Social Media Marketing Strategies in 2015

Social MediaMarketingStrategies 2015

If there is anything we can count on in the digital world, it’s that it changes quickly. As the speed at which information is exchanged improves, consumer response to that information becomes faster and businesses want to be the first to know, and react in kind, to the consumer response.

Analytics are and will remain important for businesses. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest all have rolled out analyzation tools for their users. The new information will allow businesses to pinpoint which aspects of social media are drawing interest, and which are falling flat. In order to use this information effectively, businesses will have to be flexible, willing to discard strategies that aren’t working and acquire new ones, sometimes implementing strategies that are novel and creative.

Businesses have to be aware, and not just aware, but engaged with the public profiles of their employees. As businesses learned from this past year, a business, and the public profiles of its employees, don’t have a private life on social media. Everyone markets. On a public profile, employees of a company are representatives held up to consumer expectations.  Consumers have the expectation that the companies they buy from reflect their own values. Which means employees have to be careful what they post on their public profiles and how they represent the brand.

Consumers are also wanting authenticity because it’s more relatable. As video and visuals become more common, there will be an upswing in the number of promotional videos that “sell” via real customer reviews, or through telling a great story. Consumers give greater points to a company that is doing more for the community than just making money off them.  They will want to see the human, personal side of a company because it gives the impression that it’s local and approachable, versus an immense and untouchable thing that happens to employee people. Companies will find their videos going viral if they can make the consumer’s heart melt, by promoting caring rather than persuading them to buy.

But attention spans among adults are starting to change. Studies have shown that we actually read differently after a constant exposure to social media.   Businesses concerned about consumers losing their ability to “read deeply” might focus on having quality posts of a longer length. But businesses who want to tap into the consumer trend of focusing on the most pertinent information in the shortest number of words, will use focus on implementing shorter posts and more of them. Microblogging, especially, will be useful for businesses interested in shorter, more frequent, posts.

Bigger companies will rely on an approach that incorporates both the digital tech and creative aspects of marketing. This means knowing a modicum of html speak will be of huge benefit to the social media marketing job-seeker. At the same time, smaller companies will discover that social media and blogging companies are catering to the DIYers by making their interfaces more user friendly.

Regardless, some argue that the age of the blog is starting to wane as companies discover other avenues of social interaction that work better for their business, and microblogging via tumblr and twitter take over. New social media outlets that are specific to certain subsets of people will begin to become more common. Purchase of ads tailored to these subsets of people will increase as consumers begin to make use of the hobby/interest-specific social media.

Hence, business owners will have social media managers who are given specific parameters of interaction – as much to ensure that there aren’t any social media faux pas which escalate into media debacles, as to ensure that the interactions are appropriate to the audience.

Immediacy continues to be an important aspect of digital commerce and, as such, will continue to force the direction of digital technology. As social media outlets attempt to shorten the distance between idea and action by experimenting with platforms that allow direct purchase of products, we’ll see the beginning of the end of third party distributors. Consumers will no longer have to go to a different website to purchase the product, but can purchase it right from their media outlet of choice.

This in turn will lead to a rise in ad sales on social media, as well as opportunities for individual bloggers to make more through affiliate links and acting as distributors of products endorsed on the blog. Because of this, authenticity will be even more important to the consumer who may not trust a blogger whose sole purpose in owning a blog is to make money off followers.

Overall, in 2015 we can expect to see a more tailored approach to the individual consumer. With every generation that passes the exchange of information has steadily grown swifter. The speed of that exchange has made a huge impact on the marketplace, both digital and otherwise. It will continue to do so and businesses will need to be prepared to take advantage of improved social media changes. Technology stops for no man.

Sources:

http://www.business2community.com/social-media/7-top-social-media-trends-will-impact-marketing-2015-01107054

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/social-media-in-2015-predictions-and-potential/

http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/digital-marketing-2015/

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7608-2015-small-business-predictions.html

 

Still in the run-Ning: a social platform before its time

In our last entry Sarah shared with you the detritus of Google’s attempts at social networking.  Part of this is good and sensible.  Working in the tech sector, like working in any industry, involves trying things that very well might fail, unless you pivot properly at the right time.  And then there are things that are before their time (think Friendster before Facebook) that don’t catch up when the wave comes.  Ning is precisely one of those stories.

