Businesses are, once again, in the proverbial 'review period', where social media campaigns are waded through and analysed in order to quantify the efforts of the past 12 months. In 2012, a substantial amount of brands started incorporating social media into their marketing strategies, as they realised the importance of constantly engaging with the potential consumer. The problem is that the majority of brands are focusing on advertising rather than providing the customers with what they require.
It's more important now, more than ever, to be interesting, informative and, more importantly, real. People have become more suspicious and tend to pay attention to what they perceive to be authentic. Here are a few tips to achieving that, and, in return, strengthening your social media presence in 2013.
Engage with the customer
The point of social media is to interact, and nothing is more important to a customer than knowing that a brand is listening. Make a point of saying thank you for any positive feedback and offer solutions to problems which may be encountered. A level of proper customer service can go a long way in helping a brand grow a loyal following. Alterian conducted a social media study involving active customer interaction, showing brands such as Delta with a 59% conversation rate and 89% customer response.
Know who you're talking to
A lot of brands focus on how many followers, likes, or subscribers they have and don't take the time getting to know who they actually are. It's vital to ask questions and suss out what the consumer is interested in, how they think, where they live and what it is that they do. Similar to tailoring a database of vastly different people through online subscription forms and surveys, getting to know the audience through social media platforms helps customise each social media campaign in order to generate better results.
Today, people can distinguish the genuine from the fake and brands will start to notice more scepticism towards social media campaigns in 2013. A social media strategy directed at the everyday person can drastically increase a brand's fan base. Nike's 'Find Your Greatness' campaign, which launched during the 2012 Olympics, perfectly illustrates this. The brand presented a powerful message, not only for the record breakers, but for the everyday athlete to set personal goals and achieve greatness. Supported by a YouTube homepage endorsement and promoted on Twitter with a #findgreatness hashtag, the campaign ignited conversation with everyone, everywhere. Socialbakers' CheerMeter reported more than 16 000 tweets and a Facebook fan growth of 166 718 between 27 July and 2 August alone. People appreciate humility and want to see the real people behind the logo.
People are becoming very skilled in examining a brand and its competitors. With so many options to choose from, customers are privy to who's offering what and it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in the overcrowded marketplace. In order for a brand to get their product in the shopping basket, social media campaigns need to be interesting or nobody is going to stay tuned in. Agencies and companies from around the world, ranging from Europe, China, US and South Africa collected honours for innovative use of their social media platforms in 2012. One that stands out is Ogilvy Cape Town's 'Be The Couch' mobile campaign, which allowed soccer fans to choose players for two of the country's soccer sides, bringing in around 11 038 605 entries.
Incorporate Visual Marketing
Unilever launched the highly effective Magnum Treasure Hunt campaign which took a woman through a journey across the internet to collect chocolate bonbons as quickly as she can. According to a Microsoft Advertising case study, the campaign generated 324 million impressions, 85 million unique users and 2 million clicks on the Treasure Hunt Game. Magnum also managed to deliver against their target audience, with 64% of the impressions being female between the ages of 15-44 years of age. Visual engagement in 2012 was astoundingly high. comScore reported 45.4% of users who view at least one video during the course of a month.
Here are some stand-out social media statistics for 2012:
850 million Facebook users
465 million registered Twitter users
2 billion views on YouTube
10.5 million registered users on Pinterest
Google+ reached 10 million users by July 14, 2011