Key Social Media Trends to Look for in 2012

2012 will certainly bring it’s share of new technologies and innovations that will continue to drive the growth and usability of Social Media Platforms. Below is a sampling of some of the major trends that we can look forward to in the coming year as reported by Joseph Puopolo – Tech Crunch

Joseph Puopolo
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
62 Comments
Editor’s note: Guest contributor Joseph Puopolo is an entrepreneur and start-up enthusiast, who blogs on a variety of topics including green initiatives, technology and marketing.
In 2011, social media had its share of growing pains. Large brands and corporations took to social media in force to try to find footing in this expanding medium. Some brands found success, while others found peril and new PR nightmares. One person who has helped brands navigate the proverbial social media minefield is Amy Jo Martin. She is the founder of Digital Royalty, a social media firm that has set itself apart by helping A-listers find their social media voice.
Amy works with people like Dana White of the UFC, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson of acting/WWE fame and brands like Nike and Fox Sports (and now Joel Stein). Her specialty is working with organizations or individuals and making them look good online. Since the online world is in perpetual flux, I wanted to get Amy’s take on the social media landscape for 2012.
Here were a few key trends Amy said we should look out for in 2012:
1. Social TV Integration
Many shows have already begun to integrate social TV, either through polling or integrating social elements within the show. See my example of how both the UFC and WWE are integrating social media into their programming. Social media played a pivotal role in the last presidential election, and it will likely be more integrated into political broadcasts.
As each news channel fights hard to keep their viewers engaged, networks like CNN and Fox have made significant strides to engage their audience, although some would argue that this social media integration has come at the expense of hard-hitting journalism and analysis.
2. TV Is Going Online in a Big Way
2012 will be the first time that the Super Bowl will be streamed live to the world. Since the Super Bowl is generally viewed as the mother of all advertising spectacles, it will add a new dynamic into the digital component to advertising and social media integration.
3. Facebook Credits Take Center stage
Facebook in 2012 has the potential to project its power and truly take Facebook credits into a viable currency. Amy puts it quite well when she says “they’re building an online destination we’ll never need to leave, and my guess is they’re only about 8% of the way through their product roadmap.”
4. Big Business Has Woken Up
The way corporate entities approach social media is shifting. Many companies realize that setting up Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts is not going to cut it as their social media strategy. Brands will need to seriously shift their perspective by treating social channels more like communication channels and less like an advertising channels in order to make a difference. From my perspective this transition has already occurred, judging by the extent to which brands’ Twitter accounts are now used as channels for CRM and customer support, managing pissed off or happy customers in near realtime.
5. ROI Is Still Huge
ROI will remain a key metric to any social media strategy. The concept of engagement is now becoming more and more an excepted metric. CEO adoption of social media is improving, and more CEOs are recognizing the benefits of humanizing their brand by taking to Twitter.
Customer service, research and image branding could all be considered social media intangibles, yet all three are obviously important in business. Social channels impact every single aspect of business from human relations to finance, sales, operations and legal. It’s important for everyone to understand how social media affects their role and responsibilities. Opposite of television, social media is a dialogue vs. a monologue and if a brand is able to collect opinions real-time in high volume via social channels like Facebook polls, they can save a great deal of money on formal research studies.
There have been a lot of discussions about social media fatigue and whether brands refuse to play for that reason. With over a billion people on social media it’s irresponsible for any brand not to have some sort of presence. 2012 will be the year for brands to go beyond cookie cutter campaigns and really determine how it not only adds value to their company, but how it adds value for their customers. 2012 will be crucial for companies and social media. For those who don’t see a direct correlation between social media and sales consider:
“Social media is an ideal tool for moving people up the fan ladder, from being a casual fan of a brand to a loyalist, because the communication channels allow people to build stronger emotional connections with brands.”
So in 2012, the question is, how will your brand use effective strategy to move people up the fan ladder from interested to foaming at the mouth brand zealots?
Excerpt image from 4socialmediaconsulting
Tags: social media, Amy Jo Martin
Read more at techcrunch.com
 

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Why Content Marketing is King

Amplify’d from www.entrepreneur.com

Why Content Marketing Is King

BY Mikal E. Belicove|
October 20, 2011|

163

Why Content Marketing Is KingWhen it comes to marketing strategies, content marketing has just been crowned king, far surpassing search engine marketing, public relations and even print, television and radio advertising as the preferred marketing tool for today’s business-to-business entrepreneur.

