The year is still young, but several social media marketing trends have taken root.
Planning a social media marketing event requires spotting those trends as they bubble up.
As the content planner behind this June’s Demand Success, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest marketing and PR conference, which is hosted by Vocus, here are the five major social media trends we decided mattered most to corporate marketers in 2014.
1) Visual Content Dominates the Channels
If 2013 was the year of content marketing, then 2014 must be the year of visual media.
Every social network from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Google+ is suggesting its business members optimize posts with visual media. And with good reason: Engagement rates are 94 percent higher across the board when pictures, infographics and video are used.
Visuals are not only a critical skill for post by post engagement; they are crucial for branding and lead nurturing. Whether it’s an iconic image that defines a company’s social campaign or a deck of visual information in a Slideshare Powerpoint that drives leads, smart marketers are relying on visual media to bring home the bacon.
2) Traditional Media Goes Social
Several studies show journalists are integrating social media forms into their news reporting. But integration between traditional and social media channels may be complete.
@RWW The @Esri #opendata feature went live today: https://t.co/WrQH1ggRHq Short post on it: http://t.co/nrNMew3F7o pic.twitter.com/tYxZ2Y9B5J
— Alex Howard (@digiphile) April 25, 2014
Reporters are turning away traditional pitches and are relying on social channels like Twitter to get pitches that resonate well with larger communities, and to spot fast emerging trends. News channels are even looking to mirror content from onsite citizen journalists who can provide in the moment coverage before a reporter can arrive on scene.
In short, if your media relations effort isn’t integrated into social, it’s hamstrung from the start. Welcome to the digital era of news.
3) Differentiation Against the Noise
Content shock has become a serious concern for social media marketers seeking to draw potential customers to their websites. This is particularly true in the technology and marketing sectors.
It feels like blog posts are a dime a dozen.
So how does a brand produce regular content and stand out? Several tips are starting to arise, including visual media and native advertising. Others are touting developing on quality stand-out content.
However you do it, differentiate you must or your content will simply blend into the stream.
4) Making Sense of Customer Data
Big data isn’t dominating the headlines like it used to, but contextual marketing is. Whether you call it big data, context or marketing automation, all of these trends revolve around trying to make sense of customer data.
In the end, understanding which data points matter most are critical to getting full value out of the information we are now able to collect. The correct analytics and automation tools help brands understand that the traditional sales funnel is not an accurate model, that people check with friends online and media reports for validation as opposed to an old school linear nurturing path.
Suddenly, community management and generating customer generated social media becomes much more important. And content becomes better integrated with the social media world to produce the levers brands seek.
5) Simplifying the Complicated
When you have a few related things that splinter and become many things, the world gets much more complicated. The beauty of digital media is its ability to serve the niche, but in doing so it dramatically complicates social media marketers’ lives.
- Which channels are the most important ones to reach, and which ones can be left behind?
- What new media forms do I need to pay attention, to?
- How do you make content work for different segments?
- Is it possible for a marketer to keep their personal life free from professional obligation?
- Can we put that phone down, or will walking away cost us opportunities or even our jobs?
These are the complications of our very social digital world. How people are coping continues to be an ongoing conversation.
I’ve done my best to not over plug Demand Success, but I will say that the many esteemed speakers we selected, from Randi Zuckerberg and Adrian Grenier to communicators from NASA and Google, all address these issues. So what do you think? Have we hit the topics of the year?
By the way, you can enter to win a trip to Demand Success simply by tweeting this phrase:
I just entered to win a free trip to @Vocus’ #Demand14 to meet @randizuckerberg. RT this to be entered too! http://bit.ly/1n9btYh
(Click to Tweet This)
Tweet before the contest ends on May 5, 2014 and be entered to win an all expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to attend the conference. Learn more here.