Important Social Media Facts and Statistics You Should Know in 2014

Standard

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?

Aside

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…

Standard

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.

The 10 Best Social Media Predictions for 2014

Standard
Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente

Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente (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 make adjustments to their products and services to adapt to the changing needs of their customers. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page or email me at thomaswrightsulcer@yahoo.com (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)

817

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.

crystal ball

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.

There you have it. What’s your best guess at 2014? The comments are yours.

The Benefits of Quality Content and Genuine Social Engagement

Standard

The Benefits of Quality Content and Genuine Social Engagement

ImageWith every algorithm update, Google is making SEO more and more complex. The company has expressed its desire to improve the quality of their search results, filtering out spammers and content of lower relevance — but how that ‘relevance’ is determined is becoming increasingly difficult to understand to a definitive degree. The elements that are regularly highlighted by Google are ‘quality content’ and ‘genuine engagement’.

The issue with quality content is that it’s less scientific. Less certainty in the process means more research, more work and, ultimately, more investment to ensure best results for your online presence. This can be a frightening prospect for companies — you can’t just go to Google Adwords and ensure all the relevant search terms are included on your webpage, you need people to be actually reading your content to up that relevance rating. Real people and real engagement.

The one metric that is totally clear is the need for social engagement. How many ‘Likes’, ‘re-Tweets’, webpage links — these elements are being weighted more heavily by search engines. The social media aspect, which used to only form a part of the SEO puzzle, is becoming more influential. The idealistic result of this is that users get a better quality experience all round, but the underlying motivator is that, over time, organic results will be diluted to the point that brands will have to pay to get best ROI. The only way to combat this is to create great, sharable, engaging content and become an active participant on social platforms. But what’s the best way do you do it? How do you know that the content you’re investing in will give your company the best results? Here are a couple of points to keep in mind:

  1. Quality content is what your clients want to read, not what you want to tell them. You can’t just load up your company website with a heap of updates on what the company’s doing, how you’re helping clients, etc. These are all sales pitches and, in the majority, these won’t be widely read. You’re caught up in the corporate culture and the internal wins and losses, so the temptation is to write about them, show the people how good the company is, sell them on that culture that you, yourself are invested in, but you need to take a step back and think about what the clients want to know. What are the articles you’re reading each day? What is of interest to you, as an industry expert? What are the things clients need your services for? If you are not an industry expert, not following all the relevant influencers in your field, then you need to be and you need to be viewing their insights from the client’s point of view. Inform clients of industry trends and updates, write about positive stories in which your brand has had an influence, but always be wary of the sales angle. Social media is about building relationships, rather than booking sales. The more you’re able to establish the first, the easier the second will become.
  2. Content that gets highly shared is content with heart. Real stories, real storytelling, actually getting to the humanity of something, rather than corporate messaging. All businesses affect the lives of real people, many in very positive ways, and these stories are gold. They are not only great to tell, but they show the genuine passion of your brand. If you can express that passion in an engaging way, you can create strong, shareable stories that will help expand the reach of your business, which has benefits across all aspects. Take time to think about different angles to your corporate stories, try and find the heart and humanity in what you do as a company and where your brand is able to help. And again, make it story first, corporate messaging second. You don’t need to sell to your clients straight up, you’re working to establish a connection, to communicate on a deeper level.
  3. Take time to engage in your online community. It’s one thing to use Twitter to respond to client concerns and queries, but you shouldn’t stop there. Look to have a presence on all social media platforms and in their respective communities, become part of them, participate where you can. You’ll often see a company representative drop into a conversation on Twitter or Facebook with no real introduction, saying ‘give me a call at *** and we can help you out’. This is not real engagement. You’re likely to build better customer relationships if you talk to people on a human level, offer advice and links to online articles (not necessarily your own company content) and show them that you’re the expert in your field. The opportunity to convert these contacts into clients will come, you don’t need to rush it. By being present and being a trusted part of the conversation, you will establish better relationships for ongoing business. And be honest and positive, at all times. Going online and trashing your opposition, using a half-truth to initiate a business conversation — these tactics do not benefit the establishment of ongoing partnerships.

As with anything, the approach you take will vary dependent on the industry, but the way to solidify your online presence, making your company more resilient to SEO algorithmic changes and enabling you to make best use of social media, is through the creation of engaging content and the establishment of trusted networks. It takes time and investment, but it will pay off, over and over again.

Ten Best Social Media Predictions for 2014

Standard
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

31
357
128
516

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.

crystal ball

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.

