In my last blog on Emerging Digital marketing trends this year, I mentioned that trends in Social Media deserve a separate post. It has taken me more than three months to have moved from a draft to an actual blog post, and the only thing that has changed is some of what I originally noted can already be seen in the execution. Let us see what the highlights or current trends are.
1) Social Media will move from acquisition to quality of acquisition- If you pay for a click that helps you acquire a fan, you as a brand will start calculating ROI at some point and will soon realise the value of a fan who might actually be interested versus one who is not. This article interestingly points out that the generation loves to endorse their likes & dislikes. These are the users who would actually share content, like your updates, your new products & eventually help you go viral.
If you are a brand, you’ve probably realised this by now. And your briefs to your agency will change too!
2) Social Media will move towards focus on interactivity- The brands that have organically waited for their audience to grow will now move to phase two and that is engagement. Social Media will move to creating content that is engaging & agencies will be compelled to make more interactive content communication. The shift of focus to engagement is supported by two factors; one is that if you’ve invested in building a fan base, now you actually have people to speak to. Second being that the marketers have now started understanding the value of content in getting a higher Edgerank .
Please have a look at screenshot of Facebook insights page below, you will be able to see for yourself that the higher the number of likes & shares, the more number of people will see your post.
The interesting bit is that, this principle is also applicable to Facebook paid ads. Organic ads & paid ads are in concept similar to showing up on search results via SEO or paid search. If your ad content is good & more people like it, even the ads will go viral. Talk of “Content being the king”. In this interview, wine entrepreneur & internet celebrity Gary Vaynerchuk, very rightly points out that “Contents value has never been lower, contents importance has never been higher”
3) Social Media & integrated marketing – Social media will get more integrated to traditional digital marketing. Have we mentioned this before or what? Well, just in case you haven’t read some of our previous blogs, I mentioned this in my last post here & Arshya has been speaking of it for a year now!
So what has changed you ask?
That now we actually have means that make it simpler !
If your firm manages social media presence of say 3 in-house brands over 4-5 key social media channels, it can get difficult to manage multiple accounts & track responses. So you start using a social marketing dashboard like Hootsuite or Buddy Media. But you still have to manage your excel where you collate your ROI from your email, PPC, SEO, display & social campaigns. Here’s the good news, you can now use dashboards like Hubspot, Ignition one, or Adobe’s Omniture that manage your entire digital activity from a single dashboard as well as provide support with integrating campaigns. While they have been around for some time now, they are only getting better and more integrated with time.
In this blog I will not be covering how you should be selecting a “Digital Marketing Suite” that works for you. But if the logic makes sense for you & your business, maybe you should start researching now.
4) Social Media & employees – How many of your employees are actively endorsing you on social media?
The era when Facebook & Twitter were blocked by every company with a 100 employees is long gone. While social networking is still banned in large multinationals, users still have access to it via their smartphones. Since they are anyway going to give a little sometime of their day to these networks, why don’t you capitalize on this and get them to use it in your benefit?
Arshya describes here, how awesome the scenario would be if multiple teams in your company were social media savvy.
I recently met some people who run a boutique digital agency in the luxury travel sector. As a part of their servicing effort, they formally take training sessions with clients and employees on how to use social media in their benefit and guess what? It works!
Presently, I am working on training employees myself within this organization where we take one on one session and build them a suggestion list according to their comfort zone. For example: If they think sharing a company update on facebook is intrusion of their personal space, we respect that and train them for more impersonal networks like LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest. Of Course this also means training them for should not be said on social media.
As I speak, more and more companies are realizing this and making it a part of their effort.
We suggest try this & see the results yourself!
5) Social Media analytics & Attribution – It surprises me when I still hear of companies that shut their social media operations or cut down their budgets because of lack of tracking or any knowledge of ROI.
Lets go back to basics of why you would use social media in the first place. No, not because it’s free, it still takes human efforts that don’t come free. But, because, it is trackable. Anyone who tells you it can’t be tracked is either kidding you or doesn’t know how it works. The question is if do you want to pay for all the expensive tools that help you track. If you are pumping massive budgets in social media, you might as well pump out some more on tools that help you track them and figure out what’s working for you & what is not. There are a host of solutions available like Buddy Media, Wildfire, Sprout Social etc.
Depending on what features work for you, you can always pick & choose!
There is another concept you should be familiar with if you aren’t already aware and that is Attribution. More often than not, you’re online sales is going to be a result of more than one of your digital marketing efforts. The Attribution concept tracks your online marketing activities and attributes to the source that finally closed the sale. For example, if you showed up in the organic search result for new pocket camera and your display ad showed up in the tech product discussion forums and finally it went out on a deal website as a temporary offer and got a sale. While the previous two exposures added to purchase decision, the attribution points go to offer because in this case it closed the sale. It will also award some attribution points to factors that helped you take a decision, in this case SEO & display.
Again, there are online tools & dashboards that calculate the attribution for you. It is a concept that will help you decide what works for your product & accordingly design your digital marketing mix.
How many of these trends have you already adapted to? Write back to us and let us know?
Image credits: Rohan Chandrashekhar at Quora.com