Social Predictions for 2014

We are all aware now that the Social Media revolution is a reality, plenty of us have seen the light and are using the powers of Social Media for the greater good. We at Dot Social think the only way is up and in 2014 things will just get more interesting. Here are some of the things I think we are going to see happening..

1. Social media is compulsory

Up until now opting out of social has been an option for some businesses, especially those longer standing ones who can’t get their head around it. I predict that in 2014, social will no longer be an option, that business MUST include Social Media as part of their marketing strategy to stay in the game

2. Questions asked on Social Media require an immediate response

In the past it was OK for businesses to take 12, 24, 72 hours to get back to people, but as the new digital disciples step into the consumer arena, they’ll be wanting answers on Facebook, Twitter etc straight away. Be prepared, 2014 is all about immediacy.

3. Everybody’s Mobile

YOU MUST make sure you’re marketing to mobile. According to Forbes: 87% Of Connected Devices Sales By 2017 Will Be Tablets And Smartphones so if your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re going to be missing out on potentially A LOT of business!

4. Instant e-commerce

We know that Pinterest can drive sales,  and we know they allow partners to use real-time Pinterest data to generate lists of the most-pinned items in their online stores.  Now imagine if you could click and purchase on Pinterest or Facebook without going anywhere else.. It’s just a matter of time..

5. Staff buy in

2014 and beyond will see the big brands extending their Social Media reach and incentivising their staff  to activate their personal communities and spread the word of the brand.

6. Images

‘A picture paints a thousand words’ and across the Social Media platforms every second memes, infograpics, selfies etc, etc are popping up.   Instagram and Pinterest really kicked off in a big way over the last couple of years and there are all manner of editing apps you can get for your smartphone – 2014 will see much more of the same. 

7. Podcasts

My last prediction is the rise of the podcast.   The YouTubers have put in their bid for world domination, Vimeo and Vine have created some noise over the last couple of years but I think that this year is all about absorbing information while your moving around, commuting, doing the housework etc, etc.. 2014 is the year of the podcast

by @StephanieDarkes

 

Are you a Google Ad? – Protect your privacy and make sure you opt out

In case you missed it, last November Google updated its terms of service, allowing the company to use your profile information in ads. Meaning that your name, picture and personal details are being spread throughout your network (unless you have already opted out).  

Facebook learnt the hard way that  there are lots of people who don’t like their face and name to show up in ads, and paid out a few Quid to some disgruntled users that took them to court.  

Google have tried to make the move by being more communicative, but if you did miss it – don’t panic! You can opt out right here all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box. 

For more information on how the shared endorsements work go here

Use the correct size images for your Facebook posts

Whatever you are promoting on Facebook, make the most of the space you have and use the correct dimensions on your pages:

Cover Image

Your cover image is a great space to show off your business so it’s important that you set the correct size – if you use an image that is too small it will be stretched , if you use one that is too large you will loose some of the image.  

Cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall and must be at least 399 pixels wide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights

Share with your fans key points and milestone in your journey

Milestone and highlighted images are 843 pixels wide x 403 pixels tall.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shared Images

Shared images / pinned posts are square images that fit perfectly within the timeline, if these images are not the optimal size, Facebook will only show part of the image.  

Shared images are 403 pixels wide x 403 pixels tall.   

Making Social Media work for your business

If you want to really make Social Media work for your business you have to be realistic about how you go about managing it, here are some handy dandy tips to help you…

Use some great Software:

There are plenty of management platforms out there such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, it is a good idea to find one that you like and preplan some stock tweets / Facebook messages but I’ll let you into a secret; social media works best when it’s in real time…

Source: http://blogs.attask.com

Little and often:

You wouldn’t start a conversation on Monday, walk away from it and finish it on Tuesday, the person you are talking to would think you incredibly rude.  The best way to manage your online community is to do a little everyday.

*There are other advantages of working in real time, for example, with FB in particular @ tagging does not work through management platforms

 

Think about your content

Create a steady flow of fun, interesting content that people will be enjoy, find useful and will want to read.

 

Be engaging

Imagine you’re at a party, it’s an online gathering of people, if you’re a wall-flower no one will see you and no one will notice you, if you talk too much people will get annoyed and walk away. If you listen as much as you talk, make jokes and make people feel comfortable people will flock to you.

 

Source: http://www.bitrebels.com

Employ the right person to manage your social media:

For small to medium Businesses it is often advantageous to outsource to a Social Media Professional / Community Manager.  If you do decide to do this I would also suggest that you find yourself one who has an interest and / or experience in your field. If they are going to be talking about and representing your business, they need to be passionate about it!

