side is that people start to demand personalization, predictions and features that this will enable.

12. Social media budgets will grow

Social media budgets continue to grow. Most companies will continue to increase their social media budgets trying to find new ways to interact and engage consumers. The increase will come from more people being hired to do social media marketing in-house, budgets for outside help will also increase to bring in agencies and consultants. And last but not least more tools will be used. The spending should at least double by the end of 2016.

Where is this money coming from? Well, some channels will get dropped in favour of others. Media spending shifts from display to content marketing as it proves to be a more effective tool. Traditional media will be replaced by digital according to how consumers actually spend their time using media.

In some cases this may create a situation where “marketing budgets” decrease as money spent on in-house content and social media marketing will be considered payroll expense.

13. Social media marketing ROI

Measuring results! The more money goes into social media marketing the more important it is to show the results. Marketers are testing new models and tools, dropping ineffective options and move towards measuring real business value.

Still less than half of the marketers measure results from social media marketing. Different studies and our own experience with our clients shows that there is a need to show real return on investment, but marketers lack the tools and know-how. CMOs worldwide agree they need to measure social media marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms.

One of the biggest problems is attributing social media marketing to offline sales. The combination of social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) will help to bridge that gap.

14. Social media advertising will grow

As Twitter and Facebook will be offering more advertising solutions, marketers are going to spend more. One important area in this respect is mobile ads on social media apps. The move towards mobile is profound among consumers and it’s a life and death question for social networking sites to figure this one out.

Facebook has at least two directions to increase its ad revenue. This meand going head to head with Google but it has to happen at some point anyway. First fixing its search may open up keyword advertising. Second, creating a Google AdSense like program for websites to display ads based on Facebook’s social graph and behavioural data.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others continue to find ways to display more marketing messages to their users and the focus will be on cracking mobile ads. Social media advertising will grow to $10 Billion in 2016.

15. Social media integration with other marketing

People spend increasing amounts of time on social networking sites and marketers want to tap into this potentially free distribution channel. Creating social media connection with other marketing will get you better results for the same budget.

The main challenge for marketers will be finding ways to engage consumers so that they would care enough to share. Traditional marketing will act as an entry point to more interactive digital/social experience.

Campaigns will get more dynamic spanning from offline to actionable digital channels. Understanding consumer behaviour, social graph and location will help you to tailor the seamless social experience. Consumers want personalization, and to participate in conversations that will make them feel ownership of the brand.

Brands start large scale integration of social media content and personalization into their digital properties. The integration will lead to better targeting, spending less money and getting better results by being visible to people who are interested. You have to constantly monitor your spending and results so that the ROI would be positive. If something isn’t working change it. If needed switch the products, tweak the message, or select better channels but do go on.

16. Social reputation management

Consumers engage with content that’s emotionally important to them. This means that social reputation management drives brands to messages that promote their corporate responsibility and making the world a better place.

Brands start to use social causes, economic, and environmental issues as the backbone of their campaign strategies. This will make it easier to engage consumers and make them feel good about themselves and the brands they use.

Businesses can do this for a real concern about a social problem or this can be a simple case of greenwashing. When aligning the brands with social causes companies have to show that this is legitimate concern and they are totally open about it.

17. Content creation inside your company

Creating content for marketing communications is going to grow for some time now. Great content underlies your success in social media marketing. How to produce enough high quality content for your marketing needs will be one of the main challenges for businesses. Maximize content value by using more formats, tactics and channels to distribute your content.

Great storytelling about topics that matter to your audience will tie in with the integrated marketing trend. You need to tweak the content you create for different channels and context. Advertising will promote the content and content will sell the brand. This trend will continue and blur the lines between advertising and editorial content.

When I was putting together the content marketing trends for 2013 I found that the bigger the company the less of its content is created inside the company. This will give an edge to the smaller businesses as their stories tend to be more personal and engaging. Organisations should consider bringing content creation in-house. Combine the management of content creation, blogging, social media, SEO, paid search and advertising. The synergy from this combined team will get you better results for the same budget.

18. Content curation and discovery

Content curation is an alternative or addition to creating your own content. Marketers who lack the resources to create continuous stream of original and engaging content can turn to curation. Collecting important pieces of valuable content and distributing it through your own social media channels.

