Important Social Media Facts and Statistics You Should Know in 2014

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There was a tipping point last year that has major implications for business and brands. It will impact publishing and marketing strategies and tactics in the future. One of the worlds biggest music stars ignored the traditional mass media product launching process. She bypassed the “normal” mass media release of a radio campaign, multiple TV appearances and retail and consumer brand promotions. Instead she announced it on Instagram to her 8 million followers with the word “Surprise” and proceeded to launch the 14 songs and accompanying 17 videos on iTunes. It was a success and it exceeded the album downloads of the previous album which had used the traditional marketing model. Its a trend that is not going away anytime soon. Build your own networks now! Businesses who are relentless in building a following on social media are in fact creating their own publishing platforms, growing their marketing channels and content distribution networks. It is a digital asset that grows every year. Over time it can can provide huge leverage and marketing independence if done right. So with that in mind let’s have a look at where the major social media networks are up to at the start of 2014. Social web demographics Social media is a blur of tweets, shares and content. No longer is it just used by the young and the restless. It is global and embedded in every corner of the web. So some questions. Which age groups are using social media, what countries are big Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare users and what percentage are using mobile to access social media? This is the who and the where of social media users. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage The 30-49 bracket sits at 72% 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media Time spent on Facebook per hour spent online by country. Here are the top three. USA citizens get the top gong at 16% followed by the Aussies at 14 minutes and the Brits at 13 minutes. 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. The paradigm of social media only being used by the younger generation should be put to rest now. Facebook Facebook is still the biggest kid on the block, but there are some pundits predicting that by 2016 Google+ will surpass Facebook on “social sharing”. Here are some of the latest figures to mull over. There are now over 1.15 billion Facebook users One million web pages are accessed using the “Login with Facebook” feature 23 percent of Facebook users login at least 5 times per day 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers Google+ Prying the numbers out of Google for Google+ has always been a challenge. A bit like getting a date with the prettiest girl in the class. Not impossible but it doesn’t happen very often. So what are the latest numbers? There are now over 1 billion with Google+ enabled accounts It has reached 359 million monthly active users Google+ is growing at 33% per annum. The 45 to 54 year old bracket increased its usage on Google+ by 56% since 2012 When you consider that Google+ has only been around for less than three years, then it is a success on many levels. So Google must be happy with with its investment, which is north of $500 million that it initially invested in Google+ Twitter Twitter has to be taken seriously. Last year it took off its short pants and become a public company. So what is happening in the Twittersphere? There are now over 550 million registered users 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads Twitter was the fastest growing network with a 44% growth from 2012-2013 215 million monthly active users Twitter has also made some changes in the last few months that has made it more visual and engaging. Business should no longer be ignoring the 140 character pip squeak. The others We haven’t mentioned some important social media channels. These include. Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare and many others. This year expect the visual social media networks to hit more home runs. Keep an eye on these two: Pinterest with 20 million active monthly users Instagram with 150 million active monthly users. Here is an Infographic from Search Engine Journal that provides a visual medium for the social media facts and statistics you should know in 2014. Social Media Facts and statistics you need to know

Social Media Facts and statistics you need to know

Is This the Next Big Thing in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

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Categories: Content MarketingEmail MarketingSocial MediaSocial Media Marketing

Is This the Next Big Thing in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Most marketers approach the new year with a burst of resolve and a vow to tick off items on their marketing wish lists. But the digital world is evolving so rapidly that many marketers are left wondering which trends and technologies will endure beyond 2014, and which will just be flashes in the pan.

My big prediction for 2014 is that “consumers will become the new content marketers“. We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king” countless times, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that user-generated content is heir to the throne.

The explosion of mobile and mobile-focused networks like Vine and Instagram have made it easier than ever for consumers to create and share video, giving brands the opportunity to aggregate this content into powerful and authentic brand messaging. On Dec. 17 Facebook announced it will begin supporting video advertising for both mobile and desktop social users, further underlining the emergence of video as a powerful tool that crosses the boundaries of advertising, social media and both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing.

