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4 Predictions for Social Media Marketing in 2012
2011 was a banner year for social media marketing. It was the year we saw major brands take the leap in creating a presence on Facebook and Twitter. At the beginning of the year it was still unusual to see major brands pointing to their Facebook/Twitter URL at the end of a TV ad, on their packaging or on a billboard. Now it is almost the norm. This growth in brand presence on social media came about a year after the meteoric growth of consumers on social media. Companies realized that more than 700 million users were active on Facebook (more than 1 in every 10 people on Ea
rth) and this lead to the words “social media” being on the mind of CMOs all over the globe. That being said, there are a lot of changes in store for social media marketing in 2012.
Most of these changes have to do with two forces and trends as social media matures 1) Consumer growth on sites like Facebook is starting to slow and competition between marketers for attention on social media is heating up. 2) Marketers are starting to learn that social media is a different beast than traditional media and as a result the concept of ‘buying eyeballs’ needs to be revised.
With that said, here are my four predictions for social media marketing in 2012:
1. Relationship Building and Engagement will be Given More Emphasis
Traditional marketing is all about large numbers and high reach. With TV, radio, print, etc. you are trying to reach as many people in your target demographic as possible with light impressions. It’s about broadcasting to the masses. This same mindset was brought to social media in 2011. Brands have focused on building the largest following possible and then they push their marketing messages into the feeds of the people following them. With that said, many marketers have forgotten that social media is all about being social. In 2012 we will see many more companies emphasize the engagement piece of social media. Consumers will find that brands are increasingly responding to the questions and comments they are leaving on corporate social properties. Companies will put more effort behind personal conversations and building relationships rather than just talking to the masses. In the long run, brands will be able to create more loyal advocates and consumers will have more say in the evolution of the products and brands that they love.
2. The Metrics that Define Social Media ROI will Evolve
As brands begin to emphasize engagement on their social channels, the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are used to measure success will also change. According to a Chief Marketer Study, 2 in 5 marketers have little confidence to measure social media campaigns. “Marketers know that counting fans, likes and followers is not the best way to measure success in social media marketing. Yet these metrics are often the top benchmarks for performance.” This will change in 2012. Marketing professionals will realize that having 100,000 followers is not a huge achievement if only 500 of them are engaged. Instead, a property of 10,000 followers with 3,000 of them engaged will be viewed as a larger success. As a result, it will become easier and more standard to measure metrics such as interactions, mentions, clickthrough rates, conversions and engaged users. Eventually these key performance indicators will be c-level metrics.
3. Social Media Campaigns Will See a Longer Lifetime
Traditional media is setup in a way where campaigns have a very limited lifetime. Marketers brought these same concepts to social media in 2011. That being said, social media has a much shorter feedback cycle than traditional media. Instead of flushing out a full campaign before it hits the airwaves, social media marketers have almost unlimited opportunities to test and evolve their campaigns. These campaigns will grow over time and will have much less risk associated with them than traditional marketing campaigns. That doesn’t mean social media campaigns will become stale. They will continue to be refreshed but the baby won’t get thrown out with the bath water. The underlying infrastructure, tactics and strategy of each campaign will continue to grow on itself over time.
4. Accounts Will Be Consolidated
According to a new report from Altimeter Group, the average enterprise-class company has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts. While 2011 was a sort of Cambrian explosion of branded social media accounts, 2012 will be the year of consolidation. Instead of spending resources to manage hundreds of social accounts, companies will spend those budgets to employ more community managers that can team together to drive lots of engagement and conversations from a few flagship accounts. This will give businesses more control over their voice and will give them a platform to build even more advocates and enthusiastic followers of their brands.
What predictions do you have for 2012 in social media? Have you created social media marketing resolutions for your brand? Let us know by leaving a comment!