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Are You Ready to Keep Up with Social Networking in 2014?

by: Finella Kristle Panlilio

Monday, March 10, 2014 |

Along with Facebookís 10th anniversary came a new celebratory feature - the "look back" - a video that provides a glimpse into a userís past on the site. That the forerunner in social networking continues to roll out new features has good olí Facebook showing no signs of stepping down.

As social networks progress, so too must companies follow with new marketing strategies. Social networking has permanently changed how modern companies market and brand themselves in a variety of ways.

Platforms are Smarter
Social media marketing has overtaken print advertising because its data level intelligence makes social networking-based marketing more personal, and therefore, more engaging to the consumer. Before social networking, businesses had to examine a range of demographic data to find their target audiences, but social networking platforms have made it easier by gathering data and even provide additional information about internet use such as search terms and click-throughs. The accuracy of marketing done through big social networks is incomparable with the uncertainty of sending traditional mail and email.

Communities are Stronger
Social media marketing has changed the focus on clients and customers toward friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and the like. When posting to social networking platforms, businesses should present their material in a way that is not aggressive or overwhelming. Posting of automated content should also be avoided. The shift to Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) to create strong bonds between companies and customers is one of the most powerful changes that businesses have made in social networking.

Customers can Opt-out
People have no control over what they see on a billboard, or in a magazine. With social networking, businesses can be "unfollowed" and become invisible by disappearing from an audienceís radar. Customers opt out of content that they donít think is worth their time, which is why it is important to create consistent, original, and high quality material without being overwhelming in terms of quantity.

Trends Fade Fast
Just because you have a handle on a new platform now doesn't mean that customers will still be using it next week or that they will not have migrated elsewhere completely. Because trends fade fast and change is rapid, it is absolutely necessary for businesses to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. New becomes old quickly, and an old marketing ploy will cause customers to leave you far behind.

Staying Fresh in 2014
To keep your business on the radar this year, continue moving forward by testing out new strategies for taking over the constantly growing social media market. With new platforms appearing all the time, it is crucial to be able to adapt to different media formats and understand user demographics. In 2014, try focusing on these social media strategies for marketing success:
  • Put community ahead of click-throughs - This year will be critical for businesses to focus on building community instead of earning click-throughs on site ads. Click-through ads are decreasing in popularity because users are shifting to building community on social media. The way a business interacts with its customers is a key factor for marketing success, so consider those social interactions as an advertisement - it shows that you prioritize community, customer service, and accessibility. The only difference is that customers will move towards you independently of the ad - they donít want or need a click-through.
  • Donít forget Google+ - 2014 will be the year Google+ finally takes off as a networking platform. As the number of users shifting to Google+ increases, businesses will be able to benefit from the promoted post system, where highlighted posts get greater visibility on the platform, making it rank more highly than other social content. Start breaking into those Google+ circles and building community.
  • Focus on image - In 2014, marketing through visual content will become a huge driver of business interest. Image-based updates will have higher engagement rates among all demographics. Find ways to include image focus in your marketing plan, and donít forget that video will also be the center of all marketing media this year. In addition to that, businesses should think about how well their images and text move, because if it canít be shared then it wonít be seen.
  • Be bold and take risks - Take risks to keep up with the seasons. Social media marketing evolves at lightning speed, so it can be difficult to predict what will work. Overworking ideas will only cause you to fall behind the times and worse, the competition, so make this the year you start to risk releasing new, creative, and fun concepts and campaigns. The good thing about social media is that when a new concept is unsuccessful, it gets buried and forgotten quickly - but successful marketing tactics go viral and are everywhere.


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