Why Content Marketing Is King

Late this summer, HiveFire, a Cambridge, Mass.-based internet marketing software solutions company, surveyed nearly 400 marketing professionals about the state of the business-to-business, or B2B, market, and discovered that marketers are retreating from traditional marketing tactics such as search marketing and have made content marketing the most-used tactic in their brand-enhancing tool box. Fact is, according to HiveFire’s B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report, twice as many B2B marketers now employ content marketing as they do print, TV and radio advertising, according to the survey.

So what exactly is content marketing? It’s the creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s subject matter expertise on display. HiveFire’s researchers found that an impressive 82 percent of B2B marketers now employ content marketing as a strategy in their marketing programs. Coming in at a distant second place is search engine marketing at 70 percent, followed by events at 68 percent, public relations at 64 percent and print/TV/radio advertising at 32 percent.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said driving sales and leads was the top marketing goal of their organization, followed by boosting brand awareness and establishing or maintaining thought leadership (both at 35 percent). Another 28 percent said their primary goal was to increase web traffic and 24 percent said it was to improve search results.

Part of the popularity of content marketing is its ability to generate qualified leads while engaging prospects in a branded environment without busting the budget. Nearly half of the content marketers interviewed said they dedicate less than a third of their budgets to such marketing expenditures. In addition to frugality, B2B marketers also believe most of their customers and prospects are online, which is why they’re focusing their marketing efforts on the Internet.

Finally, the survey shows that “content curation” — which is defined as the process of finding, organizing and sharing content — continues to gain strength as a top marketing strategy, up 17 percent from six months ago. Seen as a way for marketers to fuel their marketing programs, content curation does have its problems. Nearly 70 percent of content curators say lack of time hinders their efforts, with 66 percent saying a lack of original and quality content is a major drawback. Another 38 percent say difficulty in measuring results is the stumbling block and 37 percent say lack of staff to do the work is the hindrance.

Despite these issues, the survey makes clear that content marketing is only going to become more important going forward, whether you market to other businesses or to the public at large.

Read more at www.entrepreneur.com

 

The Social Soap Box: Social Media Gets Older

Can you believe the average age of a twitter user is 39 years old?!
Most people you ask would say, there’s no way! … twitter is for the younger kids – the Gen Y, or Millennials as they call them… but not so fast. The infographic below indicates that most social media users are between the age of 35-44, with a 25% share of all social media use.

Read on for more great statistics!

Thank you @autumntt for putting together this great article!

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The Social Soap Box: Social Media Gets Older

Autumn Truong
July 28 , 2011

Social media has only been around a decade, but the folks who frequent sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are getting older. 

A recent survey conducted by Pew Internet revealed that the average age of a user of social networking sites is 38, a big increase from the average age of 33 just three years ago. To boot, over half of all adult Internet users are now over the age of 35. The Pew research also revealed that Facebook users in particular are 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel most people can be trusted.

I asked Peter Kim, chief strategy officer at Dachis Group, a research and consultancy firm focused on social business, to share his thoughts:

“Many sites are seeing current growth from this older demographic. Early on, companies could dismiss the need for social strategy by claiming that social networks were better suited for youth. Now, there should be no doubt left that social channels are critical for both business to consumer and employee to employee communications.

As companies shift to social business, they will need to come to terms with the realities of engagement. Trust is paramount and built through direct engagement; yet most companies are not staffed to scale up quickly in social channels. Thus the changes in corporate communications and marketing will be slow to manifest publicly. But they’ll become the basis of long-term competitive advantage for those who get it right.

What this means: companies must consider their readiness for social business. Is the organization siloed or networked? Is the culture closed or collaborative? Are the right tools being used to facilitate communications and connections?

Look to companies like Ford and Target that are shifting on the leading edge of these changes.”

Net-net: The population is aging, so it makes sense that users of social networks are getting older, too. Here’s a fairly recent infographic that gives a good breakdown of how the various age groups interact online.

Read more at newsroom.cisco.com

 

The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America

The statistics are simply amazing!

In June 2011, 114.5 million people in Latin America visited a social networking site, representing 96.0 percent of the entire online population in the region. Social networking is not only big in Latin America, it is also growing — with the audience climbing 16 percent in the past year – comScore 2011

These are unprecedented levels of engagement… representing extremely high adoption rates for the entire region. Latin Americans are clearly active users of social media technologies. Read the full report from comScore to get the full scoop on overall trends, global, regional and market specific statistics, and overall summary of how social media impacts the overall fabric of digital media communications in the region.

