Social Media Should be Just That – Social

How many times have you liked a post by a company or a brand you follow, commented on it, or asked a question – and received no reply?  I have, many many times.  And I don’t like it.  In today’s world, where it’s very hard to keep someone’s attention for more than a couple of seconds, we should appreciate fans and friends who actually take the time to engage with us, showing us that they appreciate the post, or are interested to find out more about it.  That’s why next time when someone comments on your post, take the time to say thank you and respond back. Continue reading

10 Social Media Trends for the Next 10 Years


10 social media trends

Our social media strategies are constantly evolving, adapting and changing.  And while you probably map out your social media strategy each year, and have is as a part of general marketing strategy of your brand or company, we all know that adaptation and flexibility is key, and that the only constant thing is change.

And while it’s hard to predict what the future holds for social media, there are certain trends that can be pinpointed.  Below are 10 social media trends for the next decade, as predicted by Peter Kim from Cheil.

10 Social Media Trends for the Next 10 Years:

1. Evolving
The way consumers use sites and the way brands participate and engage have changed fundamentally over the past 10 years.  Brands must adopt customer relationship and engagement strategies that harness data for long-term growth.

2. Shoppable
Social media has long escaped the scrutiny of the chief financial officer and it’s time for brands to monetise social media efforts.  Fashion brands, such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren, understand this and have made their runway videos shoppable.  Now, every brand should incorporate financial calls to action in social media content.
** Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have or are in the process of introducing Buy buttons already.

3. Snackable
Consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to digest long-form content.  When browsing, users want to get to the heart of the message as quickly as possible.  The more snackable a brand makes its content, the more social it will be.  Easy to understand means easy to share, which translates into better results for content and campaigns.

4. Automated
Currently, ad placement and publishing in social is a manual process.  This will evolve to better utilise data and computers.  Most advertisers are already shifting display and video budgets into this type of media buying, and social media will follow suit.  Why?  All consumers hate ads because of interruption, irrelevance and clutter.  Programmatic placement (the insertion of ads and native content into social media sites) can help drive context, relevance and efficiency of messaging.

5. Connective
The power of our increasingly powerful mobile devices as social utilities are where great potential lies.  The ability to develop transformative applications that connect individuals to individuals but also societies to societies holds great potential.

6. Filtered
Increasingly powerful and affordable technology allows people to create more content than ever before.  In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created over the past two years. Because of this information overload, people will filter out messages to hear only what they want to hear, creating segmented and sheltered media channels.

7. Integrated
Social media sites act as brand graveyards, filled with the tombstones of dead campaigns that were only meant to survive a single campaign.  From TV commercials and billboards to microsites and social media accounts, brands must focus on using platforms for long-term relationship building.

8. Chinese
China currently contributes the greatest percentage to global GDP growth. However, many Chinese social media sites remain focused on the local market.  Over the next 10 years, these sites will shift their focus beyond the “great firewall” and enter overseas markets.

9. Subcutaneous
With all the excitement about wearables, it’s easy to forget about the internet of things.  More importantly, it’s the concept of addressability – the ability for a device to receive a message or signal – that brands need to figure out.  The natural evolution of consumer devices is into implantables, which are the ultimate personal technology.

10. Empowering
Some brands, such as Dove and Nike, have discovered that supporting social good can have a greater impact than feeding individual egos.  Other brands will follow suit and use social media efforts to look at the long tail, identifying opportunities to foster empowerment and equality aligned with brand values.

Brands must change their mindset to engage successfully in the future. Marketers must embrace their inner digital geek and learn to love technology.  To harness trends, they must look beyond their borders, specifically to the east where Asia leads the way.  Realising that their current techniques are outdated will lead brands to new strategies for success in the next decade.

What do you think are the social media trends for the next decade?  Leave a comment below.  It will be interesting to see in a couple of years how these predictions stand in that time’s reality.

Holiday Shopping Trends for Brands and Consumers

The merriest of the holiday seasons is here, and probably the one in which the retailers are looking forward to make the most of these final sales of the year.  I came across two very interesting holiday shopping trends infographics; one reveals how brands are planning to spend on social media this holiday season, and the other shows the shopping habits of us, the consumers.  It’s interesting to look at both, perhaps it will give you an idea how to target better holiday sales to your target audiences.

