SOCIAL TRENDS FOR 2012

Every year, people predict trends in social media for the upcoming year. Some people are dead on while others…let’s just say they don’t have a clue – not that I do either, really!

This year, I decided that I would take a stab at it and throw in my two cents – this is after spending about 2 hours a day for the last couple of years reading about social media.

So what do I got for you? Here are my top 7:

Collective Intelligence. Watch as more and more people realize that they are not near as smart as a large group of people on social media and they can be leveraged to solve business problems, think up innovation, and get more done…faster.

Crowdfunding. With entrepreneurship on the rise and more and more people trying to start companies and innovate, they need access to capital. You have already seen what Kickstarter‘s been able to do to fund cool projects and initiatives. Also, maybe you’ve seen the crowdsourcing platform called Quirky that lets the best product ideas rise to the top and then helps them get produced and sold while the “inventor” takes a cut. This will not stop here, brilliant people are already working on new ways to leverage the crowd and gain funding for great projects.

Social will further integrate with real world experiences. Think of Coca cola and what they did in 2010. They created an amusement park where participants could swipe their RFID wristbands at Kiosks, which then posted to their Facebook account – it said what they were doing and where. This will continue to grow with companies building fully integrated online and offline experiences that will continue to define social.

Social Influence is on the rise. Companies will continue to build reward systems for those who produce quality content and have the greatest social influence. One of the companies playing in this space is Klout and now a new company called Wahooly who allows you to invest in startup companies based around your influence. It will be cool to see all the creative ways people start to be rewarded for their social influence. For 2012, the influence will become less and less about consumer plays like Klout and more about the tools and techniques used to score digital influence and actually harness, scale and measure the results of it.

Game on baby. I’m not talking about video games, rather game-like qualities within a number of social apps that reside either in your browser or mobile device. You will see levels, leaderboards, badges (Ford is already jumping into this arena), points, rewards, and everything in between that are tied to participation and competition.

Social Media Sharing. People will continue to share everything and as people become more and more comfortable sharing, you will see them sharing everything; Ideas, opinions, media, status updates, etc. Companies and brands will further integrate sharing buttons in and around their content and the love will spread. Also, watch as social sharing is more closely aligned with e-commerce or web transactions.

TV Gets more and more social. TV is about to become more and more social in which every show will be tied to social media interaction. Watch as people will be able to tweet in, ask questions, vote, etc, making the overall TV watching experience much more engaged. Parts of this have already been integrated on a few shows like the X Factor and the Charlie Sheen Roast. Something else that is cool is a network called Get Glue. Get Glue allows people to check-in to their favorite shows, collect stickers, and tell the world what programs they care about.

This is what I have for you this morning. I’m sure there are more emerging trends that we will see – social media seems to change by the second.

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What social trends do you see for 2012? Go. 

 

SOCIAL BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION

Are you transforming your business into a social business? It starts from the inside out. You have to take a look at everything from leadership, operations, communications, collaboration, culture, training, etc. It’s not an easy task, it takes on widespread change to evolve into a social business.

Old mindsets and methods are gone – they are out of date and it’s time to take on a full culture shift. The question: are you ready?

If you are, here are a few ways to get started: 

1. Mobilize: Mobilize an experienced team (Awesome if it is diverse) that can research, design, implement, and manage a social media plan that has vision.

2. Understand: Research and analyze all the elements needed for the effort to work.

3. Design: Generate and test viable social business options and select best option as a team. Remember, you have to get the vision right and be relevant to your audience and their emotional needs.

4. Implement: After you’ve mobilized the team, understood the elements, and designed the model, go to town and implement that thing. Also, make sure that your colleagues are on board with your conquest or everything could fail.

5. Manage: Manage specific metrics that benefit the whole organization. Prove to everyone in the company that by being a social business everyone wins.

Now it’s up to you, you can decide to transform your organization or you can decide to be run over by the companies that do decide to transform.

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What’s it going to be?

 

SOCIAL MEDIA: IT’S NATURAL TO SCREW UP

What social media mistakes are you making? I’ve made a ton by the way – it’s natural to screw up, we all make mistakes.

We all know social media is an effective marketing strategy but if done incorrectly can end up damaging your business’s reputation and chances for success – you don’t want that.

After at least a couple of years now working with companies, startups, and people on their social media strategy, I’ve put together a list of common mistakes.

Here are the common mistakes that companies make:

1. No plan, plan to fail.

Everything needs to begin with some strategic planning. Take the time to mobilize a diverse team within your company to discuss goals, resources, and anything else necessary to execute. Building a plan is a great way to create a foundation for which everything else is structured.

Once your team is mobilized, here are some questions to get you started:

  1. Do we know are primary and secondary audiences?
  2. Do we have a plan for how to communicate with them?
  3. Do we understand how our social media strategy ties to our business strategy?
  4. Is our social media strategy embraced by everyone in the company?
  5. How does our social strategy tie into our marketing plan?
  6. Who is going to staff the efforts? Are they trained?
  7. How will we measure success beyond likes and followers?

2. Bad timing

Timing is always an issue. Take the time to understand where your customers are, which time zones they are in, and when your sweet spot is. Don’t mess up by assuming you know when your customers are spending time online – do your research and know for sure.

3. Have some Manners

People are horrible with manners and this applies in the social world as well. Don’t be rude, be nice and follow some simple rules.

  1. Start conversations by asking questions.
  2. Don’t follow someone on Twitter, and then unfollow them when the follow you. Only follow people you want to be connected to or you appreciate.
  3. Don’t be selfish. Promote other people as well as your own brand. For every personal social media mention you should mention another person or business five times.
  4. Put some focus to your world or you wont be adding value at all. Try to focus on four or fewer networks at a time.

