Three social media trends for 2012
December 09, 2011
The social media landscape is changing. While Facebook continues to drive toward that 1 billion member landmark, Twitter and LinkedIn continue to soar in their own ways. What's more, the advent of cloud services such as Dropbox and Basecamp offer users new ways to store and share data. Then there's mobile technology, which augments the location aspect of social media and breathes new meaning into commerce-focused networks such as fourquare and Groupon.
Yet, all of these trends seem to be focused on the consumer. It's true that demand drives innovation, but the marketing aspect of social media is perhaps just as important. Indeed, how brands promote themselves and interact with customers within the social web has become an imperative of marketing. With that in mind, it may be a good opportunity to review some of the trends in social marketing.
1.) Social media refers to more than just Facebook and Twitter
YouTube, foursquare, LinkedIn, Flickr, personal blogs - all these platforms are important to an overall social marketing strategy, and businesses need to weigh their significance according to their demographics, culture and customer demands.
"If companies only focus on the most popular or obvious social sites, they can miss out on valuable niche groups," points out Miriam Kendall for the Pitney Bowes blog. "And remember: the more niche the group, the more relevant the message can be. Smaller sites likely have less competition for your audience's attention."
2.) Email will need to evolve in order to survive
In the context of the internet, email is ancient. While brands like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have made strides in updating the platform for today's social-driven world, it remains mired in the same basic technology with which it was created.
"While email makes for a decent communication tool with clients, internally it doesn't facilitate collaboration and basic workflow," Leerom Segal, CEO of digital marketing firm Klick, told Inc. magazine. "Email has no intelligent mechanisms for prioritization, lacks context, lacks a framework for knowledge management and saps accountability."
3.) Integrated communications will become commonplace
Yes, social media is the most cost-effective marketing platform, but that doesn't mean it should be the only one. Direct mail still has its role within the marketing world, as does email, mobile, TV, print media and even radio. In the coming year, savvy marketers will be working to integrate these channels into one cohesive yet distinct message.