“Ning” means peace in Chinese and it was an attempt to build more private, more personal social networks.  It attempted to take the most popular features of facebook: photos, discussions, and messaging and put them into an open-source platform which could be monetized or not.  FNing Screen shotor those who were simply creating a Ning for their Boy or Girl Scout troop, neither the numbers nor the resources would justify a “paid” Ning account.  For those who were trying to leverage and monetize their brands and endeavors, the paid Ning would have more features and support.  It makes sense from the external view.  LinkedIn, one of the most power names in social media, works on this “freemium” model to this day and hour.

But Silicon Valley, after initial buzz which talked about a $4B market (yes, Billion with a “B”), lost interest and Ning decided to jettison the free users to focus on the paid users.  That pivot didn’t last either and ultimately Ning was acquired by Glam Media.  Glam is not well known to outsiders – and they like it that way.  They like to simply and quietly create and curate the best content on the web and Ning was a platform that allowed them to do that.  They acquired Ning – left a lot of the existing 2.0 communities – free and paid – intact, and went on to create Ning 3.0, which they ultimately used to platform Foodie.com, which is the “Pinterest of Food” and runs entirely on the Ning platform (note: you will get hungry after browsing over to that page).

The moral of the story?  In the fast-paced world of social media and the iterations that tablets/handheld devices and the prevalence of high speed internet force upon that already fast-paced world, you can still salvage a worthy idea: if you are willing to pivot to what the market wants, or ultimately, change into a butterfly from the caterpillar that you thought you weren’t.

Tales of Failed Google Social Networks

With every successful social media network (think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), there is a social media network flop. You might have trouble remembering the ones that didn’t make it since you may have never heard of them or heard of them only in passing. What makes a social network take off and what makes a flop? The best social networks make sharing with the people you want to share with easy. There are ways to easily identify privacy (although this is a touchy subject with Facebook) and it is clear how to share. Connections are made and users have fun playing with the different settings. To me this describes the social networks I enjoy using. When planning for new social networks, it’s not that this isn’t considered, but for one reason or another, timing isn’t right and the network doesn’t take off.

In this post, I’ll share a few Google social network flops and my opinion about what didn’t work with each. There may be more opinions on why each network was passed over by the masses, so please share your opinions below in the comments. I’d also love to hear what you think makes a social network stick.

Google Buzz

BuzzWasn’t this essentially Twitter? Yes! (at least that is what it felt like) Launched in 2010, Buzz was the social network that worked in tandem with other sharing tools, alongside your email contacts. Using Buzz, you could share to networks including, Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, and Blogger. It even integrated so that you could like an article on Google Reader straight from your Gmail account or mobile. Poor privacy control, alongside the idea that users want to share social content with their email contacts, quickened Buzz’s demise. Just days after Buzz launched, Gmail users realized their email contact lists were public without their consent (they never explicitly signed up for Buzz). This sparked a giant privacy controversy that caused many to not even give Buzz a shot. Google ended up in a lawsuit and paid a fine to the tune of $8.5 million. Lesson learned: keep privacy policies clear and make sure users understand the goal of the network.

Google Orkut

OrkutOrkut could have been Facebook. It even could have been Google+, but it never had that chance in the United States. Facebook launched a month after Orkut in 2004 and the rest is history. Orkut is the social network of Brazil and India, however. So timing didn’t ruin everything, although Facebook has been gaining in traction for a while now in those countries. If you visit Orkut.com and are logged into your Google account, you can check it out. Feels like an outdated Google+ to me!

Google Dodgeball

DodgeBallAcquired in 2005 by Google, Dodgeball was ahead of its time. Essentially a mobile check-in service,  users weren’t ready for mobile location awareness. In 2005, we weren’t using our cell phones like we are now and people may not have understood the value of sharing places and locations with others. Google shut down this service in 2009 and replaced it with Google Latitude (which if you weren’t aware, was shut down in August of this year). Also, in 2009, the founder of Dodgeball created FourSquare and the mobile check-in app took off like wildfire (which coincidentally, is another name of a social product acquired by Google).

What do you think?

Would you have thought these products would have lasted for such a short time? Why did they not make it and others did? Share your opinions by commenting below!