 

Be courteous

The 80’s and the age of what I call shouty marketing is well and truly over, we are living in an age where businesses need to be more courteous and customer savy because when it comes to Social Media, as a business you need to create a buzz for your brand so that people want to follow you / like you / read your updates, if you spend all of your time shouting sales pitches at people you’re not going to make any friends fast!

 

If you need any more tips, you know where I am!

 

 

Get your head around Facebook business timelines

As you all should know by now, on March 30th your Facebook business page will become a business timeline so if you haven’t made the necessary changes already, it’s time to get your head around the new layouts and the features.  “Not again!” I hear you cry, as humans we are often opposed to change but I would say this is a change for the better so relax and embrace it.

I have been asked by a lot of you how the new design works so I’ve written this handy guide to hold your hand through the key changes and to help you to make your page engaging:

  1. Goodbye landing pages Facebook certainly know how to dominate a market, a lot of companies don’t use mailing lists any more they rely solely on social media to talk to their clients, your landing page can still be found in your tabs on your page but if you want to use it to capture data you have to direct potential clients to to the app via Facebook ads.
  2. Hello cover image – you now have some prime real estate at the top of your page – so make it stand out!  See the notes below for more information.
  3. Your fans can now message you directly  – I LOVE this feature, you can now speak to your fans directly, it’s a great opportunity to build relationships, encourage interaction and enhance your community.
  4. Your tabs are now apps and can be found under your timeline on the left they are  760px and you can customise them!
  5. Shiny new admin panel – making it far easier to keep track of activity, monitor the effectiveness of posts, pick up messages & learn about fans
  6. You can pin and highlight posts – making it easier to direct your fans to the posts you want them to see.

 

Here’s 3 things you should do right now!

1. Create a cover image

One of the positives of the move to the timeline is that you have a huge space to show off your business, your cover image must be 851 x 315 pix, make it engaging and exciting, have a few designed so that you can refresh them every now and then.

BUT, before you get too excited and start turning the space into a huge sales pitch, Facebook has very specific rules about how you can use that space:

Cover may not contain:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Enough about what  you can’t do, here’s what  you can do:

  • Keep it simple – write in a language your fans will understand
  • Be inspiring – get your fans attention with interesting bespoke designs for your fanpage
  • Brand yourself!  Incorporate logos, images and pictures

Need more inspiration?  Check out Coca Cola’s

here’s a nice one designed by the graphic designers for Redfest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Customise your Tabs

You can display 4 of your apps, you can choose which 4 you want to display AND you can customise  the  thumbnail, the only ones you can’t edit are photos and likes, you cannot move the photo tab either.

To customise the design:

  • Create an image that is 111  x  74 pixels.
  • Click on the arrow to the right of your timeline (underneath the cover image).  It will show a number which represents the number of apps you are using.
  • Click on the arrow next to the image of the app you want to change.
  • Click on edit settings.
  • Click on change (for the image)
  • Upload the new image

To move your apps:

  • Click on the arrow to the right of your timeline (underneath the cover image).  It will show a number which represents the number of apps you are using.
  • Click on the arrow next to the image of the app you want to change.
  • Select the app you’d like to swap position with

 

3. Make the most of your posts!

  • Highlight key posts (this is particularly powerful when you are posting an image).  To do this click on the star in the top right of the post to stretch the post across the page
  • Pin your posts (can be fab for competitions or posting business advertisements) Do this by clicking on the ‘edit or remove’ button and select ‘pin to top’
  • You can also add Milestones to show off achievements.

 

Last but not least, make your page go live and enjoy it!  

Remember to be engaging, provide your readers with exciting things they would like to hear about AND have fun 🙂

 

Resources: 

Image sizes you need to know

  • Cover: 851 x 315
  • Profile pic: 180 x 180
  • Thumbnail for apps: 111 x 74
  • Highlighted & milestone images: 843 x 403
  • Images within wall posts display as 404 x 404.

Facebook help

 

Twitter tip: Keep your Twitstream clean!

If you want to use twitter effectively as a business tool you need to sort the wheat from the chaff, streamline your experience and spend quality time interacting with the people you follow.

TheTwitCleaner is a great tool for cleaning up your Twitstream and getting rid of spammers and bots! – it’s genius, just click the link below, sign in and let it highlight the timewasters, spammers and scammers so that you can de-clutter the rubbish in your Twitstream.

