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

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Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014: The 10 Biggist Predictions

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 Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014: The 10 Biggist Predictions

The 10 Big Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014

The age of innocence is over. Social media is moving from adolescence to post pubescent, facial hair growing adulthood.

In 2008 when I started on Facebook and Twitter it was fun, frivolous and social. Social media was unencumbered by the past, was encouraged by the future and treated as a toy by the big end of town. Automation was frowned upon and yelled down.

Today the legacy players in technology,  IBM, Oracle and Adobe  amongst others have built and are evolving “Enterprise Class” social media marketing platforms and infrastructure. Facebook and Twitter have become public companies and social startups are not just seen as the playthings of geeks.

It’s become serious business.

So what’s this mean to you?

It means many things and will impact at various levels and intensity across business, marketing and publishing. It will affect your planning, how you resource and even your corporate culture.

The game is still changing and you will need to continue or even start to adapt and evolve.  The old analog paradigms of print and mass media marketing and publishing are being pushed and pummelled. They are being held more accountable and measurable.

Social media maturity means implementing processes and platforms. Boring at times but efficient.

So what are the emerging social media marketing trends in 2014?

#1. Pay to play

Facebook likes were the start and the finish of Facebook marketing. Obtain 100,000 likes and you could reach a big crowd. Facebook becoming public means the shareholders want a return. That means that free reach is diminishing and paying for it is almost becoming the necessary evil.

Twitter has developed self serve ads like Facebook over the last 12 months in the USA and is now rolling it out into the UK and beyond. Yes, even Pinterest’s first promoted pins and advertising went live in October 2013.

It is becoming pay to play on social. The free lunch is much looking a touch smaller.

#2. Planning becomes a necessary evil

No longer is it enough to say that you do social media marketing because you have a Facebook and Twitter page. The increasing complexity means you need a strategic social media marketing plan. This means  defining your goals, audience and allocating a budget and appropriate resources just for starters.

It’s now time to write that social media marketing strategy.

#3. Brands out-publish traditional publishers

Social media has given us the power, platforms and world reaching networks to all become publishers. Innovative and creative brands and businesses are realizing that social media and content publishing are synergistic cousins and cohorts. Create multimedia content and share it on social networks and you start global conversations.

Brands such as Red BullGeneral Electric and Lorna Jane are becoming media companies and publishers with powerful results. Red Bull even has its own media company with nearly 150 employees. The humble blog  is leaving its training wheels in the shed. Content is now where it’s at. Mass media is starting to struggle to compete with the amplification and viral velocity of  social content driven by the crowd. Octoly discovered that 99% of brand conversations on YouTube are created by fans and followers.

Crowd sourced marketing is now becoming the norm rather than an afterthought.

#4.Visual social takes center stage

Visual social content  is now a serious contender in social media marketing due to the convergence of a few factors.

  • The rapid market penetration of smart phones and tablets
  • The widespread availability of high speed wireless networks
  • The decreased cost of data that makes high definition uploads cost effective
  • The emergence of focused visual media social networks such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram

Add the emergence of visual content marketing platforms such as Shuttlerock and it’s a trend that is helping companies drive brand awareness and sales.

#5. Social mobile is now mandatory

The rise of mobiles and their almost universal acceptance and use means that optimizing your social content for mobile is vital. This runs on a few levels.

This includes:

  • Make sure your blog is viewable on mobile devices by using responsive WordPress templates
  • Visual content such as images and video needs to be made easy to view on smart phones and tablets

12 months ago it was a nice to have but is now becoming essential.

#6. Social media automation is no longer a dirty word

Automation used to be a dirty word on social but doing “social at scale” means that you have no choice. New emerging startups such as Sprinklr are helping brands do social and digital marketing efficiently. Traditional technology companies such as Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce are acquiring and integrating Enterprise class social media infrastructure into their product offerings.

This trend is also seeing the maturing of previously free platforms such a Hootsuite to grow up and offer platforms that offer a solution and one portal for your social media marketing.

#7. Wearable social takes big baby steps

Google glass is offering the promise of  doing social at the blink of an eye and with the movement of lips. 2014 will see the emergence of wearable technology that takes social out of your hand and onto your wrist and face. Samsung is also in the game with other startups trying to get a position on the starting line. The other vendor to watch here is Apple. Will they or won’t they play?

The two other important questions on this trend are, “what will be the adoption rate?” and “what will be its impact for social media marketers?” Look forward to reviewing the numbers in 2015.

#8. Google+ starts moving content

Facebook’s necessity of monetizing its social network to appease shareholders and become a sustainable business could be creating an interesting tangential sideshow. It could be pushing users into Google’s arms by using Google+. Google plus is not a source of revenue and doesn’t need to make money. It is helping feed the search beast’s golden search goose called “Google Adwords”

With over half a billion user and growing it is now becoming a vital cog in SEO, social media marketing and content moving. My blog has seen an increase of over 300% in content amplification on Google+.

Google  plus needs to be on your social media event horizon.

#9.  The increasing authority of online influencers

Klout and Kred were two of the first movers to allocate online influencers some credibility. This was at first seen as imagined rather than true and authentic. As online influencers in their niches have grown tribes and followers on social networks brands are starting to come out to play.

Brands have done this in the past on traditional media and that is why mass media influencers such as Tiger Woods is sponsored by Nike.  This is starting to happen on social media. The question isn’t “should we?” It is more about  ”how can we?

The power of the social micro niche influencer on a global scale is now becoming evident and real. Expect to see this trend become more visible in 2014.

#10. Brands start ignoring mass media in larger numbers

The first inkling of this was seen when Beyonce launched a new album in December last year. She ignored the traditional 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.

A success?

The unofficial numbers are said to be 365,000 album downloads on the first day and 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours. Beyonce has her own distribution network and its called “social media”. The power of  her fans and crowd sourced marketing is now apparent to all. An interesting question here is “does she need traditional mass media?”

Expect to see to see more of this in 2014.

Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/01/07/the-10-big-social-media-marketing-trends-in-2014/#1ygT3tbh4RErQ7z9.99

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)

English: Screenshot of the social media toolbo...

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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