Executive Summary:
Social networking is central to the online experience across Latin America, reaching millions of people and providing a level of engagement that is rarely matched by any other online activity. Tapping into people’s innate need to interact and communicate, social networking provides an opportunity for consumers to actively connect to one another while also creating a channel that brands can utilize to engage with consumers in a two-way relationship.

This report examines the state of Latin America’s dynamic social networking landscape, providing insights into trends at a global, regional and market level. The report also analyzes how social media has shaped the larger digital environment through its influence on other social web activities and its role in the dissemination of marketing messages. Several of the report’s key findings are summarized below:

In June 2011, 114.5 million people in Latin America visited a social networking site, representing 96.0 percent of the entire online population in the region. Social networking is not only big in Latin America, it is also growing — with the audience climbing 16 percent in the past year.

Latin Americans are strongly engaged with social networking. Half of the top 10 worldwide markets by time spent on social networking sites are in Latin America with Argentina leading the region at 10 hours per month in June 2011.

The Latin American social networking audience is nearly equal in its composition of males and females, but females account for a larger share of social networking time spent (53.6 percent) compared to males (46.4 percent). This trend was most significant in Brazil where females accounted for 58.7 percent of all social networking time spent.

Facebook.com strongly led the social networking market in Latin America reaching more than 91 million visitors. Windows Live Profile ranked #2 with more than 35.5 million visitors in the region. Orkut held the #3 spot with 34.4 million visitors, largely driven by the site’s popularity in Brazil, while Twitter.com ranked #4 with 24.3 million visitors.

Five of the top 10 markets by Facebook.com reach are in Latin America. Facebook reached 90.9 percent of all online users in Chile, ranking as the most penetrated market in Latin America.

In Brazil, Orkut ranked as the most-visited social networking destination, reaching 35.7 million visitors, an increase of 20 percent from June 2010. Facebook.com, which is the second largest social networking site in Brazil, witnessed strong growth increasing 192 percent to 24.5 million visitors.

For more details, please download the full comScore report below.

Amplify’d from www.comscore.com

The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America


Date: September 20, 2011

Speaker: comScore, Inc.

Event: comScore Whitepaper

Download Whitepaper

comScore presents The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America. The report examines the state of Latin America’s dynamic social networking landscape, providing insights into trends at a global, regional and individual market level.

The report reveals the role of social networking in Latin Americans’ digital experience:

  • How large is the social networking audience and what is the demographic composition of these users?
  • How much time are users spending social networking and what does this reveal about changes in online behaviors?
  • What are the top social networking brands in the region? How do audience preferences differ across markets?
  • How has social media shaped the larger digital environment through its influence on other social web activities?
  • What role does social media play in the dissemination of marketing messages?

Read more at www.comscore.com

 

What’s the R.O.I.? A Framework for Social Analytics

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” Albert Einstein

What an awesome quote!!

Check out this great writeup by the SM master himself, Brian Solis. ROI is in the mind and in the objectives of every senior executive looking to implement and fund Social Media Campaigns. This article by Brian, presents a framework to be used in the process of determining ROI. Check it out and see what you think…

Amplify’d from www.briansolis.com

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
– Albert Einstein

Say hello to my little friends, R.O. & I.

Yes. Return on investment have become the bane of an entire new media industry. However, avoidance is not the answer.

This conversation is important as you are expected to answer it not just today, but and also over time.  The source of the question though, may also impede innovation and experimentation. Why?  The answer in of itself is as elusive as the question asked. As much as the previous sentence sounds like a riddle, it is a very real observation. Often it is asked without a clear understanding as to whether or not the answer will actually change the company vision or the current course of business. Sometimes it is genuinely asked to do just that, change the vision and the course of business toward relevance. Either way, this is an opportunity to show how new media enables desired business outcomes.

While the question of “what’s the R.O.I. of social media” is difficult to answer, it is necessary as it forces us to dig deeper. The result is maturity.

Before we tackle the question, let me share a quote with you. After hundreds of executive discussions, I’ve stitched together a recurring theme that I believe will help you…

“If you come to me with a request for budget and resources for social media, to make it a priority for our business, you will lose every time…If you tie social media to our business priorities and objectives and demonstrate how engagement will enable progress, you will win every time. Social media must be an enabler to our business, just show me how.”

