By Priit Kallas
So, you want to know what’s going to happen next? Social media is evolving fast and marketers are starting to catch up. I wanted to understand how will social media marketing change in the 2012 and here are some thoughts that I came up with.
Social media marketing disappears
Social media is staring to be integral part of everything we do when marketing our business. This means that social media marketing will not be a separate activity but just one facet of your overall marketing plan. Much like SEO or email marketing, social media will be just one tool in the box.
Integrating social media
Brands start large scale integration of social media content into their digital properties. Big brands will use social media connect and user generated content to get closer to customers. This will help them get most out of true fans and brand advocates.
Support through social media
The integration of social media will lead to people reporting their problems in their channel of choice. Social media integration lets some of those problems be handled by the peers. However, companies should find ways to avoid their social media channels becoming a glorified helpdesk.
Social media integration will allow customers to get real user experience before making purchase decisions. In my view social commerce is not web shop on Facebook. It’s a digital property where people can make their decision based on marketing materials from the brand and augmented with feedback from existing customers in a form of ratings, reviews and comments.
Group buying sites will level off
Let’s face it, it is a brain dead model. Lets grow a huge list by offering really cheap deals and then sell that list to businesses to get really cheap deals. Group buying will not go away but businesses will understand better what it is and use it accordingly. To spell it out: businesses buy an opportunity to let potential customers sample their offering at a hugely discounted rate in hopes of repeat business. Money is in the list!
Social media ROI
More result oriented. Still less than half of the marketers measure results from social media. Social media ROI is a hot topic but less than half of the marketers report seeing it. We see that the budgets will grow and social gets more important in the brand’s marketing mix. This means that C-level will demand results. This means dollars in sales. It can be as easy as direct sales from Facebook or a bit more vague as in conversion rate of people from social channels is higher than average.
Social media advertising will grow
Social media channels are looking to turn a profit so they are looking for ways to get at your advertising budget. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others are looking into way to display more marketing messages to their users. This will increase budgets dedicated to social media advertising.
Next to advertising there will be a push be in the user’s stream. This means brands need to create content that is good enough to be curated and shared. Content has longer shelf life, can be reused in different channels, has higher perceived value for customers. This means that content creation budgets may in many cases exceed the social advertising budgets. It wouldn’t be surprising if some companies kill advertising in favor of content creation.
Tabletizing and mobilizing websites
Not exactly a social media thing but businesses start to make their sites mobile. Like 10 years ago companies made websites because everybody else did, now they will make their sites mobile because everybody else does.