Social Media for Business Today
Social Media Marketing—at Huebris we hear a lot of inquiries from businesses about how they should approach this social media “thing.” For all the confusion, there is matched curiosity. Company’s obviously believe that social media is an untapped well for connecting with their clients and customers—and they’re right! They ask questions like, “What is lead generation? For my small business, is social media really a worthwhile endeavor? What kind of marketing tactics can you use to engage with potential customers?” These are great questions, and the answers are constantly evolving. In this article, I hope to give insight to where we are headed in the coming year, and what we’ve seen so far. Here are 5 predictions about where we feel social media for business is headed:
5 Trends for Social Media Marketing in 2012
1) Social Media Marketing Outsourcing
More businesses are coming to the singular conclusion, “We don’t have the time or resources to do this ourselves!” Even companies with their own marketing departments are outsourcing some of the load of social media chores and housekeeping. At Huebris, we are a big proponent of the pareto principle or 80-20 rule as it is more widely known. It’s a common rule of thumb in the business world that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. Well, we’ve noticed that 80% of social media engagement comes from 20% of the social networks. It isn’t hard to guess that we are talking about Facebook and Twitter. Since we know these social media giants are where the greatest ROI is, we tailor our baseline social media management packages to just those two. This gives most clients the maximum exposure for the minimum buck. This isn’t to say we can’t customize our services to include your tumblr’s, stumbleupon’s and google+’s. And since we are talking about 2012, we have our eyes on you pinterest!
2) Social Media Software Tool Development and Adoption Increase
For all the DIY-spirited (and usually smaller) businesses out there, we expect to see a rise in the number of tools that help them market and expand their social presence. Online software solutions like Hubspot are making the growing number of social media options more manageable. Social media hubs, post schedulers and special analytics solutions will continue to grow. Businesses have no qualms with buying themes for their websites, and we’re betting that they’ll be buying themes for custom fan page tabs on Facebook. We encourage the budding companies building these tools to forge ahead. Huebris already makes use of several of them to help our clients engage their fan-base. We’ll even create custom tools too if a client has a special need that hasn’t been addressed. And in 2012, get ready to see more niche market tools available—especially on Facebook. Social apps will start journaling your music listening habits. Restaurant locators, band music playlists and coupon generators will be easy to integrate into social media channels using the tools that are just around the corner, if not already here!
3) Social Media Mobile Marketing
You may have seen Facebook is buying Gowalla. Location-based marketing lends itself to social networking. This will continue to ring true. Mobile marketing by itself is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, and the opportunities are exciting. QR codes, augmented reality and mobile apps are increasing the ways we can use our smart phones to engage with the world around us. Expect them to expand social networks as well. Currently, Facebook doesn’t offer nearly enough engagement opportunities for fan pages with their fans. Yeah, you can check into places. Yes, there are Deals—but that service is sort of fizzling out! We don’t know how this fan page disconnect over mobile will be addressed, but Facebook stands to make tons of money when they solve it. The iPhone version of Facebook is incredibly popular, but it has a lot of room to grow before businesses can utilize it. In 2012, expect to see new mobile features from social networks that hone in on the capabilities of mobile marketing.
4) The Rise of Social Media Agencies
With all this work to be done, we expect social media to go beyond being an extension of marketing agencies—soon there will be fully-loaded firms known for doing one thing and one thing only. These SMAs will handhold businesses every step of the way. It’s one thing to outsource the management and moderation of these channels. We expect vibrant enriched social stories that are the product of a level of brainstorming and industry insight only capable by studios that eat, sleep and breath social media. Look at what Google did with The Johnny Cash Project this year—it’s just the beginning.
There are so many big businesses and big events that warrant major social media blitzes. It’s not just Dorito’s at the Superbowl, specially crafted messages are needed to stand out on social networks where fans and followers are inundated with updates. When the advertising medium is free—like most social media networks are—content reigns supreme. The attention goes to the best content marketing endeavor. And let’s face it, while Proctor and Gamble rebounded Old Spice with “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, they didn’t do it alone. And they can’t do it for every business in the world. Full service social media agencies are the wave of the future. It’s the law of contraction at work, in 2012 expect boutique SMA’s to start showing up on the radar. Oh, and I can’t mention Old Spice without linking to one of Isaiah Mustafa’s videos, here one from MANta Clause:
5) Social Media Consulting Work Will Grow
Social media consultants will abound! For all the changes we’re expecting in 2012, Huebris expects this will further increase all the questions businesses will have about the world of social media. Make no mistake about it, a clear plan is the only way forward. Think about all the questions that need addressing:
- When is the best time to push content to fans and followers?
- How should I integrate social networks onto my website?
- Should I use a promotion/giveaway to increase my audience?
- What are the legal implications and liabilities attached to social media?
- How can I use mobile marketing with social media?
- What kind of tools should I use to make this all more manageable?
- What effect is social media having on search ranking and SEO?
- Should I spend money to advertise on Facebook?
Every business has it’s own set of answers to these questions. At Huebris we love answering them! Think of how long it took the world to adopt the Internet, and then cell phones. Social networks are the next chapter. We’re on the bleeding edge, pioneering the unknown. And while 2012 is just around the corner, we’re sure to see many surprises and changes in the coming year. And if you have any questions for us, leave us a comment below, or contact us!