Here are four ways that you can empower consumers to become content-producing brand advocates in 2014 when planning your content marketing strategy:

#1. Tie social to traditional advertising

In 2014, bust social out of the silo by weaving a social layer across campaigns to inspire audiences to create and share content.

Include hashtags in your TV ads, print ads, in-store displays, and events to drive more conversation. Get even more participation by offering coupons or prizes.

Digital and social are transforming TV ads too. Recent research from Nielsen found that 88 percent of marketers believe that integrated multi-screen campaigns will become very important in the next three years. To compete, marketers must extend their TV ad campaigns across multiple channels — like real-time video ads and hashtag campaigns on social media. This year, watch for new and compelling ways to engage your consumers across all devices and screens. Brands like Dunkin’ Donuts are already using Vine videos in Monday Night Football television ads to tie together social and television advertising.#2.

#2. Connect the dots between social and email

Email and social are two powerful channels with a symbiotic relationship. In combination, they build, target and convert brand audiences, turning thousands of fans into loyal brand advocates.

According to a recent report from ExactTarget, 70 percent of marketers find product or prize giveaways to be an effective tactic for audience acquisition. These incentives prompt fans to opt into email lists, creating lasting relationships with customers like never before.

For example, Giant Eagle ran a Facebook sweepstakes for free tanks of gas, and included a call-to-action to sign up for their email list. By touting access to “exclusive offers,” they received more than 45,000 email opt-ins.

This year, kick performance up a notch by collecting user preference data to get unique insights about the interests of your consumers, and use them to create lists for targeted content and offers.  This will help optimize campaigns and increase revenue.

#3. Embrace social’s role in driving commerce

Still believe social media is just about engagement? That’s so 2013. Companies are now driving sales directly from social channels, and that will only grow in 2014.

One increasingly effective social commerce tactic is mobile couponing. With the explosion of smartphones, Business Insider predicts that 47.1 million consumerswill use mobile coupons in 2014. Offering digital coupons through social channels also adds a viral component. Fans and followers feel compelled to share your deals — an impulse you can stoke with incentives for referrals.

Meanwhile social merchandising — collecting, displaying and curating user-generated content regarding a brand’s products — has blended the capabilities of social marketing with the conversion potential of social commerce. Brands can encourage consumers to submit and share attractive, creative and authentic product information or purchases that link directly to trackable transactions.

Social data gets a lot of buzz. In 2014, we’ll start to see its practical application in driving commerce. Brands will seek user input via social channels to make product and marketing decisions. By building user content and feedback into their business model, they can make a measurable impact.

Online retailer ModCloth has found success in applying user data to inform their inventory decisions. Their “Be the Buyer” program allows consumers to vote for the designs that ModCloth will sell on their site. Items created as a result of the “Be the Buyer” program sell twice as much overall as other inventory.

#4. Increase the frequency of your social campaigns

A few years back, brands ran a single marketing campaign for months on end. But the rise of social has turned brands into publishers, constantly cranking out new content and campaigns. Moreover, social gives brands the freedom to create and launch campaigns on the fly — amplifying everything from product launches to flash sales. To stay competitive, you need to run multiple, frequent campaigns that engage multiple segments of your audience.

But don’t limit your campaigns to Facebook. As Pinterest, Twitter, and other networks build their user base, you’ll need to engage and convert those audiences too. You should have distinctive campaign strategies for each network. Consider cross-network campaigns that pull in entries from multiple networks, like Vine, Instagram and Twitter, via a hashtag.

Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/09/is-this-the-next-big-thing-in-your-content-marketing-strategy/#wMxcZte4lbBE0uTs.99

Social Media Is Not the Savior, But…

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ImageIt’s still surprising how many businesses are ignoring social media. I’ve heard the various arguments against – that it’s a fad, that it’s mostly kids (nope), that there’s no significant value-add – but none of these stack up in the face of ever-growing data to the contrary. I’ll admit, even I was once sceptical of the benefits of social media. I viewed social media as complimentary to traditional media channels, nothing more. It would never overtake traditional press and broadcast platforms. It would never become a critical pulse for business. I was wrong. And now, while I can understand where those opposing views stem from, my response to these people is that you’re viewing social from the wrong perspective. In 2014 it’s going to be more important than ever that your business has an active social media presence. Here’s a couple of the points to pass on to the unconvinced as to why social media is more valuable than they may think:

1) Don’t think in terms of immediate value, but in potential value. Some brands might be able to ignore social media, go on about their business as they always have, leave those new channels to others. Some brands can do this and suffer little negative impact, but the more important element here is that by ignoring social media channels, you are missing out on massive opportunities that are waiting to be taken up. There are millions of conversations happening on social media everyday, some of themare relevant to your business. By ignoring them, maybe you’re not losing anything from what you currently have, but you are missing out new opportunities. Having a dedicated social presence takes time and investment, but it has the potential to produce amazing results, many of which you wouldn’t even be aware of if you didn’t actively track and participate these conversations. Or, in more immediate terms, there are opportunities out there, right now, that you’re not aware of because you’re not actively participating in social media conversations. They’re going on as we speak.

2) People say things like ‘Likes’ don’t mean anything – ‘anyone can press the ‘Like’ button because it costs nothing and there’s no commitment’. This is true, pressing ‘Like’ or re-tweeting something doesn’t translate to direct revenue for your business, but that’s not necessarily the point. The first relevant point of these endorsements is the data you gain – you can see what gets a response and use that in future planning. But more importantly, as soon as someone presses ‘Like’, they allow you access to their NewsFeed – you can advertise to them directly (though NewsFeed algorithm changes have affected this). Maybe they ignore your messages, maybe they ‘un-Like’ your page, but it’s a way in, a starting point for future conversations. Social media is about relationships and you need to establish the network before you can sell to it. Re-tweets spread your message, giving you the data and expanding brand awareness via the extended followers for every re-tweeter. It’s not money in the bank, it’s the start of the conversation, which is, potentially, just as valuable. Latest studiesclearly show ROI is improving for both B2B and B2C companies, those results are only going to improve.

3) The amount of readily available consumer data is of significant value to your brand. You would have heard all the reports of the amount of data people are putting online. Big data allows you to target your message more than ever before and the degree to which you can focus your advertising is amazing, and can produce amazing results. A simple example – a friend of mine is in a band and they were recently touring interstate. Their band is not well-known, but they have been compared to another, very well-known band. In order to get the word out about their upcoming gig, they advertised on Facebook – they were able to target all users who were fans of that more well-known band within a 100km radius of the venue where they would be playing with sponsored ads that appeared in those users’ NewsFeeds. The result? They sold out the show in record time, the first show they’d sold out in that state. This, all by utilising data readily available via social platforms. If your brand isn’t considering how they can utilise this, you really need to think over your strategy.

These are just some of the reasons why social media is crucial to the future of business. Social platforms continue to grow and diversify. If your brand is not active on these channels, not investing in social media management and monitoring, you really need to be asking whether you can afford to let these opportunities slip. And whether your competitors will approach things in the same way.

Maybe time to add another resolution to your 2014 list.

An Insider’s Guide to Social Contest Platforms

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Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing Piqora as depicted in Crunc...

Image by None via CrunchBase

English: A collage of an image modified with 1...

English: A collage of an image modified with 16 different Instagram filters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: a man during the 2011 Egyptian protes...