2014 Social Media Tricks, Tools & Trends

Standard
all marketers are digital, all marketers are s...

all marketers are digital, all marketers are social (Photo credit: gregverdino)

English: Social Media Team logo

English: Social Media Team logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Image representing RebelMouse as depicted in C...

Image by None via CrunchBase

Image representing BuzzStream as depicted in C...

Image by None via CrunchBase

Image representing Clickz as depicted in Crunc...

Image by None via CrunchBase

2014 Social Media Tricks, Tools & Trends

•Join us in New York for ClickZ Live: the global conference series designed by Digital Marketers, for Digital Marketers.

When it comes to covering the news, getting the visual word out, and capturing the ROI moment, social media proved itself as an influencer in paid, earned, owned, and even traditional media.

NBC’s “Today” show joined the social love club with a rebranding and reinventing this year unveiling the #orangeroom. Headed by celebrity host @CarsonDaily, the #orangeroom is a social newsroom within a traditional newsroom, it’s not only part of the physical set of the NBC morning talk show pimped out with everything from sliding high definition monitors with visual social slices of news, but it also increases the reach, power, and influence.

The Social Newsroom

As brands set the social media stage for 2014, social newsrooms are proving to be a critical tool that serve as the hub that merges traditional, digital, social and mobile news.

RebelMouse made significant strides this year and now offers small brands, domains, enterprises, and publishers a way to unleash content in a visual, social and mobile way. Founded by the former CTO of the Huffington Post Paul Berry, RebelMouse powers up a brand’s social newsrooms by curating, populating, and publishing real time news.

Brands as Publishers

The concept of brands acting as publishers becomes more of a survival tactic than a novelty in 2014. Content continues to be king, but the stakes are higher and the bar is raised for quality content.

Resources such as TekGroup and Pressfeed offer companies a content publishing solution to give brands a way to easily incorporate online newsrooms as part of a content strategy that hits all the 2014 marks of newsworthy, social, mobile, and visual.

Other bookmark and spin-worthy finds that blend the best of SEO, social media and public relations in 2014 include relationship and influence builder BuzzStream and Inkybee, a blogger outreach and relationship enhancing tool for communications and SEO pros, alike.

Fans Like Brands on Mobile

Home Court Advantage

No doubt, the mobile movement is here and it’s taking up permanent residence in the marketing department. That’s why brands like the Boston Celtics made it a priority to launch the first official mobile show by an NBA team called “Home Court Advantage”, giving fans mobile access to exclusive and unique content before each game.

More Social Media Tools and Platforms for 2014 from the Experts

Social Media ExpertsRebecca Murtagh, author of “Million Dollar Websites: Build a Better Website Using Best Practices of the Web Elite”, said Hootsuite is one of her favorite social media platforms heading into 2014. Why?

“It allows marketers to easily and collaboratively drive traffic from social networks back to owned media such as the company website or blog; a best practice in getting the ROI out of social,” Murtagh said.

TheSelfie by GabbaGoods is the trending new social media tool heading into 2014 for Sarah Evans Digital Media Correspondent and creator of #journchat the first TwitterChat. It doubles as an iPhone accessory and social media conversation piece this season. She put it to Social PR work as a visual, mobile, social way to promote a public relations media tour.

“#TheSelfie was the inspiration for my recent #NYCselfietour with my client’s team,” said Evans. It worked as a means to document the tour in a fun and interactive #selfie kind of way.

TheSelfie

Certainly one to watch in 2014 is Majestic SEO Search Explorer tool and backlink analysis toolset, according to Mel Carson, founder of Delightful Communications and co-author of “Pioneers of Digital”.

“I’m very proud to be their U.S. Ambassador and have helped them start getting into the digital PR space by showing how Majestic can be used for influencer discovery, building media lists and measuring the impact of PR campaigns,” Carson said.

If Kristi Kellogg, content associate with Bruce Clay Inc., had to choose the ultimate social media app heading into 2014, it would be Tweepi, a suite of Twitter account management tools that allow you to easily identify who’s following you. Other runners up include: TweetDeck as a dashboard; Pixlr for photo editing; Bitly for shortening URLs; and Klout for social authority measurement.

“I will continue to use all of these in 2014,” Kellogg said.

Considering all the stats pointing to video in 2014, Sarah Van Elzen, director of social media at Hanson Dodge Creative, said her 2014 social media must-have list includes any platform/app that showcases video (Vine, Instagram Video, or Snapchat video).

“Creating short, educational videos or brief, engaging videos requires creative talent and strategy,” Van Elzen said. These platforms tell stories better than a press release and encourage virality and sharing.

Facebook and CRM Connect!

Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics CEO, likes Facebook’s custom audiences as we head into 2014.

