The Social Media Marketing Trends

As part of Internet marketing in general, trends in social media management are difficult to pin point. But there are some overarching trends that have survived and are still going strong this season. Some of these trends are mentioned below.

Focus on images

The meteoric rise of Pinterest is testimony to the fact that images are in. Pinterest is a content sharing service and a social network that allows users to make extensive use of images. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that after Pinterest’s latest round of funding netted the company $100 million, the company was valued at $1.5 billion. The popularity of Pinterest is a pretty good reason why other companies should place a premium on visual content. Facebook has already shifted to timeline. Humans process a lot of information visually and will respond to imagery in a positive way. Since people like images, social media websites have capitalized on it.

Going mobile

Nearly half of Facebook users log into their accounts using their mobile phones. Mobile internet users are going to overtake desktop internet users by 2015. And social media on mobile is still in its infancy. But mobile phone companies are coming up with better audio, video, location selection and third party application integration.

Social media websites embracing open platforms

When it comes to adding new users, Facebook has seen continued success while Google is moving at a snail’s pace. One reason is Facebook allows third party application providers to contribute to users experience. The result – consumers stay longer on such sites and engage more.

Crowdsourcing

Wired.com’s Jeff Howe defines crowdsourcing as outsourcing the creation of content to groups of people rather than tackling such tasks in-house. Sites such as Wikipedia, Tumblr and Pinterest are leading the pack here. People tend to trust their friends and relatives more than corporations who they perceive won’t give them bipartisan information. So everything from starting a new company to learning how to bake a cake can be accomplished through crowdsourcing. Online Video With the advent of faster internet connections such as 3G (and now 4G) and the proliferation of smart phones, video content is only going to become more popular. Some years ago, production of video was deemed to be expensive, but not anymore. Smart phones with share capabilities and HD technology have changed the rules of the game. Now we have budding entertainers, citizen journalists and YouTube campaigns.

The privacy vs. personalization debate

Social media sites and online retailers are mining information about us constantly. They are logging data such as our likes, dislikes and even the interests of people with whom we interact. The issue here is the breach of privacy that social media sites are being accused of. Government regulators have increased their scrutiny and users have become more sensitive. On the other hand, some social networking sites have gone public and their shareholders are demanding results. The pressure to collect information is only going to grow.

Top Tips For Effective Online Brand Management

Brand management plays a big part in achieving business success. It’s important with you internet marketing strategy, that your brand is always viewed in a positive way and it must not be associated with anything negative. Managing a brand does not have to be a difficult task. The following five tips highlight some simple techniques for effective brand management.

Be Consistent

The same logo or avatar and the same basic color scheme should be used in all marketing material, business communications, press releases and web content. Social media accounts should also be easily identifiable from the profile image and background.

Consistency also applies to quality and speed of responses to inquiries, complaints and requests for help. Politeness and clarity of language must be maintained at all times. All written communications must use correct spelling and grammar, with attention to detail. The same applies to blog posts and social media messages.

Deal With Negative Criticism

Customer reviews are not always kind to businesses and an unhappy customer might start posting negative things about your brand. Rants full of false accusations about the brand might appear in blogs, forums, social media feeds and on review sites. The worst thing you can do is to ignore these.

The way to deal with adverse criticism and misleading information is to add a polite comment saying that you are sorry that this person is not satisfied. It should be followed by a reasoned explanation or a request for them to contact you, so the situation can be resolved. Either way, your comment should put a positive spin on the situation by being genuine in your concern, and by highlighting the fact that good customer service is always your top priority.

Take Advantage of Testimonials

Unsolicited testimonials and recommendations can be used to endorse the brand, through links in social media, on a blog or quoted in a prominent part of the website. It’s polite to ask permission before publishing testimonials, or at least ask customers if they want their full name to appear at the end of a testimonial, or just their initials.

Support a Good Cause

Associating the brand with a good cause will help to maintain a positive image. This can be done through sponsorship, by featuring a charity appeal on your website or through involvement with a local fundraising event. You can also send out press releases, emails or information sheets about your company’s support, participation or involvement with the cause.

Show Business Credentials

Membership of a business organization, an alliance with an industry authority or any official recognition by a trade association should feature prominently on your website and promotional literature. Any awards or commendations from an institution or website should of course be given full publicity.

If the business is not associated with any official organization or industry awards, then efforts should be made to join, compete or gain some recognition from at least one business circle or trade organization.

Brand management is largely about building customer trust and maintaining a good reputation. It will therefore cover everything from the standard of business communication to the creation of positive associations.