English: a man during the 2011 Egyptian protests carrying a card saying “Facebook, #jan25, The Egyptian Social Network” illustrating the vital role played by social networks in initiating the uprising. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Insider’s Guide to Social Contest Platforms


One of the best ways for brands to garner visibility on the social Web is with promotions like contests and sweepstakes. The rules and regulations of social networks, however, can turn this fun task into a rather large headache. For instance, Pinterest recently announced updates to its Acceptable Use Policy that put numerous restrictions on brands running contests and sweepstakes on the image-based social network. One of the rules prohibits brands from running contests that require participants to Pin from a specific selection, like a website or a list of pins. Conversely, brands on Facebook cannot ask their audience to share promotions on personal Timelines (including their own) as a way to enter a contest. That being said, staying compliant with social network rules is actually just the tip of the iceberg. Brands must also take into consideration how they will track contest entries, host contest terms and conditions and announce winners. Luckily, there are a variety of platforms on the ‘Net that can ease the social promotion process – helping brands with everything from the content landing page to their marketing. Learn more about these platforms and their features below:


Wishpond

Supports Contests On: Facebook+ Brands can run a variety of social promotions via Wishpond’s Contest Apps on their Facebook Pages, including contests for Pinterest and Instagram. This means, for example, that brands can create a Pin-to-Win contest that is actually hosted on Facebook. Aside from multi-channel contests, it is important to note that Wishpond’s robust Contest Apps are compatible with mobile devices, are compliant with Facebook guidelines, can be embedded on websites, enable brands to collect email addresses from participants and can even require participants to Like a page in order to enter a contest.


Piqora

Supports Contests On: Pinterest and Instagram Piquora supports contests and sweepstakes on image-based social networks Pinterest and Instagram. With Pinterest, brands can see which pins are most engaging, as well as view all participants and their eligibility in a single dashboard. The platform supports a variety of promotion types and provides templates so users can customize their contest landing pages. Brands can also launch Instagram hashtag contests with Piqora, which can help users grow their community and get discovered on the social network. Additionally, marketers can create customizable mobile-friendly landing pages for their Instagram contests and can monitor participation through an automated tracking dashboard.


Votigo

Supports Contests On: Facebook, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest The Votigo social marketing platform supports contests on most of the ’Net’s most popular social networks. Brands can leverage the platform to launch integrated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram contests, YouTube video contests, custom Instagram promotions and more. By integrating multiple channels into social promotions, brands can maximum their exposure and engagement.


Statigram

Supports Contests On: Instagram Brands can grow their Instagram following by launching photo contests through Statigram. In order to launch a contest with this platform, brands simply need to fill out a form and upload their Terms & Conditions. Then, the contest is promoted in Statigram’s contest directory and can be intertwined into a brand’s Facebook Page. Brands also have the ability to moderate contest entries, monitor contest performance and can announce winners and prizes on their contest page.


ShortStack

Supports Contests On: Facebook ShortStack enables brands to create apps for Facebook contests, promotions and sweepstakes. Through the platform, brands can store entry data, implement voting and entry restrictions, as well as allow fans to enter promotions via their Instagram feed. Moreover, brands can also launch user-generated contests, where fans upload videos and photos to be voted on.


These are far from the only platforms that brands can leverage to launch contests. Has your brand found success with a different platform? Let us know in the Comments Section below.

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3 COMMENTS

DennisR 11-20-2013 9:39 PM Great article. Keep it up. I would like to share another product. The <a href=”http://www.360photocontest.com”>360 Photo contest</a> online software solution has been helping non-profit organizations raise money and engage their market in an easy-to-use online photo contest since 2005. As a leading Donate to Vote solution, the solution has helped Orvis, HSUS and hundreds of others raise nearly $3 million in donations for their non-profit organizations.

Lisa Kaslyn, Prosper Communications 11-20-2013 10:14 PM Perfect timing!  I was just agonizing over putting together a Pinterest contest without stepping on a landmine — thanks so much for the great resources.  Keep them coming!

DennisR 11-20-2013 10:15 PM Sorry for the bad html link. Pls disregard previous post. Great article. Keep it up. I would like to share another product. The 360 Photo contest [http://www.360photocontest.com] online software solution has been helping non-profit organizations raise money and engage their market in an easy-to-use online photo contest since 2005. As a leading Donate to Vote solution, the solution has helped Orvis, HSUS and hundreds of others raise nearly $3 million in donations for their non-profit organizations.