Social Media

January 31st, 2013

Key Social Media Trends to Watch in the Coming Year

It’s hard to believe that the world’s largest social network is almost 10 years old. That’s right — in 2003, Mark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash, the very first version of Facebook.

In the last three years, social media has boomed as an invaluable brand-marketing tool. But with its force of nature has come a slew of ambiguity. What’s the best way to reach consumers? Is it possible to measure ROI? Will a Facebook contest bring in the right customers?

In 2012, all of that ambiguity materialized into one powerful objective — engagement.

Now that we are a month into the new year, The Content Strategist checked in with Renee Warren, co-founder of Onboardly – a firm that provides startup PR, content marketing, and social media — to see what’s shaping up to be the dominant content trends in 2013.

Data-Driven Decisions

“With the likes of huge companies like Coca-Cola and Starbucks making a splash earlier on, it seemed like everyone and their grandmas were soon joining the new movement,” said Warren. “However, there has always been the question around ROI.”

Renee Warren, co-founder of Onboardly

According to Warren, 2013 will be the year that the relationship to ROI becomes more concrete.

“Last year was the first year most companies really started understanding social media analytics and why they’re important,” Warren said.

“You can have amazing conversations on Twitter and Facebook, but unless you’ve set goals and tracked results, they don’t mean much,” she said. “Instead of just a blanket approach to using social media as a means to increase their community size, they will convert data into actionable information to use for future campaigns and even product insight.”

Selectivity

In the last few years, the social media field has exploded. From Facebook to Google+, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest, and Tumblr, companies have access to a range of platform for reaching consumers. But where should they specialize?

According to Warren, 2013 is the year that social media strategies become more selective.

“I think we’re seeing companies be more strategic in choosing the social media platforms they’re on now,” she said. “What’s the demographic? What’s the reach? How’s the SEO? Also, syncing your feeds to one another. Finally.”

Integration with Content

Social  needs content and  content needs social — that interplay is essential to success.

“Facebook has changed how people consume content, and it is now becoming more apparent that brands will have to pay to get their messages to more people,” Warren said. “At Onboardly, we include social media as part of our methodology as we couldn’t properly execute on PR or content marketing without it. We need to use social media channels to promote our content, find contact people, develop relationships, and create influencer lists.”

It’s crucial to establish a balance between quality of information and scope of distribution.

Final Thoughts: Put in the Work

“Overnight success is a dream, just like unicorns and rainbows,” said Warren.

It’s time to get real by developing a thorough strategy.

“Though many campaigns have proven successful, the constant that keeps companies coming back to social media is the ability to have real-time, open conversations with their customers and prospects,” she said.

So what’s next? It’s time to get talking — literally.

Top image courtesy of bloomua/shutterstock


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