The 4 Social Media Trends All Marketers Should Look Out For

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How has social media affected our daily lives? What have you been using social media for? Checking out what George Bush is having for brunch? Posting comments on some photos of your best friend’s latest Milan shopping trip (with a tinge of jealousy)? Instant messaging your colleagues on where to go for booze tonight when you have tons of work to clear in office? Sharing a seriously hilarious video on YouTube that you cannot stop laughing at all day long? The list just goes on and on but you see that social media has often been thought of something used to pass the time or to have a bit of fun in it.

No doubt about that, businesses have started to notice the massive audience present in the social media platforms and realize that it is time to capitalize on this market share to gain a competitive advantage. Soon, those who really wish to reach out to their online publics will have to start treating social seriously as the social aspects of the Web are about to become a whole lot more important.

Game On

The real shift – that has started – will develop and mature and most certainly, we will see a move from social media marketing to social business. There is definitely a need for businesses to realize the benefits of the social platforms and the impact of how the social game is going to change their daily operations. The task is clear now: adapt or you are out of the game … Here are four trends that we have seen so far in social media marketing and trust me … we will see more of that.

Social Media Marketing Budget On The Rise

Studies have shown that businesses generally plan to increase their marketing budgets as the global economy picks up. This is hardly surprising though as new forms of media consumption grow like professional essay writing, so too are the marketing dollars being poured into them. Furthermore, there is an increase in the number of brands which are prioritizing this expenditure on social media marketing over other forms of media. Businesses have changed their stance on this expense by treating it more as a regular (or integral) spending item rather than being experimental. With budgets for social media marketing clearly on the rise, those who are currently remaining tepid about the medium may jump in once the best practices of the social game are established and in general, the spending should continue to grow.

Rethinking The Value Of Social Media

As businesses allocate more budget for social media marketing, they will be asked to justify the performance and value that they will be deriving from this spending. No longer are we measuring the number of Twitter followers, the number of Facebook likes or the amount of web traffic that they can get. It has to be something even more concrete as businesses need to work out how implementing social media has enabled them to realize their business benefits. It can be the increase in revenue derived from these customers that you have connected with online … it can be the reduction in the resources that your helpdesk call centre requires as a result of customers contacting you online instead. So will see brands building models to evaluate their social media metrics and conversions. We will see a shift from measuring what can be measured using a tape to showing value.

There’s More To Location-Based Marketing Than Just 70% Discount Vouchers

Social networking has finally gotten ever more important for the brick-and-mortar businesses. Location-based social networks (with enabling tools such as smart phones or iPads) allow users to interact, discuss, share and recommend places based on their physical geographical coordinates. This real-world social media connectivity can mean more foot traffic and profits for businesses. If was the year that these were developed and used by more people, it will be the year that more brands embrace them to add value to their business operations. It is just going to become even more prevalent with more innovation with these tools.

It’s Not Just About Marketing … It’s Way Beyond That!

Finally, social media has always been much more than just about marketing and sales.

“It’s greater than marketing,” as Sandy Carter put it. She is the Vice President, SOA & WebSphere Marketing, Strategy and Channels for IBM Corporation. “Social media can transform everything from service and support to inventory management. It can even be part of your commitment to corporate social responsibility. For example, holding virtual events in Second Life was one way we chose to implement our green strategy.” Social media is about public relations, communications, customer service, insight and new product development. Social media is all about engagement … engaging your customers and prospects. Sandy has also learnt the most basic lesson of social media success: Listen. “50% of social media is about listening,” she said, “So the ultimate question you need to ask is, ‘Have you listened?’” Such is how businesses have transformed and we will definitely see more of that and future.

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