There’s no doubt that 2012 was the year of social media.
With the near-ubiquitous adoption of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter have made sharing our thoughts, news stories and blog posts stupidly-easy. Now a world without social media is now almost unimaginable, the same way that mobile phones changed our lives in the 90’s. It’s no wonder this year was so full of memorable and often downright insane stories that kept us thoroughly entertained.
Here are the year’s top stories that had the social media buzzing…
PSY’s Gangnam Style
No social media roundup for the year would be complete without mentioning PSY’s viral mega-sensation ‘Gangnam Style’. This quirky and ridiculously funny video from the Korean pop star became a world wide hit, officially becoming the number one most-viewed video of all time on Youtube. As of this writing, it has managed to garner very close to 1 billion views and shows no signs of slowing, even months after being uploaded. It has 5.8 million likes and the video has been referenced by some of the most famous people on earth. All of this attention led to PSY appearing on shows like Ellen and being mentioned by Barack Obama.
After a long, grueling court case between Apple and Samsung regarding patent infringements on the design of the iPhone and iPad, Apple was finally awarded just over 1 billion dollars in damages, while Samsung received $0. Unfortunately in social media circles the whole affair seemed to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths, even die hard Apple fans. Here’s a pie chart that just about sums it up:
Here’s a tweet that captures it perfectly:
This epic battle of the tech giants served to highlight the validity of the patent system and what it means for the future of innovation.
US Presidential Elections
It’s really quite simple; Obama would not have become president without the help of social media. He is by far the most social media savvy, and maybe even just plain media-savvy president in US history. With the help of Youtube videos like this one, his Google hangouts, Reddit Q&As and Twitter account he was able to deliver his message very effectively. He has over 33 million Facebook fans, over 24 million Twitter followers and this was the most rewteeted image of all time as well as the most liked image on Facebook ever:
Not even the most-loved A-list celebs get love like that on social media. Very impressive!
Unlike other types of marketing, social media marketing is less “visual” in terms of metrics. Sure, there are pieces of software that try to give you some sort of data based on the social signals that you give off, but are they really that accurate?
While we do agree that you can measure the number of visitors that visit your website directly from a social network with simple link tracking, we would like to remind you that social marketing is a bit more than that. Software cannot measure brand recognition (yet); or people who visit your website by manually typing in your address just because they “remember seeing your brand name on their Facebook Home Area”; or customer loyalty.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep 3 concepts in mind when it comes to social media marketing. It’s not just about “just posting more” or “just tweeting more often” to “get more clicks”.
Concept #1: It’s not about “How much”, but about “Why”
Social networks are pretty lenient about how often you can update your status, make tweets, or post messages in public. However, it’s not always a good idea to exploit that. It’s actually almost always counter-productive.
Instead, focus on “Why?” – and the why isn’t always about making a sale!
Are you trying to make a sale? Is the status update to make your customers love you (free gift, big discount, etc…)? Or maybe it’s just to share that one of the members of your staff spilled some coffee on herself (brand awareness by sharing small, fun stuff that’s going on “inside”).
Don’t try to do everything in one post. A good rule of thumb would be to pick ONE goal from the above, and put all your creativity in it.
This alone will drastically cut down the time spent on the social networks. Remember, 1 post about a coffee spill could be more effective than 15 posts about “Product 1”, “Product 2”, etc…
The awesome thing about social media marketing is that other people will share the content that you post. This essentially means free advertising! Plus it’s one of the most effective forms; it’s as close as word-of-mouth advertising as it can get online.
BUT! Just posting something and hoping for it to happen is not gonna cut it! The social media population will help you only if you help yourself first. I would actually go as far as saying that it’s your responsibility to start the sharing.
Once you post something on a social network, get it noticed. Send an email to your subscribers about it. Blog about it. Get other bloggers in your niche to blog about it. Give an incentive for people to comment on it and share it. Start the buzz.
Concept #3: Counter-intuitively, social media takes time
It’s ironical. Social media is supposed to be “quick”, right? It usually is. However, when speaking about “business”, it’s a completely different story. Business owners are kidding themselves if they think that they just need to post something to make sales.
The social audience is not used to typing its credit card number while checking out a friend’s profile, and even less rushing to a store because a new product has been released.
Social media is more than that. It’s more personal. It’s about building trust and relationships. If you focus only on “making sales”, social media marketing might be forever dead for you in the future.
On the other hand, if you think long-term, what you post today is what might bring you hundreds of sales 1 or 2 years down the road. Is that “too” long-term? Probably. But for serious businesses, it holds a lot of value. Lifetime customers, brand recognition, online AND offline word-of-mouth advertising; it’s really worth it for some.
Any business can use social media marketing as part of its advertising strategies, but the truth is that this form of marketing is not for everyone. If the 3 concepts above do not resonate with you, social marketing is probably not for you.
If you are looking for a more “direct conversion” from visitor to buyer, then better options would be SEO, PPC or PPV.
When the search giant released its social product, there was some initial buzz around it, but it was soon followed by condescending comments like “oh, a copycat” or “yeah, as if we needed another social network” from people in the blogosphere. To be honest, some of us did not take it very seriously either.
Well, things are getting serious now. 90 million users. That’s over 90 million times more users than a lot of the copycats succeeded having!
Plus, there is the added incentive of being part of the search giant’s social network, and knowing that it now gives serious attention to social signals, the incentive is kind of a big one indeed!
The short answer to the question: “Is it worth it?” or “Do we need it?” seems to be “Yes” for now.