With more than 1.5 billion active users on Facebook and Twitter alone, social media has matured into a critical channel for retailers looking to get a big chunk of the estimated $650 billion USD that will be spent on holiday shopping this season.

According to recently released research from digital marketing platform Offerpop, 67 percent of marketers plan to increase their social media budgets this holiday season. Brands also appear to be sticking to proven social media platforms, with 92 percent of marketers saying they will spend the majority of their budget on Facebook.

However maturing social networks like Instagram are gaining interest from retailers: 73 percent of marketers say Instagram is the breakout social network of 2014.

Read this infographic to learn what a survey of 120 marketers found about holiday shopping trends for this this upcoming season:


We found this infographic on here.

The second infographic was made by SHIFT communications, who conducted their own holiday related research.  The results uncovered some valuable insights about generational habits during this time of year.

It turns out age is key in answering questions about how much we spend on the holidays, where we shop, and our most and least favorite aspects.  But no matter your age, research also divulges some undeniable trends.

Who knew Millennials are most likely to be big spenders? That Gen Xers are all about hanging the holiday decorations?  That Boomers, especially, hate the holiday crowds?

See the full infographic and results here:



Pinterest Marketing Infographic

30 reasons why Pinterest will rule Social Media in 2014

Half of the year has already passed, and if you are not using Pinterest for your business yet, you are missing out.  But why should I use it?  This Pinterest marketing infographic shows 30 reasons, among them:
– 70 million users worldwide
– out of 20 million active users worldwide, 79% are from the US
– there are 2.5 billion monthly pageviews
– Pinterest attracts 1,090 visitors per minute
– International traffic in 2013 has grown 125%
– Pinterest user stays on the site for 15.8 minutes


Source: Omnicore

Social Media Trends 2014

“Social media is no longer passed over as a fad or something that’s going away any time soon,” Brian Solis said about social media’s move into the mainstream in 2013.  “Social media is now part of our fabric of society, like mobile phones and computers – it’s a staple of our everyday life.”  And what will social media trends bring in 2014?   Several social media consultants and media are already writing their predictions; and below is my summary on what I think might affect your social media activities in 2014.

In 2014, expect a shift in priorities: a bigger focus on social media monetization, user-generated content, a great acceptance of sharing information, and more.

An infographic from WebDAM (see below) offers a glimpse of what the new year will look like for marketing departments. Hint: Content marketing will be everywhere.
– Almost 80 percent (78 percent) of chief marketing officers think custom content is the future of marketing, and nearly 50 percent of companies have content marketing strategies.
– Make sure a blog is part of your strategy in 2014: B2B companies that blog produce 67 percent more leads than those that don’t.

Keep an eye on social media next year, too:
– More than half of all marketers (52 percent) found a customer via Facebook in 2013, and 43 percent of marketers found a customer via LinkedIn.
– It is predicted that social media marketing budgets will double over the next five years.
– Emails with social media sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158 percent.

Social Media Trends 2014

1. Investment in Social Media Will Become a Necessity, Not a Luxury
While I’d argue that investing time and resources into a social media strategy is most definitely a necessity in 2013, I believe the tipping point in public sentiment from ‘should have’ to ‘must have’ will occur in 2014.  Businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue.  As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, I believe we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.

The benefits of social media are many, but they include:
– Improved social signals (which are a factor in the search ranking algorithm).
– Company branding
– Improved brand awareness
– Word-of-mouth advertising
– Increased customer loyalty and trust
– Improved audience reach and influence
– Social media is also one of the three pillars of SEO.

2. Businesses will learn how to better monetize social

“The big question everyone wants answers to is how does social media make money?” Solis said.  “Everyone thinks that if these platforms don’t make money at the outset, it’s not a viable platform, and that’s not true.”
Neither Twitter nor Facebook made money in the beginning, but Facebook has found a way – quarter after quarter – to beat revenue expectations.  Expect social platforms to generate new revenue streams and try new things as the sector sets a precedent for the best new ways to make money.

3. Google+ gains momentum

While Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of number of active monthly users (1.15 billion at last count), Google+ is quickly gaining steam, and in fact, now has the second highest number of monthly users (343 million)
With Google using the platform to collect personal information (think demographics, location, etc.), Google+ should no longer be thought of as ‘just’ another social network.  It’s increasingly proving itself to be an integral part of Google’s grand scheme in terms of SEO, social signals and providing a more personalized search experience.  This is especially apparent with the importance of Google Authorship, which I project will be one of the key components to Google’s search ranking algorithm by the end of 2014.