– Your CEO

Your job is to connect the dots between the value of new media, the expectations of your customers, and the business roadmap the company is operating against.

So, when it comes to R.O.I. in social media, perhaps we’re asking the wrong question.

Again, the answer is difficult, but not impossible to answer. If I ask you, “how are you?” you will probably respond with “fine,” “ok,” “good,” or “great.” But if you take a moment to think about it, each of those answers begs a follow-up question to deepen the conversation, “why?” Or, “why do you say that?” Otherwise the question serves no real purpose other than to casually acknowledge another person or to run through the traditional ritual of easing into a conversation. The same is true for R.O.I.

If we are indeed to discover the “Return,” we need to tie it to more than the “Investment,” we need to understand the circumstances, intentions, and potential impact and outcomes business leaders need to see in order to understand new or foreign opportunities. Said another way, we need to define the “R” that defines tangible success and work out a formula that allows us to find the answers. Therefore, R.O.I is specific to an outcome or a goal, which means that there is no one answer.

To help, Susan Etlinger (@setlinger), my colleague at Altimeter Group, recently published an open research report, “A Framework for Social Analytics.”

The report opens puts ROI in context to help you focus on business value in your social media efforts:

“What is the ROI of social media?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions related to social strategy. While 48% of social strategists reported earlier this year that their primary internal focus is to develop ROI measurements,2 ROI is just one metric in the social business toolkit. Rather than focusing on social media as a monolithic entity, businesses should evaluate it based on its contribution to a range of business goals. Says Richard Binhammer, Strategic Corporate Communications, Social Media. and Corporate Reputation Management, Dell Inc., ‘There is no single ROI for social media.’”

As we see in the executive quote earlier in the post, tying social media to business objectives and metrics helps them see a clearer picture. We have to remember that executives most likely do not use social networks personally. It’s impossible for them to see what you see, therefore taking the extra time to connect the dots helps you make the case and in doing so, brings the R.O.I. answer into focus.

Susan also does a wonderful job of not only showing us how businesses should view R.O.I, but she also helps businesses identify how to develop analytics frameworks that define the “R” or the return for specific business objectives.

Prep work: Assess how your business is measuring R.O.I. on other fronts today

Step 1: Align your strategy with business objectives

Step 2: Determine how you will measure success and also define critical milestones

Step 3: Evaluate your organization’s readiness to measure social media and bridge the gaps

Step 4: Choose the right tools to measure progress and outcomes

Remember, there is no one way to measure R.O.I. There are many business pillars that stand on a solid foundation for growth. Susan introduces the Social Media Measurement Compass to guide businesses as they’re planning social media programs. Remember, social media doesn’t just belong in the marketing department, a social business is customer-centric and social media enables more effective engagement, learning, and adaptation. Therefore, it is the responsibility of other critical business functions to engage.

1. Innovation: Collaborating with customers to drive future products and services

2. Brand Health: A measure of attitudes, conversation ad behavior toward your brand

3. Marketing Optimization: Improving the effectiveness of marketing programs

4. Revenue Generation: Where and how your company generates revenue

5. Operational Efficiency: Where and how your company reduces expenses

6. Customer Experience: Improving your relationship with customers, and their experience with your brand

The three tenets of social business, Connected, Engaged, Adaptive create a transparent relationship with customers that opens the door to meaningful metrics to measure success and improve everything in between. In the end, understanding the relationship between business objectives and social media tactics will create a series of relevant strategies and critical links that in of themselves serve as opportunities for measurement and the establishment of R.O.I.

We cannot measure, what it is we do not know to value…

You can download Susan’s report here and also follow her on Twitter for more insights into metrics and analytics.

Read more at www.briansolis.com

 

Mobile Marketing – Top 14 things marketers need to know about QR Codes

The online marketing evolution continues, and the next frontier is Mobile Marketing. These handy little QR Codes can be the bridge between the offline marketing and your online / digital marketing channels. They are great tools that are available for free, unless you want some of the fancy features.

Check out this great article for more how to’s and best practices for using 2D codes!

Amplify’d from searchenginewatch.com
schottmuller-angie

Top 14 Things Marketers Need to Know About QR Codes

by Angie Schottmuller,
April 26, 2011
61 Comments


I recently spoke at SES New York on best practices for mobile marketing with QR codes. Here’s a follow-up crash course on tools, tactics, and best practices to confidently help you jumpstart a 2D barcode marketing campaign.