Why Businesses Need Google+
The biggest reason would be Google’s social move called ‘Search Plus Your World’. According to their blog, Google thinks that their current search results are quite “limiting”, due to the fact that they only pull up webpages made available publicly. What they want is that information is made available to you from literally everywhere; starting from what your friends are sharing – posts, photos, videos etc. They want to integrate social into search.
This means that in the near future, when people are looking for information about coffee for example, they might be able to see who of their friends are having their lunch break at your coffee shop. Or maybe they want to buy a game on Amazon (via a Google search) but then stumble upon a post made by a colleague who got a nice discount at your game store.
Yes, this is why businesses need Google+! The network is still relatively new (we are talking about Internet age), and the earlier you get in, the earlier you can start building your network (and trust), so it might be a good idea to sign up (or convince your boss that he should!) with Big G’s social network.
Some people think“We’re on Facebook. We got this” or “Who needs another social network when I can just tweet something in under a minute?” Let me show you something that you don’t get with Facebook or Twitter, but that Google+ makes available to you.
What happens when you post something on Facebook? Sometimes nothing (it’s okay to admit it). Other times people comment, like and share. Then… Other posts. They drown that post you made. It goes down the Facebook tunnel, for no one to really see it. You can’t really search for it either.
Here is what’s different with Google+. A “post” is more like an actual blog post. It has the potential to rank. If your post is relevant to someone’s search query, it may appear in his search results (even more likely if you are in his circle); your post is not “wasted”. It’s more of an asset.
While it’s probably a little too early to start celebrating, the fact is it’s never too early to plan for a successful holiday promotion for your business. While the ‘business big guns’ are unleashing their onslaught of marketing on television, magazines, billboards, radio and newspapers, the small guys like us need to be much smarter and more nimble at this time of year, and social media is just the thing to make that happen.
It’s that time of the year where people are thinking about gifts, the ones they care about and of course, their most valued clients. People are more outgoing, happy and in a giving mood so it makes sense to take advantage of the festivity by extending that energy to your social media campaigns.
Here are some ideas to make the most of it by doing things a little differently to everyone else:
1. Look The Part
A really obvious but very effective idea is to change your social media backgrounds to reflect the Christmas spirit. This is a really easy and quick way to inject some character and fun into your messaging, especially on your Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts. Your clients and followers will get a kick out of it too! You can find some really excellent background templates of Christmas-themed graphics with tinsel, Christmas trees and Santa Claus by doing some searches on Google. Many of them are even free.
If you sell products then it’s a great time to run a contest or promotion as you will most likely sell a ton. Just make sure you wrap up your promotion or contest at least a week before Christmas to eliminate any stress that last-minute shipping can bring. You definitely don’t want your customers getting their presents late!
3. Give Generously
This is also a perfect time to give back to the community in any way that you truly believe in. Why not donate 10% of your sales of a specific product or service to your favorite charity? Then you can rally your following to help support your cause at the same time. This is a great win-win situation because you bring good karma to your business, make extra sales, do good for others and bolster your reputation.
4. Build Excitement
The ideal way to roll out your marketing is to build momentum to a fever pitch. You need to do this by being really consistent and that means – planning. Create a schedule and break down exactly what you want to do week-by-week leading up to Christmas. If you’re running a competition or promotion, put it on the schedule. If you’re going to give out a free recipe e-book put it on the schedule too. This way you take away a lot of the stress and your efforts will be much more effective. Obviously you should have everything wrapped up at least 5 days before Christmas.
There is a reason why big companies are using Instagram to spread the word about their business; it’s working for them! You can make it work for you too, if you do it the right way.
Today we will talk about a few steps you can take to give Instagram your best shot, by creating a win-win-win situation for you, your potential customers and Instagram itself. You wouldn’t want to miss out on 80 million potential customers, would you?
Remember that Instagram is much more than a place where you can upload pictures. It’s a social platform. It’s meant for you to interact with other people – a photo that someone uploaded made you giggle? Leave a comment and say it (and Like it!).
Also, make sure to reply to the comments that people leave on your pictures, especially if they are reporting an issue that they are having with a service or product you provide. It’s very easy for people to start complaining about your product on any of their social accounts, and it can go viral if they mention that you’ve seen their complaint on your page, but have ignored it.
Social networks are the perfect place to show that you care about your customers and that you can make everyone happy (or at least try to!) and build trust amongst your followers.
I don’t know about you, but I always wonder what’s behind that “Staff Only” door EVERYTIME I see it – it doesn’t matter which company I go to. I know other people who do too. Chances are, it’s not just them and me. People are curious.
Snap a picture of the “Only Staff Members Allowed” room and share it with everyone. Selling a product? How about uploading a pic of the making of it? Show people your business from a completely different perspective. Some of them will love you just for that!
Create your own hashtag…& promote its use!
Give the users incentive to use your hashtag when sharing your pictures (or pictures of them using your product!). How? Maybe by offering a discount or free gift to each person who does. Some businesses have done it, and it works great!
This also allows you to monitor how much your brand is being shared and talked about (you can’t really do that if you use something generic).
Like uploading your photos right before bed after a long day at work? Don’t. Other people are going to bed too. Find some time to share your pictures at 5 or 6 p.m. (your local time).
These are not just numbers thrown out there like that; studies have actually been made! It makes sense though; many people check their social accounts right after work. By catching them at this time, you will increase your chances of generating more likes, comments and shares.