social media tools

Future Implications

Social media tools and applications have changed tremendously over the last few years, and ever since the very first implementation with Web 2.0 “change” has been the defining word… Remember how “Myspace” was the social media platform of choice, and everyone flocked to it like flies on honey? Where is it today? Now it is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others that have taken the lead when it comes to social media connections, interactions, and marketing.

Many companies have seen incredible results since they have started implementing a good social media marketing strategy, however, even established giants such as Facebook and Twitter are always changing up the how and why of utilizing their tools for optimum success. New technologies are always coming into play and are on the horizon, which forces companies to be constantly on the alert for changes that will affect the way they are currently doing business.

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(image from http://www.examiner.com/article/the-future-of-social-media-marketing)

Think about how technology has changed, and is CONSTANTLY changing over the last 20 – 30 years, and you begin to understand the future implications. In fact, technology is changing so fast that things which used to seem way out there and very science fiction are actually coming to fruition today! Desktop computers are rapidly giving way to more portable versions of laptops, pads, and smartphones, since people seem to prefer to always be connected to the internet in some form or fashion, no matter where they are located!

In fact, smartphone mobile advertising has become all the rage, and companies that are not placing their brand out on mobile platforms are really losing out on a lot of traffic right now. Making sure that your website is currently optimized for mobile, and using social media to further your company’s reputation is very important for keeping up with the trends and future implications of online marketing and social media.

Permission marketing is one of the hot trends utilizing social media, and we will see companies working this area very hard and collecting more customer or potential customer information such as emails and contact info. Using social media platforms as partners will be increasingly important, and advertising programs inside of Facebook for one will keep growing at an incredible pace. Facebook paid ads are currently very effective, and allow companies to drill down into a specific target market pretty quickly, thereby focusing advertising dollars and reducing waste.

Human behavior always seems to change in order to keep up with the current technology, and we may see differences in the future with how people view social media and interact with each other online. For instance, Google and Microsoft are working on technology that would probably blow away most people, with predictions of being continuously connected to the internet without even using smartphone or laptop technology as we know it today! A recent quote from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has him saying, “There will be so many IP addresses…so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it,” he explained. “It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.” That is a pretty strong statement, and goes to show that new technology is in play or being developed that will literally change the way consumers and companies will think…

As marketers, we always have to be open to new ideas, technology, and changes with the way we do business, and we should realize that change is the norm today. Being able to look at future trends and implications on how they will affect us and our businesses will keep us at the forefront of our industry! Never be afraid of changes that are on the horizon, as long as we stay in the game and are constantly changing to meet the current conditions and needs of our customers or clients. Set your brand up for success instead of failure by utilizing the new tools and apps and letting go of old ideas that just aren’t working anymore.

Place your comments in the box below and let us know how you think about this subject…

Viral Marketing Initiatives

(Above Image from http://www.endeavourcats.com/)

Online marketing covers such a broad spectrum, and there is much to learn about what works best to get the word out about you or your company. Viral marketing is really one of the ultimate goals, trying to create a strategy that will get other people to pass along a post, article, video, commercial, or some other form of social media to others, who will also pass it on, and so on… Individuals or companies that are successful at this can generate millions of views in a very short period of time, and create an online sensation! There are some thoughts on what makes a good viral marketing initiative or campaign, and it is smart to follow some guidelines if one wants to increase the odds of success.

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One of the best methods of creating a viral marketing initiative is by using YouTube as a social media “medium”, and developing videos that contain some of the key elements needed to raise the odds that it goes viral. “At its core, viral marketing is simply the “spread of an idea” that helps market your business or cause. It’s putting material out there that by its very nature attracts attention and discussion.” A good viral marketing video needs to tug at a persons’ emotions and cause an emotional reaction. If they react strongly to the message, there is a very good chance that they will pass along the same message or video to others that they know in order to try and get the same emotional response from them.

As Tony Robbins has mentioned in his books over and over again, an emotional reaction can happen when the right “trigger” is used in a social media marketing campaign. Remember the old Budweiser “Waaassssuuuuuuup?!” campaign? They were very popular because they could be used as a greeting, which is a very common trigger. Caring comes first, then the sharing… For instance, the “pink glove” video campaign for breast cancer, and the ALS “ice water challenge” are both extremely viral YouTube marketing efforts that have achieved tremendous success because of the caring message they are promoting.

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In addition to the emotional trigger response, some other key attributes needed in a good social media viral campaign might be to include “social proof”, and to make sure that the video has some practical value for the individual watching it. We have to remember that it is always “individuals” that are watching the videos, and even though they may be watching as a company employee there also needs to be something interesting there to keep them watching on an individual level, otherwise they might just turn it off and go on to something else instead.

