There will be many businesses reviewing and examining their social media engagement in the next few weeks, with the start of a new year.
And one of the most pressing elements for those businesses engaging online will be how to deliver successful social media marketing in 2013.
I believe there's only one important factor which makes for successful social media marketing. One factor. One word.
By 'balance', I mean the ability to effectively manage a range of important ongoing considerations within a well-planned social media strategy. Balance is at the heart of a successful social media marketing campaign, and failing to maintain it can be costly.
So, when considering how, where, when and why to deliver social media engagement in 2013, it's also worth considering if you're achieving a reasonable balance in your social media marketing, including:
No doubt about it, Pinterest was hot in 2012 having more than doubled its user base since January which should come as no surprise to anyone in the digital marketing world.
There is a big misconception out there that Pinterest is only useful to ecommerce sites. This couldn't be further from the truth. Like any other widely-used social network, just about anyone can find success with Pinterest if used creatively.
I write for five different blogs that cover a number of topics and I use my Pinterest account to publicize almost all of my posts. In jless than a year, Pinterest has leapfrogged sites like Twitter and StumbleUpon to become the number four referred to both of my sites behind Google search, Facebook and Google+ (yes there is value in Google+ if used correctly, but that is a topic for a different day).
While I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with any social network before you rely on it for site traffic, one of the great things about Pinterest is that success on the network is not dependent on being a superuser.
Consider this- I have roughly 30,000 Twitter followers and tweet every blog post twice after its published. Meanwhile, I only have 600 Pinterest followers and pin each post only once. As I mentioned earlier, its close, but I regularly see more traffic referred to my sites from Pinterest than Twitter. This should illustrate just how powerful Pinterest can be for content discovery and traffic generation- regardless of the size of your following.
2012 saw many significant developments for social media, with the industry continuing to establish itself as a serious contender for marketing budget and tools embedding themselves as part of everyday life, from the Wii U's in-game social networking capabilities to the use of mass-market social networks during regime changes in the Middle East.
What can we expect to see over the next year? Here are my five predictions for social media in 2013...
1. Internal investment expands
The creation of community manager and social media manager roles has exploded over the past two years, with an increasing number of companies realising social marketing and community building is not something that can either be done as a side-line or by a couple of interns. In fact, the big news yesterday was that Nike have taken the whole of their social media marketing inhouse in order to 'get closer to their customers'. We've seen plenty of self-created crises this year which could have been avoided by a judicious hiring strategy focused on quality. In addition, social media marketing is becoming fragmented, requiring specialists for specific elements such as content strategy and customer service. This will lead to either greater internal training for existing specialist teams, or recruitment for specialists into the social team.
A/B testing is one of those techniques that, if you have enough volume to give you significant results, is pretty much guaranteed to generate better results from your marketing. Email marketers have known this for ages, but what drives me nuts is that they waste their time on tiny little tests -- instead of tackling some of the bigger, more exciting tests that yield real insights and improvements.
In fact, MarketingSherpa's email survey found that subject lines are still the most commonly tested element in email marketing. Meaning that those few words that get your subscribers to open your emails and see your wonderful offers are what marketers focus on most in their attempts to optimize their email marketing. And while I'm sure this strategy can end up getting you the most tested, optimized subject line that will ever reach an inbox, the impact of these tests are minimal compared to all the other things an email marketer could be testing.
So ... are you ready to run some big, exciting tests? Time to think big!
6 Variables to Test Instead of Just Your Subject Line
Each day Facebook users spend 10.5 Billion minutes, about 20,000 years, on this social network, 58% of them return daily, there are added 250 million photos daily and over 500 million likes. Oh...and 1 out of every 7 minutes spent online is spent on...Facebook! Google+ comes in second with 75 million daily users, Linkedin has 25 million.
Also during the every minute of the day there are 100,000 tweets sent, 2 million queries searched on Google, 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube, 684,478 pieces of content shared on Facebook and 3,600 photos shared on Instagram.
92% of retweets are based on "interesting content". Only 26% are due to inclusion of "please RT!" in the tweet. Twitter's projected advertising revenue in 2012 is $259 million.
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