4. Facebook gains respect

After Facebook’s IPO flop last year, investors remained skeptical of the social network.  In 2014, that will change, Solis said.  “Facebook will finally be regarded as the powerful digital platform that it is. It’s incredibly undervalued because investors haven’t known what to make of it, and many of them probably don’t even use Facebook,” he said.  “The same will probably happen to Twitter.  It has tremendous room to grow into its own and will probably follow the same path as Facebook.  The market will be a little wary and leery of it until it starts making money.”

5. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player for B2B Business Growth
Still holding steady as the #1 social networking site for professionals with 238 million users, LinkedIn isn’t just sitting on its heels.  With the launch of its Influencers program, LinkedIn is positioning itself as not only another networking site, but as one of the largest sources of content creation and curation for professionals.  As it grows and attracts even more users, the advantages of being “linked in” will become enormous for B2B marketers.

6. Image-Centric Networks Will See Huge Success
We’ve seen a consistent trend in 2013 toward sharing through image and video, rather than text-based content.  Visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid content strategy, and social networking site Pinterest will continue to shed its reputation as a ‘women’s only’ network and become an integral part of retailers’ marketing strategies.
Other image-based social media sites like Slideshare, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli will continue to grow, and businesses will need to become more mindful about the ‘sharability’ factor of photos on their websites and blogs in order to derive significant benefit from their social media content marketing efforts.

7. Social media users will be comfortable sharing more

As people start to live a digital lifestyle, they open up and become less concerned about privacy.  “We don’t lose the desire to have privacy.  We change the value proposition of what it is.  The more we share online and the more people react to it, the safer you think it is to continue sharing.”  This is good news for Facebook, which has started pushing users to share more often.  The social network recently allowed teens to share posts publicly and removed a privacy setting that prevents people from finding you.

8. User-generated content becomes more important

“Next year will be the year that retailers go bananas over user-generated content,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of the social analytics company Curalate.  Expect to see more initiatives like the one from Urban Outfitters.  The retailer encourages customers to take photos of themselves in its clothing and to post them to Instagram with a hashtag.  The company moderates the content and picks some photos to include in a gallery that links to the pages where you can then buy those looks. “Not only is user-generated content free, but they’re interested in it because every business wants to measure the ROI of social,” he said.  “This is a really easy and effective way to do that.

9. SoLoMo.
“SOcial, LOcal and MObile.”  Accord­ing to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Con­sumer Sur­vey, accessing social media is the num­ber one mobile activ­ity today.  Where do they do it?  In their local backyard.  How do they do it?  Everyone has a smartphone.  Do you know how to market via social media?  Do you know how to advise your clients where to market via social media?  If the answer is a resounding ‘no,’ quit going to those writing workshops and pick up something on digital.  It’s no secret that today’s consumer is defined by reach, location and mobility.  The secret is where are you when they figure that out themselves.

10. We’ll Witness the Rise of Micro-Video
It seems that writing 140 characters and taking 3 minute long videos is becoming too tedious for many of us. Micro video to the rescue!  With the emergence of micro video apps like Twitter’s Vine and now Instagram’s video sharing feature, we’re seeing even more movement toward real-time video sharing.  And not just any videos; with Instagram allowing 3-15 seconds per video, and Vine allowing precisely 6 seconds, users are even more likely to create and share videos from their smartphones.

11. Content is Still King.
Want to know why I heart Google?  With its zoo of Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird, they are forcing PR professionals to be better writers.  If you can’t diagram a complex-compound sentence (with a conceivable amount of panache), you may have problems.  Review the four aforementioned trends coming to a PR agency near you in 2014.  Social media?  PR and SEO?  SoLoMo?  Micro-everything?  They all require gripping, relevant and strategic content.  Content is becoming less about text and more about direction to a visual or a CTA.  Need lead generation or better traffic?  Content creates organic SEO and an open door for paid SEM or a good PPC campaign.  Content creates information.  Good content creates positioning.


What do you think social media trends will be in 2014?  I’d love to hear your comments below.
Sources: InformationWeek, MediaBistro, Forbes, Ragan. Infographic.