1. A QR Code is a 2D Barcode

QR codes are an encoded barcode image resembling a square-like maze. Unlike a 1-dimensional UPC code, a 2-dimensional barcode stores data in both directions and can be scanned vertically or horizontally to be decoded.

1D versus 2D Barcode Comparison
2. 2D Barcodes Can Store a Variety of Data

A traditional 1D barcode (UPC/EAN) stores up to 30 numbers, while a 2D barcode (QR) can store up to 7,089 numbers. The additional storage capacity accommodates a variety of data beyond numbers:

  • Hyperlink
  • Telephone number (Phone call)
  • SMS/MMS message
  • Email (Send message)
  • Contact entry (vCard or meCard)
  • Calendar entry (vCalendar)
  • Text

  • Hyperlink

  • Telephone number (Phone call)

  • SMS/MMS message

  • Email (Send message)

  • Contact entry (vCard or meCard)

  • Calendar entry (vCalendar)
  • Storing a hyperlink presents a myriad of possibilities beyond just loading a web page — play a video, download a mobile app, check-in on Foursquare, update a Twitter status, “Like” a Facebook page, display map directions, and more.

    3. Read/Decode a 2D Barcode by Scanning it With a Smartphone

    is required to decode the encoded data.)

    2D Barcode Scanning Process

    4. 2D Barcodes Can be Placed in and on Nearly Any Location

    Once the barcode image is created, it can be printed on nearly any surface and location — newspapers, TV ads, billboards, temporary tattoos, product packaging, clothing labels, cake frosting, and more. This enables you to drive traffic, interaction, and conversion from anywhere. 2D barcodes excel at bringing non-digital media to life.

    Note: Use caution placing barcodes online. They should always enhance the user experience. If a user could click a hyperlink, don’t make them scan a code to complete the same task.

    Bear in mind the location must be easily scannable. Plastic frames and packaging can reflect light. Lighting can cast shadows, and hillsides and subways can kill Wi-Fi access. Consider all contextual factors that could impact the scanning experience.

    Read more at searchenginewatch.com

     

    3 Social Media Must Haves For Companies

    Another great writeup by Heidi Cohen!

    Amplify’d from heidicohen.com

    3 Social Media Must Haves For Companies

    Always be preparedWhile social media continues to mature, it’s still a scary environment for many businesses since it means that prospects, customers and the public have the platforms and tools to amplify their voices with relative ease. Despite this easy access to publishing tools, the reality is that only 1% of the people involved in social media create new content while 90% lurk or consume content and 9% comment or make other minor contributions to existing content.  From a corporate perspective, it’s that 1-2% of interactions or comments to which brands and/or companies must respond.

    In today’s social media ecosystem, there are three elements that every company should have regardless of whether they’re active on social media networks or not. Given the velocity with which information is shared, it’s critical that your firm is prepared to react quickly and appropriately to changes in the conversation in order to protect your brand and reputation. Here are three recommendations.

    1. Have social media monitoring in place. This factor was high on marketers’ list of 2011 must haves. Social media monitoring can be an early warning system for your business. As part of your social media monitoring make sure that you’re also tracking words related to your competitors since their problems can quickly spread to your business.

    1. Implement social media guidelines. Surprisingly, research by SmartBrief for Social Media and Summus, which considers social media guidelines an indicator of social media adoption, found that only half of companies had social media guidelines after three years. This should be a no-brainer as it protects both your firm and your employees.

    1. Have a crisis management plan in place. Since social media firestorms can occur at any time without notice, it’s important to have a crisis management plan in place. This means more than just the name of a PR crisis management firm. It requires an organized plan with up-to-date names and phone numbers (including personal cellphones.) The reality is that something will occur at a time when no one’s minding the shop; at night, on the weekend or during a holiday. (Here’s a Real-time PR Checklist to help you.)

    As a business, are you ready for a PR crisis? Are you prepared if something happens to one of your employees, suppliers, distributors or competitors? Just as airlines repeat their instructions about evacuating the airplane at the beginning of every flight, it’s important for your business to ensure that your employees understand what’s expected of them in a social media emergency.

    Does your firm have these three elements in place? If not, what’s holding your firm back?

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

    Read more at heidicohen.com