I love this app, it highlights users who might be using Twitter inappropriately telling you who’s spamming, who’s behaviour is ‘dodgy’, who are Bots and who are self-obsessed…  It also tells you where you fit into the mix!

Try it out for yourself


 

 

 

So where does Social Media fit into the Marketing Mix?

I have been a SM Marketing practitioner for many years and have built up the social presence of other SME’s but it was only a few months ago that I decided to start my own business.  During these months I have built up my own online presence on social media platforms by talking to people, listening, sharing information and networking.  Through my efforts and through recommendations my clients for the most part have found me.  My little SM business is a living breathing example of how social media can work for you.

But it’s not just the SME’s that are getting social, as Gideon Spanier points out in his article in The Evening Standard (Mon 24th October 2011)  “Brand managers recognise social media has become not only too big to ignore but also integral to the Marketing Mix.”

SM Marketing mix from http://ritubpant.com

 

So if social media is so important, where does it fit into the Marketing Mix?

With the above in mind, its no surprise that Ritu B Pant suggests alongside the established ‘Marketing Mix‘ – Product, Price, Placement and Promotion (The 4 P’s), social media has a Marketing Mix all of its own:

People – Integral in putting the ‘social’ into social media

Platform – There are A LOT of SM platforms to work with, for a marketeer, its all about discovering which platform your customers and potential customers are on.

Participation – Get involved, build meaningful relationships

Promotion – let people know about what it is you’re offering them – promote your business

 

Marketing Mix from http://www.eyeflow.com

 

Manolis Kounelakis from Eyeflow has a slightly different approach, he says there is a 5th P in addition to the traditional 4 P’s which is Participation and from participation come the 5 C’s of social media:

Conversation – Get involved, get talking to your customers and potential customers, with SM there are no limits

Community – build your own community around your brand or become part of a local business community

Commenting – Let people know that you are listening and make comments about things that you find of interest

Collaboration –  Build a relationship with other people on SM platforms, work together to build your presence and spread the word.

Contribution – Get involved, don’t be lazy, once you have made the decision to build your presence and start a conversation you have to keep it up.

 

So what does this all mean for marketing in the post-noughties decade?

Marketing is an ever evolving beast, with changes in technology driving how we socialise online and more and more people participating, it is a very exciting time to be a marketeer!

Resources

‘As brands get more social, they must listen more than talk’ By Gideon Spanier (Evening Standard, Mon 24th October)

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/markets/article-24001596-as-brands-get-social-they-must-listen-more-than-talk.do

The Social Media Marketing Mix (The 4 P’s) by Ritu B Pant

http://ritubpant.com/social-media-marketing-mix/

The 5 C’s and The Marketing Mix in the Social Media Era – posted by Manolis Kounelakis

http://www.eyeflow.com/blog/the-5-c%E2%80%99s-and-the-marketing-mix-in-the-social-media-era/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My quick DIY guide for marketing your business for FREE

I’m loving WordPress today.

The beautiful thing about online marketing these days is that you really can do it all yourself.  Not only can you develop and write your own site having complete control over it, you can buy your domain, set up your emails and plug-in your WordPress site (I’m going to use Namesco.co.uk )  for a fraction of the cost of a professional web developer – and it looks just as good.

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

Once your site is up and running you can set up your social media profiles and promote your business for free.

During these days of DIY marketing, I find myself getting more and more attached to my laptop and more and more in love with my new business.

If you want to set yourself up and you need a hand, you know where to find me 🙂

The theory of the Purple Cow

Cover of "Purple Cow: Transform Your Busi...

Cover via Amazon

I met an interesting guy at #purleybreakfastclub called Jason @GiraffeBanners he was having an in-depth conversation with Ian from The Jolly Farmers about a Purple Cow… It was my first foray into the world of networking and I thought it was some kind of bizarre tweet / network code.

Jason explained to me about the Seth Godin marketing concept.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, to save my fingers and my brain power, here’s an overview and a handy link to Seth’s site.

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/67/purplecow.html

http://www.sethgodin.com/purple/

Cynthia @cacevents wanted to know what it was all about too and I challenged Jason to cover it in one tweet (140 characters) he said he couldn’t but this led me to think it must be possible… I spent all day obsessed by the idea of purple cow and came up with this:

“Marketing should be remarkable, brown cows get boring, nobody notices boring things, be exceptional, be a purple cow”

I was quite proud of myself.