As the year ends, I’m amazed at the major changes we have seen in the social media space. 2013 will be a pivotal year for digital marketers with significant shifts taking place with how we reach consumers. If the changes seen in 2012 are an indicator, there will be a lot more change in 2013.
First, let’s take a quick look at a few major social media events that took place in 2012:
Social media continues its growth
- Facebook gains its 1 BILLIONth user
- LinkedIn gains 175,000 new users per day
- The impact of social media on the US Presidential election mirrors the impact of social media for all kinds of business uses. The victory post by President Obama is the most Liked post in history.
Social platforms grow and change
- Pinterest – named the best new start-up in 2011, Pinterest continues to be a force for business (and personal users), sending more traffic to sites than any other social platform. 80% of pins on Pinterest are also repinned — suggesting the virality of pins.
- Google+ still struggles – with most businesses posting once then never again and little usage compared with Facebook and Twitter. Yet, Google Hangouts have huge potential, especially now that they allow more than 10 people.
- Facebook’s new timeline confuses users.
What are the pros predicting for social media in 2013?
- e-commerce and Social Media will grow together
- Visual Marketing is taking over
- Facebook will offer better tools for businesses
- Content marketing will be the new social media marketing
- SlideShare will be the Fastest-Growing Social Network
- Twitter will personalize your Twitter feed
- Google+ will be a “must” place to be
- Google+ will appeal to niche segments
- Instagram will grow bigger
- More industries will get serious about social media
- Social media advertising will become a necessity
- New Social Media sites will appear
- Facebook ad network will make waves
- Marketers are increasing social spend
- Social brands will shift to social business
Now is the time to start setting your social media goals for 2013
Looking back on what we have learned in 2012, it’s clear social media is paving the way for customers and how they engage with brands. Have you identified who your social target market is and do you also need to consider how to engage with the executive decision makers? Do you run an e-commerce business or do you hope to champion a cause? Either way, begin aligning your social media marketing goals to reflect the right customer engagement and to reach your overall online marketing goals.
Set definite goals based on your existing 2013 business goals. The social media strategy must be right for your target audience – ‘think with like the customer’. How do they want to be communicated to and which social channel is most appropriate to do this in? Be where they are and talk about what they are interested in. Start developing a social strategy to support customer service. Set viral goals and be sure to inform the business about these structural changes that happening. Lead through information and engagement. One way in educating and sharing information across your business around what’s happening in the social media space this is to set up a ‘social center of excellence‘.
If you are selling a service you will want qualified lead generation and for that you need to educate and inform. If you are selling products you will want to focus on give-away promotions to get new customers and will want to reward loyal customers with special discounts. The goal is not only to increase fans, but to also establish what you will engage about. Your social media expectations for 2013 should be aligned with customer expectations of accountability and social responsibility.
Happy New Years!