5 Social Media Trends for 2012

Social Media 2012

Social Media 2012 trends

Attending numerous speakers at the SMWF Europe, I noticed a few trends emerge from each presentation highlighting social media trends for 2012. Social media is evolving this year; moving away from current models towards a more interactive and seamless presence. The shift takes on three main strategies; including the integration of social media(#1 and #2), social CRM (#3 and #4), and refined social targeting (#5).

1.       Shift away from number of fans

Many companies think they need to get the biggest number of followers on Twitter or group members on Facebook/Linkedin to have the biggest impact on consumers through media campaigns. Despite the fact a larger fan base may convert into more clients, the most influential metric is actually how well companies select and targeted their fan base. As such, attracting refined followers, where the content and products are relevant to their interests and needs, results in higher sales conversion rates; sometimes less is more.

2.       Integrated social media strategy

Social media is not just about having Twitter or Facebook icons available on your webpage but about creating an integrated strategy where users can share content they are interacting with across mediums and locations. For example, sharing buttons should be placed on individual products so consumers can share them with their contacts and promote a social online atmosphere similar to their experience offline. Additionally, a social strategy should have a consistent user interaction when accessing a company’s site through mobiles, tablets, and computers (create once – deploy anywhere), and also tie together online and offline interactions. A few new social media tactics include the ability to check-in to a location, to integrate in-store promotions, and to enable user interaction with products and reviews online using their smartphones and QR codes located on in-store products.

3.       Social gets supportive

About 95% of posts either on Facebook or through Twitter usually go unanswered. Answering all the posts might be too time-consuming or labor intensive, yet companies can use FAQ to address some users’ issues and provide a social FAQ where users can post their own questions and allow other users to answer them as well. Especially for B2B companies, the use of this social atmosphere can be an advantage because users are having these questions or conversations usually on other websites, and in this way a company can have better control and brand awareness related to these issues. Additionally, these consumer dialogs can provide insights into product development opportunities and to increase customer perception and satisfaction.

4.       Shift to Consumer Dialog

Although most companies are starting to interact with their users with dialogs, instead of just having a social presence, the process is still evolving to include more channels. The purpose of the dialog is to understand the context of the discussion and not just to respond to the conversation. Most times users are interacting with a company to praise, raise an issue or have their voice heard within a community. Thus, when companies address a users issues they may enhance their brand image and may also be addressing a much larger issue felt by other silent community members. Uses of microsites and campaigns can help to create dialog and involvement with customers, resulting in a stronger marketing pull strategy; away from traditional push strategies.

5.       From mass content to curation

A company needs to stay interesting to the community by promoting, sharing and creating relevant content for their users, but must also do so without being overbearing. Users are receiving information overload through multiple messages from multiple sources, and current conduct filtering on their end to process all the data. However, companies can also filter content into relevant channels of their own by using different locations for different messages. For example, Facebook allows the use of tabs on company pages, where discussions or interests can be distributed on the page and the corresponding users as well. Thus, tabs including promotions, a specialized product, contests, FAQ’s can channel relevant topics away from the company’s main page and onto more appropriate spaces. Additionally, companies themselves can limit their posts to specific site areas, and only post what is necessary with fewer and more relevant posts per time period. Companies can also exploit Facebook’s Edgerank to determine what is the ranking of their posts and how high it appears on a persons news-feed. The Edgerank algorithm is as follows: