Guest post by Stacey Waxman
Social media and online marketing have become increasingly intertwined to the point where most brands are using social media marketing as a primary method for gaining exposure. Throughout 2013, there have been several emerging trends and lessons that marketers can apply for 2014 and beyond. Here are four of the most important ones.
1. Visual Content is In
People responding positively to visual stimuli is nothing new. However, it’s become more and more important to take this into account when running a social media campaign. By looking at the success of visual based networks like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, it’s clear that most marketers can benefit by using eye appealing images. This is further evidenced by the fact that the owners of Twitter launched Vine, which allows users to upload video clips that are up to six seconds in length. Also, the majority of blog posts and Facebook posts contain at least one image to capture the attention of an audience and drive a point home. Understanding this phenomenon and placing an emphasis on visuals in 2014 should help marketers win over a larger percentage of their demographic.
2. Cyber and Content Security is Crucial
The threat of having one’s social media account hacked or sensitive information leaked to the wrong party has become an unfortunate byproduct of the technology revolution. An example would be an industry competitor intentionally hacking a rival’s Facebook account to create posts that damage the rival’s reputation. Another case would be hackers breaking into a company’s cloud-based infrastructure to attain information about their social media marketing campaign. Accordingly, it’s becoming critical to implement adequate cyber and content security measures. This can include training employees on information safety, choosing strong passwords and using a content security app.
3. Reputation Management Should Be Taken Seriously
While social media can definitely improve a business’s brand equity and portray it in a positive light, it also has the potential to do harm. Therefore many companies are using reputation management to ensure that consumers aren’t hearing the wrong things. Companies are now using software that tracks social mentions across major networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
If something negative or slanderous appears, a company representative could immediately address it and take the necessary steps to deescalate the situation before it becomes more serious. Another example would be having an individual or team assigned to handling customer complaints via social media. Say a disgruntled customer left a nasty comment on a company’s Facebook page. A representative might apologize and find an effective resolution so the problem doesn’t persist.
4. Google+ is Here to Stay
At the end of 2012, many marketers failed to take Google’s social network, Google+ seriously. Although there were several million users, not many accounts stayed active. Things have changed considerably over the course of 2013 and Google+ has become a major contender in the social media realm. According to Marketing Land, this network reached 540 million active users in October of 2013.
One interesting feature this site offers is the Authorship Program, which allows users to sync their website or blog with their Google+ account and claim authorship for content they contribute. This is also thought to have a significant impact on SEO and overall exposure because an author’s head shot appears next to links in Google search results.
Stacey Waxman is a freelance writer with a focus on marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in cold Cleveland, OH. Stacey welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.