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As another new year begins, marketers naturally look to develop their skills and awareness in the areas they are responsible for. For me, social media is a key area and within this, these are the areas that I believe are likely to effect social media marketing effectiveness in 2013. How do you see it?1. Embrace social search
The launch of Google+ in 2011 and its continued development in 2012 is just one of many signs that traditional search is becoming increasingly influenced by social signals. Whilst great content and effective link building are still the most effective ways of optimising your website for search engines, genuine social media activity is also playing a part, too.
Google’s Search Plus Your World, its numerous algorithm updates and the introduction of the Knowledge Graph are yet more signs that quality content and social media will impact organic search.2. Adopt a content marketing strategy
Social media and search shouldn’t be considered as two completely separate disciplines. For some time now, there has been an overlap between search and social, with content being the glue the binds the two. They form the principles of what is known as inbound or earned media marketing.
Search marketing activities
Brand engagement activities
Brand protection activities
Creating useful, unique, engaging content is a powerful way of connecting with prospects and customers and it underpins many other marketing efforts, including:
Paid search marketing
Social media marketing
Conversion rate optimisation
For additional insight on how to attract visitors and engage your audience through the power of online content, check out this excellent content marketing strategy guide.3. Differentiating your social presence
As social media has developed and proliferated our lives (so much so that even the blandest of products have a Facebook or Twitter account!), it’s never been so important to ensure that your brand has a presence that stands out and make an impression. People’s attention is at a premium in today’s ‘always-on’ world and in order to make a genuine connection with discerning consumers on the social web gaining visibility is essential.
First and foremost, good branding is key. Whilst it’s difficult to ensure perfect consistency on the social web (consumer conversations cannot be controlled to be “on brand”, especially when they turn negative), it’s still important to have strong, impactful and well-designed branding across every social platform to ensure it aligns with your website, products and online/ offline presence. Integration is key too.4. Develop actionable insights through social analytics
Social media is no longer a buzzword that can be used to dazzle your boss and get funding for a new social media initiative. Companies, both large and small, are quite rightly demanding proof, evidence and case studies to demonstrate the value that social media can bring to a business.
Analytics and tracking should be used to evaluate the contribution of traffic from social media sources and sharing of content from your site on social networks. Hard data should be used wherever possible to monitor social initiatives so that you can form a much clearer picture of what techniques are most effective for your business and to build a compelling business case for further social media marketing should it prove successful.
Free tools such as Google Analytics allows users to track social media marketing using a series of reports looking at social sources, pages, conversions, social plugins and visitors flow.5. Mobile is the present and future of many social media interactions
Smartphone usage has rocketed over the last few years, with sales overtaking that of PCs two years ahead of schedule, tablet sales growing 378% year-on-year and news that in the US 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones!
Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 signified the social networking giant’s commitment to mobile moving forward and a clear sign that mobile will continue to play an increasingly important role in social media as the technology develops and users become savvier.
To get more ideas on developing strategies for enhancing content, mobile and social media marketing register for the free Smart Insights webinars on 11th January 2013.
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