Marketing director’s guide: social media milestones for 2015

Oct 1, 2014

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Social media milestones for 2015Businesses are now sinking beneath the ever-growing torrent of social media options. It’s no longer as simple as “Facebook and done”. Businesses who are to truly engage their audiences through social media will need to understand where their audiences are. Here’s our list of social media milestones for 2015, it’s what’s coming so start getting your marketing teams ready for it.

Social media milestones for 2015: Inbound Marketing:

The term gets thrown around by marketers way too much and we can’t all be sure what we all mean by it, but through 2015, brands will begin to scrape at solid footing, they’ll begin to understand how to truly produce valuable, user-centric content and compelling stories which will be delivered through and driven on, the venue of social media. Want an example? Look at Coke’s “Share a Coke with….” campaign.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Encourage your writers or vendors to reach for new heights as they develop content for your audience. Have them focus on your users, use creative writing and story telling, and excite your audience.
  • Understand how to develop your buyer persona and know your audience. You’ve got to understand who your audience is before you can produce content that targets them. We have some great preliminary blogs to get you started developing your buyer personas here: What is a buyer persona? and here: What do I do with my buyer persona?
  • Make your content user-centric. Stop writing for you or your boss or your board. You readers turn into leads, and these turn into customers. Pretty simple really. Don’t write about what you want to hear, write about what your audience wants to hear.

 

Social media trend for 2015: Media Rich Content:

(most) Every social channel supports various forms of media but spurred from the growth of channels like Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest we’ll see an industry-wide rise in the importance of valuable imagery, video, and graphics. These visuals will greatly enhance a story, or better yet, tell the story on their own. We won’t be able to call it in anymore with the old 3-second stock photo grab. Users, thankfully, will continue to expect higher quality, richer media which can add to the user-centric, engaging stories, posts, and experiences they’ll be reading through. Brands will begin to shape up the visual component of their social media presentation and users will thank them for it.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Get creative, or get someone who can be. Bring in help who can build that rich media image or video. But make sure they have ideation skills also – otherwise, they’ll just be waiting for your to have all the eurekas.
  • Find Resources. For the marketing directors out their without strong creative. Here’s a great resource for creating sharp looking and eye catching charts, graphs, and info graphics for free http://infogr.am.
  • Embrace video. The video push is coming and if you’re not ready, it’ll leave you behind in a hurry – so will your competition. Not all video needs to be “professional level”, in fact, most YouTube users are very accepting of “amateur level” or documentary style video. Just make sure the value is there and you’ve put some thought into the videos development. If you have video ideas you feel are perfect for your campaign but need to be produced at a professional level, find a vendor who can work with you on single videos alone. Discuss your needs and the scope of the project. Make sure they understand your expectations and limitations from the beginning and you should have fewer issues and greater success.

 

 

Social media must-know for 2015: Google+ continues it’s slow crawl toward relevance:

Dominated by the tech crowd, Google+ continues to be looked at as an irrelevancy by many marketers. Through 2015, that view will continue to die as more of us understand Google+’s importance to a successful search and SEO strategy.

A note to any marketing directors who have target audiences that are primary or even partially local, make Google+ and Google Business your best friends this upcoming year. Perhaps, no other social network is more important to businesses heavily dependent on local search.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Get on Google+. Create a full profile and begin using it for communications if the opportunity is there and you have willing participants. Start including Google+ in your posts and updates.
  • Encourage Reviews. If your business is dependent on foot traffic and local search, encourage your best customers (any any customer if you’re confident) to leave reviews on your Google page. Reviews can have a tremendous search rank benefit as they help searchers make a quicker decision… hopefully to visit your business.

 

Social media awareness for 2015: Brands begin to look the same:

Can you tell the difference between brand A, B and C? Brands will continue to develop a herding mentality on social media. They’ll all be dumping resources into the same channels, each attempting to produce their own version of the same content. Users spot this silliness and flee. Users will continue to appreciate, flock to, and trust brands who recognize this and avoid it. Brands who can identify and target the right channels and audiences, with perfect, original, and highly specific content will win.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Again, understand your buyer personas. Develop content for that buyer first and do your best to make the content unique, creative an useful.
  • Watch what your competition is doing. If you wait around for ideas to come through your favorite blog feeds and news alerts, chances are your competition’s already making the same plans.
  • Get the inside scoop. If you have problems relating to any of your target audiences, find one or more individuals who you can meet with, call, or do a hangout with. Ask them what’s hot, what they’re looking for, and what might move them to action. And ask what has moved them recently. Exercises like this can produce amazing results that provide you the strategic separation that you and your audience is looking for in their favorite brands.

 

Social media trends for 2015: Real Time:

This trend seems to be very consistent from everyone we read. While we’ve run into numerous successful examples, Oreo’s Super Bowl real-time ad seems to have used this to great success. According to this post at Forbes.com the campaign grew Oreo’s Twitter following by 8,000 and their Instagram followers swelled by 34,000 with 16,000 new pictures submitted. Watch for a rise in cross-network, real-time campaigns and events in 2015.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Don’t try to be Oreo. While the numbers seem great, compared to the overall Superbowl audience, it’s a drop in the bucket. Secondly, there was no evidence submitted that those additional followers translated into additional sales.
  • Know what works for you and stick to it. Real-time marketing can require one or more internal teams or agencies to work together quickly and successfully. They need to know their audiences and make sure they’re talking to the right ones, and they need to make sure they see a return on the strategy in the form of brand equity or sales. The best path to get started in real-time marketing might be to use marketing you know works for your target audience(s) and incorporate it into a “real-time” method.
  • Prepare your staff, or yourself, for 24/7 work while these real-time efforts ensue. Tactics and techniques to reach these audiences may require off-hour or even full-time monitoring of user interaction. Brew a boatload of coffee or better yet, set up shifts to cover all needed times.
  • Have something of value. Don’t do real-time marketing for the sake of saying you’ve “done real-time marketing”. Offering nothing new, and saying nothing relevant about the brand or product to your audience can be met with groans and complaints, a backfire that can cause damage to your brand. Avoid this by ensuring your message is valuable, and to the right audience at the right time.

 

 Social media milestones for 2015: Executives embrace social:

C-level executives finally begin to embrace social media, or get dragged into it by marketing, ether way, they’ll be utilizing it in droves. Introductions via social channels and profiles will gain wider acceptance and it will happen on channels beyond LinkedIn. Vine, Snapchat, Google+ and Youtube all hold value as quick, go-to resources for professionals to share info and communicate.

A marketing director’s goals and tips are:

  • Identify which channels are right for your company’s executives and remember this info might be shared executive to consumer or executive to executive so understand them both.
  • Develop a template, or step by step process for your team and your company’s team to follow on each channel you’ve decided this applies to. Have an example established for them.
  • Have a list of options and ideas for your new users to try out their new social profile and networks. Keep it easy, keep it soft, the goal is to encourage their engagement and activity, not to overwhelm. Baby steps, we want them to keep doing this day after day.