With 2013 coming to an end, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have published details of how the world snapped, tagged and posted their way through the year. From the new Pope to pop stars like Justin Bieber, 2013 has seen some familiar faces and surprisingly popular places.
Online Highlights of 2013
Let’s talk Instagram. With more than 150 million users worldwide and around 55 million photos posted everyday, Instagram is the perfect way to look back at the year that has almost gone. Earlier this month, the photo-sharing social network revealed its most popular picture and the most Instagrammed locations, cities and hashtags of 2013.
This year, the most ‘liked’ photo on Instagram was Justin Bieber’s picture with Will Smith, collecting more than a whopping 1.5 million likes.
The top location of the year on Instagram was the Siam Paragon shopping mall and leisure complex in Bangkok, Thailand with Times Square in New York and Disneyland in California in the second and third places respectively. No European landmarks made the list, which also includes New York’s Central Park and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. London was the fourth most geo-tagged city behind New York, Bangkok and Los Angeles.
The year’s top hashtags on Instagram include #friends, #food, #fashion and #selfie with the most popular being #love.
Moving on to Facebook, this year, the most talked about topic on the social network was Pope Francis with Miley Cyrus, Nelson Mandela and the former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also in the top 10. News events that dominated the most talked about topics on Facebook also includes the birth of Prince George.
In Twitter verse, Leah Michele’s post after the death of Glee co-star Cory Monteith and the tweet confirming the death of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker were the most re-tweeted posts of the year.
What’s Google Saying?
In 2013, people searched for:
1. New Beginnings
– On July 22, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy, delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London.
– As of August 19, fifteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, France, Iceland, Netherlands , Brazil, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay) and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Mexico and the United States) allow same-sex couples to marry.
– This year, Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the planet.
– Cory Monteith, 31, actor on the television show “Glee” died on July 13 after struggling with substance abuse for years.
– Nelson Mandela, 95, colossus of the 20th century who emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to the white minority rule in South Africa died on December 5.
– Paul Walker, 40, star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series died on November 30 in a car crash.
3. Consumer Electronics
This year, the most searched-for consumer electronics were:
– The iPhone 5s. Although overall opinion to the debut of Apple’s new smartphone seemed to be positive, there were some moments caught on social media that drew wows while others were just ho-hum.
– Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung’s biggest release this year was the Samsung Galaxy S4.
– PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. According to the annual Google Year-End Zeitgeist, PlayStation 4 beat the Xbox One on the consumer electronics searches chart.
4. Other Global Top Trending Searches
1. Harlem Shake. The Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in the form of a video, which became viral early February 2013. The video currently has 68,406,520 views on YouTube.
2. Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in eastern Massachusetts. This year, during the 2013 Boston Marathon, at 2:50 p.m. EDT, two explosions occurred about 180 m apart on Boylston Street, in the last 205 m of the course. Three spectators were killed and more than 200 people were injured.
3. Malala Yousafzai. In a world where girls are gazed at more than heard, this newsmaker is no less than a revolutionary. Being featured on Time’s magazine cover as the 100 Most Influential People in the world, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, recipient of the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize as well as many other awards and laurels, this girl surely knows how to get her message across. A pen is surely mightier than the sword as they say.
4. Miley Cyrus. The 20-year-old singer took raunchy performances to a whole new level at the MTV Video Music Awards this year with an explicit display of tongue wagging and twerking.
5. Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez. The two most Googled athletes of 2013 include Oscar Pistorius and Aaron Hernandez. Oscar Pistoriusis a South African runner who used prosthetic legs after having both limbs amputated at the age of 11. He won numerous gold medals at the Paralympic Games and participated at the 2012 Olympic Games. Pistorius was a source of inspiration for the disabled until the sad news broke that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Aaron Hernandez has a similar story. A star on the rise, in the summer of 2013, he was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits. He faces a life sentence in prison without parole.
6. Typhoon Haiyan. Typhoon Haiyan was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early November 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record and at least 6,109 people died in that country alone.
A look at Google Zeitgeist
Creating a comprehensive social strategy is a major marketing concern and a continued challenge with the social media environment becoming increasingly complex. However, it is the central element that businesses need to make sense of their social media presence. Without a social strategy, how will you know what to do, how will you measure your performance and how will you determine the ROI of your social media program?
The key to achieving excellence in social media is understanding the different components that make a comprehensive social media strategy.
Branding boils down to being consistent. Across the different social media channels, the same naming, imagery type and color scheme that is part of your branding need to be applied to social media. The challenge is perhaps to keep your voice consistent as well, which is the most important aspect of social media branding. You need to choose a voice to represent your business and choose a tone.
Content in social media provides a medium for businesses to engage with social media users. Informative and shareable content benefit a business’s social media presence. That being said, content is not limited to blog posts and photos. You can think outside the box. Infographics, memes and discussions (for example tweet chats) are all different types of content that you can include in your social strategy.
In social media, if you only talk about yourself, people will lose interest in what you have to say. To breathe life into your social media accounts, you need to curate content that is of interest to your fans and followers and promote it together with your own content. Does your social strategy include sources from which you curate content?
Over the web, there are over 50 active social networks with million of members each. You can’t and should not have a presence on each one of them. You need to choose which social networks to include as part of your social strategy and subsequently determine the best practices and tactical plans for each of these networks.
The next stop is maximizing your ROI for time and resources spent on each social network. No two social sites are alike and based on statistical data, you need to decide how much time and resources you will allocate to, for example, making posts on Facebook and tweeting. More frequent posting does not mean more effective social media marketing.
In 2014, credibility is a huge factor when it comes to doing business, especially online. On your website, you do not have an innocent-looking, struggling 20-year old student named Carla at the checkout to make the customers comfortable to hand over their credit card information to. Your site needs to do that on its own (along with your name/brand).
Credibility not only brings you more purchases, but also higher rankings in the SERPs. Why? Because that’s the actual business model of search engines: serving legitimate, relevant results to their users.
Similarly to the young woman at checkout, there are some factors (or if you prefer, signs) that tell the search engines that you are indeed legit.
Here are some factors that contribute to making your site more credible (There are thousands, but I’m only going to list 4 here):
Low-quality content (for example articles with spelling mistakes) will limit your credibility. If I would find that shady, why would Google not?
I think we all know about backlinks here, but in short, the more links you have from other trustworthy web pages, the better. If you have a technology-related website and have a link from Gizmodo for example, search engines take it that you are more credible than someone with no links or links from an article directory.
Ever saw Wikipedia linking to a shady, or irrelevant page? Me neither. And these guys rank pretty high in the SERPs for A LOT of keywords. Just like a link to you is like the source is “vouching” for you, an outbound link from your site works the same way (well, opposite). So if you have a blog about healthy smoothies and “vouch” for a site offering free Viagra, your rankings may be affected.
I’m going to take the example of Wikipedia again here. Go on any Wikipedia entry about any topic that comes to your mind. The article is FULL of internal links…THAT WORKS. Broken links may cause damage, and so do a lot of 404 errors. Make sure to build a perfect internal linking structure.
Large multi-location brands and small businesses alike are starting to understand the importance of localized social media marketing to drive business growth and profitability. Why is localized social media stalking and interactions suddenly a hot topic among savvy marketers? How is localized marketing an effective marketing maneuver for small businesses and national brands?
For small businesses with no international market or plans to expand in the near future, localized social media marketing makes sense. Take your average local auto shop or specialty-catering company for example, followers from another country offers the benefit of a bigger following and engagement but they are not likely to ever make a purchase.
For national brands alike, focusing on key geographic areas is an effective marketing maneuver to increase business growth and profitability. A local digital marketing strategy increases the reach and impact of the brand in their many locations and helps generate local leads.
How to Get Local on the Social Networks
1. Localize your Social Media Accounts
If your business is focused entirely on a given geographic area, build social pages that link back to a local website and fill out as much location information as possible. On Twitter, this means that you should have your city name mentioned in your user bio. On Facebook and Google+, you can also include a full address and alocal phone number.
For national brands targeting specific locations on social media, it’s a good approach to create secondary social media accounts dedicated to each area. This strategy is of course dependent on a number of variables including time constraints, resources, scalability challenges and brand messaging. If you have the resources to do so, build social pages for each of the brand’s locations on the top social media sites including Twitter and in particular Facebook on account of the recent changes made to the social site including Facebook Nearby and Graph Search.
2. Post Targeted Content
The top social networks including Facebook and Twitter have geo targeting tools that businesses can use to push localized content on the social networks. When used correctly, these tools can significantly increase brand engagement and exposure.
Let’s take an example of how geo targeting tools are useful. Large brands like Starbucks have millions of fans. With fans from all over the world who obviously speak different languages and relate to different things in life, a single global message will not be as impactful as many messages targeted to geographic and demographic audience segments. With Facebook Targeting for example, brands can customize messages to different audiences, increasing the likelihood of exposure and engagement. Facebook enables marketers to target posts by gender, relationship status, age, location and language among other things.