Happy New Year, Social Media Marketing. You’re all grown up now. You are no longer New Media or Emerging Media. By now, every organization recognizes Social Media Marketing as a legitimate marketing tactic in some form or fashion. In 2012, for many organizations you even became the connective tissue that ties everything together. Well done.
In 2013, we see Social Media Marketing further maturing as it leaps forward and permeates all aspect of organizations — and perhaps social will be the catalyst to break down the silos. A girl can always continue to dream. Beyond that BHAG, we see the following Top 10 Social Media Marketing trends for 2013.
1. Acquisition vs. Quality
“How many likes can I get?” This reminds me of the early days of email databases, where growth was the primary focus and sweepstakes were hugely popular. In 2013, more marketers are going to ask, “Who are these people? Are they really my consumers or even potential consumers?” We’re excited to see new opportunities to integrate CRM into social and overlay social onto CRM. We have some great partners lined up to help us.
2. Cross-Channel Marketing
2013 is about convergence. Whether you call it Converged Media, Cross-Channel Marketing or Multichannel Marketing, social will be a critical part of every integrated campaign. In some cases it will lead the way, as in the case of this 60+-year-old brand, The Grammys, which is launching its new campaign around a hashtag: #TheWorldisListening.
3. Role & Purpose
Just say no to writing once and posting to all channels. It is commonly known that people do business with people (brands) they like, respect and admire. We believe that the more ways you get people to engage with brands, the more likely they are to like, be loyal to and advocate for the brand. Yet people will only engage in multiple networks if they see that each one provides a truly unique value to them. Looking at it from a business perspective, brands will come to understand that Social Media Marketing is as much about relationships as it is about driving action. You could look at the various platforms, and the content you share on them, a little like a foot race: There are marathons, half marathons and sprints. Some will get you the immediate sale, and some will nurture over the long haul. Next year, more time will be spent up front on defining the purpose of every social network and prioritizing efforts that go into each one.
4. Image-Based Marketing
The hype around visual-driven social sites, such as Instagram and Pinterest, has reminded marketers of the power of the image. Not just retailers, but also B2B brands such as Cisco, GE, Intel and IBM are jumping on this wagon and fully leveraging Instagram as a visually influencing content strategy. As a result, 2013 will find marketers dusting off their direct marketing textbooks and refreshing memories on what makes for great imagery and great writing. Sprinkle in some frictionless sharing and those images will become a brand’s sales force — one with a strong ROI.
5. Content Marketing
For several of our brands, “Win Space” was a big priority and will continue to be a tremendous focus in 2013. Win Space is how brands think beyond the product they are marketing and identify a content topic they can own. Internet of Things and now Internet of Everything for Cisco is a perfect example of a brand looking at the world beyond their product line. Until now though, Content Marketing has been manually intensive. Have you heard about Compendium yet? This is the first technology I have seen that promises to make owning this space as efficient as possible.
6. Influence Marketing
You’ve been reading about the power of Influence Marketing for years now. In fact, an entire organization was formed to govern it: WOMMA. The Realtime Report has spent the year talking about it. The increased number of monthly sample boxes, both paid and “earned” by influence, e.g., Birchbox, Goodie.co, and Bark Box, is another indicator of how this has progressed. Hopefully, this holiday you tested influence marketing. As paid bloggers become more expensive, we expect brands to start looking at their own customer databases to determine their most valuable consumers and move from one-off campaign-driven initiatives to more long-term relationship marketing efforts.
7. Social Commerce
I feel like we’ve been talking about social commerce for years. Many have dipped their toes in the water and then pulled right back out. Yet we do feel like brands are starting to get it right, and that we have figured out the mental state people are in when they are engaging in Facebook vs. when they are engaging with Pinterest. Companies like 8thBridge and Moontoast are fueling this move forward.
8. Mobile-Optimized Social Channels
Raghu Kakarala, SVP, Technology and User Experience, at Engauge said it best at a DIG Day event, “The year of mobile was last year (2011).” In 2013, we will be saying enough with the “we didn’t budget for mobile optimization.” How can you afford to invest in something and then guarantee that 50% of your audience won’t see it and will be disappointed?
9. “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Paid social advertising is giving advertisers more opportunities to target participants in real time, based on their conversations and “likes” within the walls of the social networks. As social data is pulled out of the networks and included in ad networks, let’s take a moment to remember that when retargeting was first introduced, it creeped people out. I was at a MediaPost Search Insider Conference a few weeks ago where one participant illustrated an example of someone looking for a wedding ring — let’s say on Jared.com — and then upon leaving the website was presented with an ad that said, “Your wife ‘liked’ these rings when she visited last.” This is extremely powerful, targeted advertising that incorporates both cookie data and social graph data, yet it’s incredibly creepy. At some point this will become accepted business practices, but the first companies to use this technology will need to use it very cautiously.
10. Social ROI
Social is about relationships and measured by brand awareness, perception, intent, loyalty and advocacy. 2013 will be about working hard to connect these metrics to enterprise-level goals and objectives around sales, retention and NPS as well as cost savings around customer service and innovation.
To sum it up, 2013 is going to be a busy year. Happy New Year!