“It is a good thing that CRM and social are finally able to talk to each other and in 2014 brand should be taking advantage of this powerhouse way to email marketing with social,” Yu said.

Social Media Plugin Favorites for 2014 Hit List

WpLeadMagnet.com is a favorite of Neil Patel co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, because it lets you block your content and requires people to share it before they can read it.

Another favorite of Patel’s: Flare by Digital Telepathy “as it is pretty social sharing icons, unlike all of the ugly ones out there.”

Last but not least is Buffer, “because it helps you increase the chances that you’ll get more traffic from the social web,” he said.

Aaron Agius, general manager for Louder Online, agreed that wpleadmagnet.com is one of the top social sharing plugins for 2014 because “the content locker is a great way to seed the content out socially to a wide audience.”

Agius said he also loves Digg Digg (created by the Buffer team) because of the options available for the different social networks that content can be automatically shared to. He is also a big fan of Buffer, the scheduling options (being able to send messages out when your target audience is actually online and most active) and sheer number of social profiles you can connect through their app are simply awesome.

“The Buffer team is kicking massive goals online and it is for good reason. The app is amazing and used by some of the most famous Internet entrepreneurs, including Tim Ferriss,” Agius said.

When it comes getting the party started in the comments section of a blog, it’s Livefyre, said Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich.

“I don’t know why blogs use any other commenting platform. It is the best out there,” Dietrich said.

What’s OUT

Data is in, but it’s the right data that really matters! Low level reporting and insights are OUT. Social media plans and analytics that show business value are IN.

“Clients don’t want to see a ticker of how big their communities have grown; they need to understand the fundamental value that social media can bring,” said Van Elzen. “This means setting a baseline with clients upfront and developing strategies that speak to the company’s bottom line. It’s no longer just about having a presence with consistent posts and tweets.”

Another 2013 fizzle was the infamous “(not provided)”, the Google bomb that dropped the collective jaws of online marketers. Google taking away keyword and referral source data was the big fizzle, Yu said.

The Free Ride is Over, Social Paid is Here!

“Organic social media efforts are still in, but it looks as though social advertising will gain more traction as the ROI driver in 2014. In fact, reports recently came out that suggest it will be harder to succeed in Facebook unless you pay to play,” said Jessica Lee, founder of bizbuzzcontent.

“As Facebook continues to monetize its social platform, brands are going to have to decide if the paid model is worth the effort,” Lee said. “My guess is that Facebook is so engrained in the marketing psyche, that brands will continue to focus efforts there no matter what the cost. And this is likely true across the board with all the major social networks. Social advertising is evolving to become a standard in social engagement, even at Google+.”

Pinterest Not a Score for Everyone in 2013!

The Boston Celtics gave Pinterest a try to help the team move merchandise in 2012-13, but it didn’t prove to be effective, according to Peter Stringer, senior director of digital media.

“We don’t have the manpower to spend time and energy on platforms that don’t produce results for us,” he said. “While Pinterest may be really effective for other brands, for us it never really moved the needle. So we won’t spend much time at all with it this season.”

Summary

What’s your social media favorite for 2014? Sharing might be IN, but the stakes are higher, measures are closer, values are clearer and paying to play is part of the game.


ClickZ Live New YorkSee what’s on the Agenda!
Mar 31 – Apr 3 – ClickZ Live is a brand new global conference series kicking off in New York City. Learn how to improve customer engagement and attain maximum ROI, and gain invaluable digital marketing and advertising take-aways. Find out more ››
*Super Saver Rates expire Jan 24.

Commenting policyAdd a Comment

You must be logged in to comment
Post
3 Comments
Tweets
Discussion Highlights
sophie_tran
Great list of top-notch tools for Social media marketing and management. I currently use quite a few including Buffer (my fave so far). I have also used RebelMouse for live events. Recently started using G+ and Livefyre and I’m very impressed and can’t wait to try Digg Digg. Bookmarking all of these tools now to check out later!

12 Hours Ago
· Reply
NickStamoulis
“My guess is that Facebook is so engrained in the marketing psyche, that brands will continue to focus efforts there no matter what the cost.”I think that’s a fair guess. But I also think marketers will look to more heavily invest in other social networks as well. It’s dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket and risk your whole social media budget on one network.

JessicaLee and lisabuyer like this.

14 Hours Ago
· Reply
lisabuyer
I totally agree! But Facebook is the dominating social force right now, even though it was less expensive to dominate and get ROI a year ago. Too many brands played the “wait and see” game. Now they are paying to catch up – big time.
JessicaLee likes this.

13 Hours Ago
· Reply