Curation will create an impression of being in the know, a central hub and a valued resource in your area. The best strategy would be to find a balanced mix of your own material with curated content from partners and even competitors.

19. Images, videos and instant gratification

Video content will grow. It’s easier than ever to create video content but it’s still under used compared to video consumption by the consumer. When we have asked different audiences what kind of content they would like to have video is an overwhelming winner every time. Tip: create easy to follow videos (max 100 seconds) to engage people and make them take next step or share your content.

Infographics, photos and picture boards will grow. Infographics are one of the fastest growing content format. Infographics have visual appeal and easily digestible information that makes it fun to consume and easy to share. At the same time infographics are relatively easy to create.

All this is fueled by shortening attention span and the need for instant gratification. Short videos and infographics point in the direction of ever increasing information overload. Short and concentrated pieces of content will engage audiences in the initial stages of interaction. This will lead them to more demanding content and ultimately to converting to leads and customers.

20. Targeting, personas and context

Targeting content to buyer personas. Understanding the motivation of potential customers will help you create stories that connect and engage. Interview your target audiences and find out why they buy. What is important for them, the sites they visit, products they use, where are they in the sales cycle, their past interaction with the company, etc.

Find out what you can do after the sale to turn customers into brand advocates. Targeting content, selecting the right context and time will get you a lot more results from the same budget.

21. Social media monitoring

The importance of social media monitoring increases as social channels get integrated with other marketing. You need to know what’s going on to respond and engage in conversations or manage a crisis. Tools from simple monitoring to social CRM and customer support will help marketers to find new opportunities to engage consumers.

Social media monitoring tools combined with business metrics will lead to better understanding of the value of social interaction. This in turn will justify the incresing budgets.

22. Support through social media

The integration of social media will lead to people reporting their problems in their channel of choice. In many cases they choose to interact with you through the social channels. Create a program to provide support through Facebook or Twitter.

Response times to social media questions are improving and companies are starting to take it seriously. But surveys show that currently most of the questions posted in social media are left unanswered and the average response time is more than a day. This results in customer dissatisfaction and poor brand exposure.

Find tools that help you to answer questions faster and combine frequent issues in a way that you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.

23. Social CRM

Social component will be added to CRM systems in larger organizations. This trend is continuing to grow and social data will be added to the CRM and marketing automation systems to find trends in sentiment, behaviour and individual preferences of customers. Gartner has stated that the social CRM market grew to $1.2 billion in 2012, accounting for near 10 percent of all CRM spending. SCRM is predicted to grow at staggering 21% compound annual growth rate in the next five years, according analyst firm Ovum.

Support through social media, social media monitoring, and social CRM will merge into single field where vendors concentrate on different aspects of social data and interaction. Social customer service costs will increase as brands try to get an edge over the competition.

24. Brand is customer experience

People, stories, community, service, product. Social media brings the indirect interaction with your brand to many consumers long before they actually use your products and services. This will have a profound impact on their opinion about you. Learn to deal with criticism and support in a way that generates positive emotions and stories that spread.

Audience will have control. This means that brand’s interaction will be visible and discussed whether you like it or not. Participating in the conversation will make brands human, likeable, and relevant to the consumer.

25. Your social media footprint will grow

Everything you do: what sites you visit, using social networking sites,your mobile usage, purchase behaviour, can and will be tracked. This big data will be mined to deliver you targeted marketing messages. Targeting will get better and user experience improves. Facebook will know when your daughter gets pregnant before you do. Most people don’t know or care, or they just ignore the fact. This is the price you pay for all the wonderful free and personalised services.

Some people raise privacy concerns but it will not change how people use internet or businesses mine data. One example of this is the infamous EU cookie law. You get the notice that the site uses cookies and you click OK.

26. Facebook will get to 1.5 billion users

Facebook seems unstoppable or rather only they can stop themselves. Facebook will figure out how to make ton of money from that billion plus users. They have the have a huge job cut out for them. How to make money from business pages, mobile platform and possibly search. This means that brands need to pay more for reaching their audience.

Meanwhile Facebook continues to grow its user base reaching 1.5 billion users by the end of 2013.

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  • David | Dec 28, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Social media will truly be a huge part of marketing in 2013. If it played a huge role this year, let’s expect it to be bigger next year. Thanks for your awesome tips! 🙂

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