4. Measure your success

Yeah, it’s hard to measure something like a conversation. However, you can measure things like total community size, the number of mentions of your brand across all channels, and the traffic referred to your website. Don’t be lazy and just track the number of likes and followers…unless you ultimately want to fail.

5. Competitive Benchmarking

It’s important to know who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you can one up them.

To keep an eye on your competitors you should be doing the following:

  1. Keep a close watch of their website
  2. Like their page
  3. Follow them on twitter
  4. Sign-up for Google Alerts for their brand
  5. Sign up for their newsletter
  6. Anything else you can think of

It’s just as important to see what their fans and followers are saying and use those reactions to adjust and improve your strategy.

If you have a well designed social media strategy, and avoid the above mistakes, you will be rewarded with more social media love than you can bear.

Do it right and get to it.

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What about you?

What mistakes are you making?

 

 

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Are you confused with SEO and how to optimize your website?

Do you sit around wondering how to get your site to the top of Google?

How about being clueless with how you made it into the top 20 search results on Google but not even the top 100 on Bing?

You’re in luck, SEOmoz’s has taken the time to develop the “Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” which provides an in-depth tutorial on how search engines work and fundamental tactics and strategies for making your website search-engine friendly and optimized.

SEOmoz put the free guide together to give people insight into the magic of “being found” on search engines – something not to many people really understand. The simple, easy to read 10 chapter guide offers an intro into how search engines operate, how people interact with them and why one should optimize their website. Also, there are 4 chapters on search-engine–friendly design and keyword research and on how usability, experience and content affect both ranking and link popularity – it’s truly amazing!

The last 3 chapters give you advice on useful SEO tools and services, some myths and misconceptions about search engines and info on how to measure and track your success in optimization.

If you were wondering, and you want the truth, you don’t necessarily need to hire an agency or an SEO professional (Maybe a coach) to move you up to the top 20 search results: honestly, a couple of hours’ time, a good coach, and a little hard work will do it!

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What are your tricks?

 

A BRAND COMMUNITY IS A BUSINESS STRATEGY

I can’t tell you how often I see companies isolate their community-building efforts to their marketing departments – It boggles my mind that leadership sees this as an effective strategy.

Placing your community building efforts just in the hands of your marketing department is a huge mistake. For a brand community to yield maxim benefit, it must be framed as a high level business strategy supporting company wide goals.

If you want to succeed in building a brand community you must first ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the time, energy and investment needed.Brand communities are not built by themselves, brand communities are built through consistent sacrifice, dedication and a passion that often times is seen as misunderstood.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:

How are you building your brand community?

SOCIAL MEDIA: FIVE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

When heading into a company to talk social media, we must first ask some questions of the company itself. Often times people revert social media to the marketing department when it’s ultimately a business conversation that needs to be had.

Here are 5 necessary questions you should ask a client to deliver the best possible social media solution.

1. What does the company want to achieve from their Social Media activities?

What is the company specifically looking for? Is it to increase sales, improve customer services, save money on customer engagement, break in to new markets, find key influencers, etc?

2. What is the past and present social media activities and what were the results? 

Do they have an established online community already? Do they have a Facebook page with a significant number of likes? Do they have a loyal Twitter following? Have they actually tried out any Social Media campaigns?

3. Where are your customers? 

It’s important to know and understand first who their customers are, second, where they are, and third, why they are there in the first place. Once you know and understand where your customers are, you can develop programs that can meet with them there.

4. Are there specific social media tactics and strategies that are working or have worked for their competitors in the same industry?

It’s a great idea to spend some time researching successful campaigns or strategies that worked for other companies and then add an original idea to it for your client.

5. What resources are they willing to throw at their ongoing Social Media activities? Do they plan on taking on a Social Media Manager?

Is the company outsourcing their Social Media activities? Do they share the tasks among their existing employees? Or do they add it to the duties of their marketing department? It’s critical to know and understand how the company is handling social media now and how it plans to handle social media in the future.

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DISCUSSION QUESTION:

What questions are you asking?

 

THE SMARTER WAY TO TWEET, SERIOUSLY!

Are you a Buffer fan?

I don’t know if you’ve heard of it or not, but one of my favorite, if not thee favorite Twitter tool out there is Buffer. Buffer is a very easy-to-use, beautiful service that allows you to quickly lineup several tweets at one time – then they are sent out one at a time based on a schedule you setup. Oh, and they are about to release it for Facebook too.

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GIVE THEM THE MEAT: 13 SOCIAL MEDIA STATS

Sometimes people just want the meat! Cut to the chase and give them what they want – the stats and numbers. And not just any stats and numbers, ones that matter and make people want to listen more. Think of it this way, it’s very similar to pitching a new venture to investors – they could care less about all your mighty charts, intelligent words, and blah blah blah, they want the meat.

If this is you and you just want the meat, check this out by Kipp Bodnar. He shares with you 13 mind bending social media marketing statistics.

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BEFORE YOU GET ALL HOT AND HORNY ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, READ THIS

Organizations everyday, all over the world know they they need to be on top of social media and they are already investing more and more money into it, however they still have some reservations about ROI. Why the reservations about ROI? Because of the fact that there isn’t a standard means for measurement – you have some companies tracking traffic, while others are tracking short term sales.

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve had several executives ask me questions about effectiveness, ROI, goals, metrics, monetization……what should we do?

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9 THINGS YOU SHOULD GIVE A SHIT ABOUT

Two weeks ago I walked into an office for a meeting and there it was, one of the greatest signs that I have yet to see. It said, “Give a shit”. I thought to myself, this is brilliant and very fitting for where people are at today, they just don’t really care.

When I asked about the sign, one of the employees at the company said that just a few days before our meeting the president of the company printed out tons of these signs and went around sticking them everywhere in the office.

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