As we head into a new year, it seems that social media will continue to play a vital role in most businesses’ online marketing strategies.
Nowadays, social media is ubiquitous, not just in terms of personal use but also for the growth, exposure and public relations of a business.
CEOs are spending much of their online efforts focused on management of their company’s social media accounts and researching new opportunities they could put to work. Some of them try to be active on as many networks as possible, while others focus their efforts on one or two platforms, updating them diligently in hopes of building a tight-knit, engaged audience.
So what is the best solution for combating your customers’ ever decreasing attention span and developing a foolproof social media and online strategy? The short answer is, “There is none.”
An online strategy is different for every business because, to be effective, it needs to focus on the customer – where they spend their time online, how they interact with businesses they frequent and how they consume their news.
While it’s difficult to make predictions about anything on the web, I can speculate that a few social media trends will most likely continue to develop this year. Knowing what’s on the horizon can help you decide how to distribute your social efforts and advertising dollars, thus shaping your overall online marketing strategy.
> Niche social networks. When people sit down to watch a TV show, they aren’t just watching the program. You probably can bet they are checking into their program with GetGlue, a social media platform that lets users check-in to TV shows and movies they are watching. There are hundreds of niche social networks. My personal favorite is Untappd, a social network for craft beer connoisseurs. Businesses that take advantage of niche social networks within their marketplace will be the ones that are remembered.
> Advertising on mobile platforms. Mobile advertising will become a viable solution for businesses looking to advertise online. Facebook is already doing this through promoted posts, an advertising option where advertisers pay to promote their page or page posts in the news feed.
> Traffic from mobile. With an increase in smartphone purchases in the past couple of years, there will come an inevitable increase in mobile internet usage. Businesses should consider where their traffic is coming from, whether it be to their website or social media outlets. How well or poorly your content is displayed on a mobile device could make or break a sale. It also could mean the difference between keeping customers’ attention or having them boot you off their social sphere with a dreaded “unlike.”
> Internal communications. Not all social media usage is about turning a profit. This year, more companies will turn to social media for internal communications. Why interrupt your co-worker with a question when you can ask them less intrusively with a Skype message? Successful businesses will adopt social media as a tool for internal communication and company promotion rather than banning employees from using it.
> Connected accounts. Big players such as Twitter will introduce their own content scheduling and management tools. Facebook has done this already with its Pages app. Also expect more connectivity between your personal and business social accounts.
> Managing big data. It all comes down to numbers and questions like, “How much revenue did this social media campaign bring in?” Business owners and advertisers often are left wondering if their social media efforts are making a difference. This year, data management within social networks and by third-party tools will be better aggregated into tangible results.