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

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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.

Ten Best Social Media Predictions for 2014

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English: Overview of green marketing activities

English: Overview of green marketing activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: American marketing and social media g...

English: American marketing and social media guru, Stephen Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 10 Best Social Media Predictions for 2014

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In my years in marketing and media relations, I’ve learned there is one constant: change. If you can’t embrace it, you will wither on the vine. Peeirng into the crystal ball of 2014, I found some excellent prognostication from people that know much more than I do on what’s next in social media marketing. Here are the ten best I’ve found so far.

1. More real-time marketing. From John Kultgen on PR Daily. When the Oreo Super Bowl ad went viral, the wheels were turning in marketers’ heads everywhere.  Kultgen says, “The brand set a new standard for extremely timely and relevant content. Sporting events, awards shows, and season finales became the source of inspiration for many brand’s posts throughout the year.”  Real-time marketers will help fans engage in an experience. Savvy brands will learn how to do it well, not a la Kenneth Cole.

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2. Whether your real time is faster than my real time will no longer be the problem. From Marketing Profs. “Marketers will begin taking advantage of new capabilities that enable them to act on insights in the very moment they need to act. Speed of delivery will no longer be the problem. The real opportunity is whether an experience can be delivered when it counts for the business—and when it matters most for the consumer.”

3. Word-of-mouth marketing will take off. From Jason Falls on Social Media Explorer. Falls say that consumers will continue their migration away from sponsored messages and banner ads. “We don’t want the blinking lights of Times Square. We’d rather have the relative peacefulness of a stroll around Greenwich Village.”  Falls says marketers are going to have to migrate to Snapchat, Path, Vine, and any other network that connects people but doesn’t have an established business model. But beware, “you’ll only be there for a year or two before the ads emerge and consumers migrate again.”

4. User-generated content will be the hot content commodityFrom Marketing Profs. What many already know, most will start taking advantage of: user-generated content creates loyalty, puts the fan/customer in the driver’s seat, and generates sales. Every fan wears a marketing hat. Rick Mulready dubbed this “embracing fandom” on Entrepreneur.

5. Short form content will dominate. From Julie Fleischer, Director of Media & Consumer Engagement at Kraft (via Content Marketing Institute).  Fleischer predicts that short form sound, sight, and motion will deliver greater viewership and higher engagement than long-form. She predicts, “ brands will compete over who can tell the shortest stories with the biggest impact.” Consumers will be the winners.

6. Niche interest networks will increase in prominence and usage. From Adam Vincenzini on PR Daily. Even though they will never significantly make a dent in the market share of the big channels, they will get more attention in 2014 as marketers who want to stay fresh look to engage the crowd that embraces innovation and change. It’s all about learning to ride the wave.

7. More visual, less text. From Jessica Smith on Social ‘N Sports. Smith cites how images have changed the way we digest social: “photo albums, pictures, and video get 180, 120, and 100 percent more engagement respectively (Facebook).”  We’ll have to push ourselves to keep up with all the channel settings that will enhance visuals for maximum engagement. Note recent Twitter changes.

8. Erasable media. From Dave Kerpen on Inc. Kerpen predicts our desire for the ephemeral will give rise to new channels and move current mainstream social media networks to adopt a disappearing content function. Kerpen attributes this to our increasing desire to personally share with one another. “This means that you’ll have to be prepared to have the results of your hard work in content marketing literally vanish.”

9. Social listening will become a requirement, not an option. From Pam Moore on Marketing Nutz. Moore says, “Brands of all sizes will start to understand that they must invest in social listening strategies, tactics and technologies to truly understand, inspire and connect with their audiences. Managing and protecting brand reputation must start from the inside out.” Preachin’ to the choir.

10. Investment in social media will become a necessity, not a luxury. From Jayson DeMers on Forbes.  As demand for good content and measurable results increase, brands will move from spreading social media duties across existing positions to hiring social media managers, according to DeMers. The era of assigning social media duties to a “tech-savvy, passionate” staff members is over. When companies need outside help, they will be looking for agencies that know social media business, not just social media tools.

Engage , Connect, Converse and Grow are the essentials of Social Media Branding And Marketing

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HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media I...

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media Info and Photo Added to Them (Photo credit: HubSpot)

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English: Screenshot of the social media toolbox for fundraising (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social media is no more the next thing. It has grown bigger and has spread like a wildfire. There is a brand karma associated with social media, when it comes to start-ups who grow to become smart-ups. Why do start-ups adhere to social media so vigorously? The reason is simple. They want to converse, collaborate, engage and finally shape the idea.

So what is it that drives the start-ups to channelize ideas through social media?

The golden word is ‘innovation’. It is actually the thought process that matters. The idea is to take ‘the road less travelled’ and to be able to take the risk than to accept failure. With start-ups there is always a ‘wow-factor’ that needs to be attached at every corner – or else the world is always ready to look for a better replacement.

What is the ROI quotient from social media?

– The ROI in case of social media cannot be easily measured. It comes out as “brand recall” and the perception of your brand to your target market.
– Have a clear overview of your present condition and the efforts you need to put in.
– Chain your thought process. Are you thinking outside the box or just following the crowd?
– Is it the right approach or do you need to add a unique factor to get your presence felt?

The reason: You do not want to get lost in the crowd after some time. It is not just being a name, but to evolve as a brand.

Where is the vantage point? Well, you need to know where you want to be:

Be it a business, research, individual entity or community building, it is essential that you have a USP to put forward. If not, you are perhaps on the same level as any other start-up business. Determine the elements that need to be altered first, so you can know where you are going wrong. Listen to your target market and design your product/services subsequently. Revamping is another factor that must be prevalent in your product designing. Every time you will find new markets, new conversion rates and so on. But what you need to pitch is one big idea that will hit the score. To grab a better stand think what you can offer better than the others even if you have many competitors. So don’t just develop an idea. Keep on fostering and nurturing it. Start engaging users and converse to get better conversion rates!!!

What after planning a social media plan? Start cultivating it constantly to acquire that brand equity:

Social media is not a stagnant sphere where the same old concepts rule. It changes every single moment and thus it becomes pertinent that you take a shift likewise. So stay active and make more friends who will protect your image in case there are some bad omens lurking around you. It is true when you have a visible brand, there will be some anti-elements that will try to spoil your reputation. During those tumultuous times, your consumers will be a boon in disguise. The more you connect and converse, the better you emerge out as a trustworthy brand.

There are a few things that you can keep in mind in this regard:

– Be aware of the social media present that can be used for promotion of your company.
– Follow current trends to get idea about the current market or recent events.
– Check out applications that you think can be of any assistance.
– Keep a check out for the updates so you are always on track.
– Ensure that your target market trusts your brand. This takes time – but must not fade away.

The aim is to stay focused, but think differently. Think, develop, create, engage, experiment, share and grow. The journey from start-ups to becoming smart-ups has a silhouette of elements. All you need to do is to break the shackles and do the new!

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