Something that also works quite well is to become a storyteller, and interact with the viewer on that level. Draw them into the story by keeping their attention riveted on the next words or what is going to happen next, instead of putting them to sleep with the same old thing that they can see anywhere! Watch other people’s YouTube videos to get a feel for what might be working and what isn’t working. Look at views and see what videos might have gone viral and try to figure out the reason why. This may help you the most when trying to decide what aspects of the video that you need to focus on the most.

Make your videos weird or funny in order to try and make them different from other peoples videos and to get them to go viral. If they are unique and make people laugh, there is a good chance that they have the ability to go viral. Check out the following video and see an example of something incredibly simple, but created over 600,000 views!


In order to create a professional looking video that you would want to place out on YouTube or another online video hosting site, you will probably want to invest in some video editing software such as Camtasia. Camtasia will definitely do just about everything that you will need or want in terms of video editing, but it also runs about $300 or so. You can find cheaper editing software, and some that are even free, but in my opinion if you can afford to purchase Camtasia you may as well do it now and get used to using it. There is a lot to learn with any video editing software, but it will help you in your quest for that perfect viral marketing initiative!

Differentiation

Social media is really the up-and-coming preferred method for companies to showcase their products to customers or potential customers, engage them with interactive discussions, answer questions, provide inexpensive and quick customer support activity, and many other great opportunities! The company that chooses not to take advantage of the benefits of social media will probably grow to regret it later, once their competition takes away a large chunk of market-share from them! Two companies that we can look at in further depth are Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Both are very successful in the soft drink industry, and are without doubt the top two providers. Coke seems to have the upper hand when it comes to their social media efforts, with over 63 million Facebook fans compared to over 17 million for Pepsi. “For some reason Pepsi had not updated their main corporate Facebook page at all from July 2012 to at least July 2013!”

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(Image from the website, http://wearesocial.net/blog/2009/07/coca-cola-social-media-case-study/)

(Econsultancy, “How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+”) Pepsi seems to have more stability with updating their sub-brands pages, many of them on a daily basis. “If you compare Pepsi’s silent page to Coca-Cola’s social efforts and the storming success it’s had just by writing random names on the side of cans, then one would assume that Pepsi might soon be hiring a new Facebook page admin.” (Econsultancy, “How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+”)

Pepsi seems to have more of a confused approach to their social media strategy, using many brands on Twitter instead of just the main corporate brand. They do utilize hashtags quite often, trying to bring in a more youthful crowd of supporters and customers and show them having a good time. Coke also has separate Twitter feeds for their many sub-brand of soft drinks, but their main brand name feed has over 700,000 followers and has tweeted more than 75,000 times, making it a very active brand! They also respond quite frequently to a huge number of mentions and requests every day, and are actively engaging their customers in order to utilize the social media platforms to their fullest. Even at that however, Coca-Cola could still provide more social media support staff to the effort in order to not miss any opportunities!

As far as Pinterest goes, Pepsi has had a slow start when compared with Coke. As of 2013, they have really only had the “Pepsi NEXT” brand listed with an official Pinterest account. Pepsi could really use a dedicated team intent on updating their Pinterest campaigns and understanding exactly what is needed to make that social media tool successful. As usual, Coke has had more success with Pinterest utilizing great photos which include images of Coke bottles and the like in them. They have 9 brand-related boards, and collate content posted from other sites as well.

More than ever, it is important for companies to be able to decide on their social media strategy based on their objectives and goals as a company, and then to ensure that the proper direction and leadership is provided. They can then begin to formulate and crank out numbers so they will be able to tell if they are meeting their expectations or not meeting them. Figuring out the ROI is very important, but it is not always the most important aspect of social media marketing. Some of the efforts just may not be trackable, but still very useful regardless. “By thinking about the problem purely in terms of financial returns—on what are usually relatively small investments to begin with — marketers shortchange the ultimate value of social and potentially miss out on opportunities to meet many different kinds of important business objectives.” (Hugeinc, “Measuring Success in Social Media”)

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(Image from the website, http://www.viralblog.com/social-crm/coke-on-poe-ask-50m-fans-to-share-happiness/)

The clear winner in my mind in this head-to-head social media competition is Coca-Cola, as they seem to have formulated a creative strategy and also provided the resources and funding necessary to properly implement it. There is still much room for improvement, and staying the course and continuing to be creative will benefit them! Pepsi really needs to buckle down as a company and strategize on what it is they are trying to do with social media, and then find the necessary funding to make it happen. They probably need to expand their social media department to include experts among the many different social media platforms in order to continue to stay competitive with Coca-Cola! Follow the lead of the leaders, and you have a chance of becoming one yourself.

Please provide comments or suggestions below…

References:

Gibs, J. (2014, Jan. 15). Measuring Success in Social Media. Hugeinc. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62548-how-coca-cola-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

Moth, D. (2013, April 17). How Coca-Cola Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Econsultancy. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/62548-how-coca-cola-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

Moth, D. (2013, July 15). How Pepsi Uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Econsultancy. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://econsultancy.com/blog/63062-how-pepsi-uses-facebook-twitter-pinterest-and-google/.

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