Predictions for Social Media Marketing in 2014

Predictions-for-Social-Media-Marketing-in-2014Backbone Media recently attended the Social Media Today webinar focused on social media marketing predictions for 2014. The guest list included Sandra Lopez from Intel, R "Ray" Wang (@rwang0) from Constellation Research, Ekaterina Walter (@ekaterina) from BRANDERATI. The host was Paul Dunay (@pauldunay) from Maxymiser.

The following blog article focuses on five major themes from the webinar that should set you up for an exciting, more personalized social media marketing experience for your clients and customers in 2014.

Theme 1 - The "Genie Economy"

It may be difficult for some people to accept this, but the Millennials are changing the way we do business. These experts predict the companies who can deliver a "get it now" social and customer service experience will pull ahead this year.

What is the "genie economy"? Lopez says that it's a combination of the Millennials' need for instant gratification, mobile devices and geolocation technologies. She says three things affect social media marketing:

  1. Consumers are looking for instant coupons on their devices.
  2. Buyers are looking for "buy it now" links on social sites like Pinterest and blogs.
  3. Consumers want immediate responses to their questions and comments on social networks like Twitter.

She says, "We need to be on 24 by 7."

Wang says that the genie economy is definitely emerging, but a trend he's seeing growth in is the segmentation by digital proficiency.

Finally, Walter says that while consumers are looking for us to be "everywhere," we need to know how to be responsive and proactive in these new situations and channels.

Theme 2: Getting Through the "Infobesity"

Real time access to answers and brands is definitely top-of-mind for consumers, but it can be a nightmare for stretched-thin marketers -- and while we have piles of data, is it any good to us in real-time?

Lopez offers some questions we should ask about the overabundance of data:

  • How do you leverage tech tools and be human?
  • How do you create super special moments for our customers and followers?

Each of the panelists responded to these questions with some actionable items for next year:

Lopez says to build an army of brand ambassadors starting with your employees. Have them listen and respond.

Walter says that we should look at mobilizing brand advocates. This 1-10% of your customers and influencers can help you extend your reach across channels and communities.

Wang says that we need to get things into "right time" context -- and he offers four bits of advice on how to do that:

  1. Realize that we're no longer selling products and services, but a solid user experience.
  2. Democratize your data. In other words, use the data to give your front line power to make decisions.
  3. Focus on personalization.
  4. Realize that B2B and B2C marketing is dead.

Theme 3: Change from "control the message" to the "age of advocacy"

Our experts agree -- gone are the days of walking into a boardroom and discussing how you're going to "market to" a consumer or client segment. Today, it's about transparency and trust with social media marketing. Here's what each of our experts had to say about this topic:

Lopez: "Make conversations a strategic arsenal for the organization."

Wang: "We need to create authentic businesses. Corporate branding is really important and the social networks are our enforcers of this promise."

Walter: "Being helpful is the new viral. It's less about promotion and more about sharing."

Theme 4: Focus on network-specific content

Social networks have their own favorite flavor of content. For instance, Facebook likes rich media. Twitter likes tantalizing headlines. Pinterest likes beautiful photography. And Tumblr lives for gifs. (Walter shared these points with us.)

The point is that we're leaving the "plaster messages everywhere" era of social media marketing and entering a time when visuals matter more to capture attention.

Users of social networks are looking for content that's helpful and experience-oriented. As Lopez iterated throughout the webcast, it's about close social networks and their sharing.

Empowering your advocates or employees with content that they can share on a very personal level really resonates.

Theme 5: Break down the company silos

Several questions came up during the last 20 minutes on how to structure titles, big data, and the organization in this new age of advocacy and experience marketing.

It came back to one point -- break down the silos.

Lopez said that employees need the power to go and advocate. She said the company uses three things before they let them go forward:

  1. Basic training
  2. Trust they know what's private and not private
  3. Don't give them a script.

As Wang pointed out, our customers want a transparent, honest experience with our company and products, and holding tight to silos and messaging takes away from this.

A new title was introduced at the end -- chief enchantment officer. His/her job would be to bring all the silos together to "surprise and enchant your audience." (Credit goes to Walter for this marching order.)

Next Steps:

  • Be sure to go check out the comments on Twitter from this advice-packed webinar at hashtag #smtlive.
  • If you're looking for some help in creating that enchanting digital marketing experience, contact Paul Salvaggio at paul@backbonemedia.com
  • Subscribe to our blog to stay informed on SMM throughout 2014