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Social Media Trends in 2013: What You Need to Know

by: Bryan Brown (@getvision)
14 November 2012

If you’re like most marketers, you’ve been using social networks to push out your latest messages – promotions, sales, thought capital, etc. – and maybe have occasional interactions with customer and prospects. You’ve probably also been working hard to increase your followers and likes. And as more social networks such as Google+ and Pinterest have emerged, you’ve likely established a presence on these sites and begun pushing out your content on these platforms too.

These are all good and necessary first steps for social marketing. But ah, there’s so much more. In 2013, consider looking beyond social as a stand-alone channel and beginning to consider how social can be integrated into ALL your channels. For starters, just put yourself in your customers’ shoes:

  • They’re more social and mobile than ever
  • They view their experience with your company holistically

Now imagine they see a Tweet from a friend about your cool offer and click through, only to arrive at your page and find a bunch of corporate-speak and a 15-field form. Talk about bringing your relationship momentum to a screeching halt.

Today, an “antisocial” feel on ANY of your channels can hinder your marketing efforts, so it’s smart to evaluate the social component of each one. To get you started, here’s a look at four key channels social is impacting today, along with some quick starter ideas for how you might approach them to enable a more relevant customer experience:

1) Search: In the constantly evolving world of search, it now takes more than a few strategically placed keywords and inbound links to move you up in the rankings. As social has exploded, search engine algorithms have shifted to place more weight on social media. The number of people who retweet your content or the traffic driven to your blog post via social, for example, helps determine where you rank. Similarly, video is popping up more in search results. The takeaway? Your content (see #3 below) must be conducive to social sharing for you to thrive in search.

2) Website: Many sites have been loosely connected with social in the past – a social “follow” icon here, a “share this” graphic there. In 2013, try bringing social data into your website to build trust. For example, you might include info such as number of downloads, user ratings and customer comments beside your content or products. True, you lose some control of the message, but by sharing the opinions of other buyers you’ll enhance the visitor experience and ultimately build trust in your brand.

3) Content: Think about what drives social sharing of your content. It’s likely that one of the biggest factors is how uniquely relevant it is to each of your customers and prospects. So, make it a point to brainstorm new ways you can drive personalization – perhaps by adding more behavioral marketing elements into your campaigns – and connect your content with social conversations. If you’re not already doing so, take a look at embedding content with social sharing options and consider building campaigns around sharing in 2013.

4) Apps: Does your company have a mobile app to help increase engagement with the growing number of smartphone and tablet users? Smart move. Once you’ve got your app, though, it’s time to think about the biggest factors in whether a customer downloads it. In most cases, the number of people who downloaded an app and how they rated it are the most critical drivers of future downloads. So, think about how you as a marketer can best respond to what people are saying and how they’re engaging with your app. Perhaps an app email welcome program that educates users on how to get the most out of your app might increase customer satisfaction and boost ratings.

So, what new social strategies do you think are critical to success in 2013? Share your thoughts, check out my video below on social in 2013, and please let me know if you have any questions on the concepts outlined here.

To get additional marketing insights and tips, connect with Bryan Brown on Google+.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: "6 Ways Digital Marketers  Can Use Custom Audiences with Facebook Ads"
2) Blog: "Twitter Tips for B2B Marketers"
3) White Paper: "6 Key Marketing Trends for 2013 – and Tips for Connecting in the Year of the Customer"

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