8 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2014

Even though spending on social media marketing is at an all-time high and continues to grow, there’s a good reason that the overall portion of the marketing budget dedicated to social channels remains comparatively small. Frankly, this is a bit surprising. It’s been nearly 10 years after social media arrived on the scene; and today, social media essentially dominates as a share of digital consumer attention, yet social channels remain an under served target for many businesses.

The underlying reasons for this general underinvestment in social media marketing are complex. In general, marketers have discovered that attaining their objectives through social media can be less predictable, particularly because the discipline itself is one of the fastest changing in the media business. It is harder to tie outcomes to specific business goals. Directly translating traditional marketing activities into social media usually doesn’t produce the best results, as marketing efforts typically have to be rethought for two-way engagement, user participation, and/or viral amplification.

Some of the current data is sobering:

Yet over 70% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in social media next year, and by an average of 50%. This means marketers will be doing more in social, expectations by the business will be higher, and successful outcomes more important than ever.

In this environment then, my research indicates that marketing teams will be looking to increase the effectiveness of their social marketing efforts in three ways: a) by better adapting their digital assets and campaigns to social channels, b) shifting to a focus to managing for quality metrics, instead of just quantitative measures, and c) preparing for more rapid engagement in new channels including mobile and new emerging social networks.

Against this backdrop, here’s what 2014 holds in store for social media marketing:

  1. Marketers will get Facebook fatigue as the social networking giant continues to change its algorithms. 
    Fresh off the most recent — and rather contentious — changes to brand pages, marketers will re-evaluate how much they invest in the platform in 2014, looking for a more diversified social strategy. I’ve long recommended that companies serious about social media should avoid driving their traffic to Facebook in general, and the latest round of changes by Facebook should give marketers reason to carefully rethink their plans.
  2. The resurgence of Google+. 
    Now that Google+ has grown recently to become the #2 social network online, it will get new respect by marketers next year, who will figure out how to incorporate it into their social marketing plans.
  3. Image-based services and surprisingly, blogging, will see new emphasis. 
    Whether it is Pinterest or Instagram, or images in feeds on Twitter and Facebook, compelling visuals continue to drive high engagement and attention. Marketers will be looking at expanding their efforts in this area next year. Blogging will also return as a key engagement strategy that avoids the lock-in and control issues of major social media sites.
  4. Integrated marketing begins in earnest. 
    In 2014, it’ll be practical for the average organization to largely achieve a long-standing goal: Easily create an integrated marketing campaign that has presence and engagement capabilities at all the major social and non-social touchpoints. What’s new that will finally make this happen? The rise, maturity, and recent prominence of new multi-channel and “omnichannel” marketing platforms like Marketo and Eloqua that perform a lot of the work automatically to make consumer experiences seamless across Web, mobile, social, and other digital channels.
  5. Real-time marketing will get real. 
    RTM was all the rage this year, and powerful examples like T-Mobile’s customer retention effort demonstrated that major, market shifting results were possible. But most organizations were just learning about it in 2013. Next year, they will begin integrated real-time efforts into their social media efforts, particularly as more companies build social media command centers capable of scaled listening, triage, and dispatch.

  6. Social marketers will continue to struggle with mobile. 
    Over 250 million Facebook users are mobile-only and that number is growing. While Facebook was able to gets its act together around mobile, it took an investment and effort that most marketing organizations won’t possess. Organizations willing to focus on mobile-first for their social marketing efforts will fare better, but it will be another difficult year adapting marketing strategies to both social and mobile.
  7. The move to measurement of quality of engagement, instead of quantity. 
    Not that quantity won’t continue to matter, as it always determines the ultimate funnel size, but as measurement methods continue to improve dramatically, social marketers will also be able to determine if their efforts are resulting in the quality of engagement needed to drive business outcomes, like conversions. You can’t manage to what you can’t measure, and measuring quality of engagement will ensure more effective and efficient marketing campaigns in 2014
  8. A significant shift in the social networking landscape. 
    The emergence of Snapchat and a host of other new social networks and apps shows how dynamic the industry is. Marketers will find it easy to focus on the old standbys like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, yet some of the best demographic segments will shift their attention to new social networking services in 2014, and smart marketers will allocate resources and budget next year to tap into them.

Of course, much more will happen in social media marketing next year, but these will be some of the most significant in my analysis. That’s not to say that some of the strategies of five years ago aren’t still key. For example, I’m still sanguine the major investments in customer communities have the biggest bang for the buck, even as the window increasingly closes on the easy opportunities.

What are you seeing as the biggest trends for social media marketing next year?

Dion Hinchcliffe is the Chief Strategy Officer of Dachis Group. To find out more about Dachis Group’s session at Social Media Week, click here.

Casting Call: Event & Blogging Partners Wanted

Next week we’ll host our first SMW NYC Community Meetup. On November 25th, we’ll bring together our event partners, influencers, bloggers, advocates, and advisory board members to share our new vision for Social Media Week New York and the various ways you can get involved.

As we grow and enhance the SMW NYC experience, we want to give you more opportunities to get involved. From hosting events to speaking to taking a star role on our blogs, we’ll be on hand to answer any questions you have about taking part this February.

+ The Event Submission Process
+ NYC Campus Programming
+ Future of Now Theme
+ Content Ideas and Formats
+ Special Event Opportunities
+ Writing & Editorial Opportunities

Event submission ends earlier this year (December 6th). So, join us at MRY to meet our team, learn more and kick off the holiday season.

And not to worry, we’ll provide the drinks and snacks. RSVP here.

blogger, SMW14

Public v. Private

I love social media and I’ve been tracking the growth of Web 2.0 since its inception. My independent study in graduate school focused on blogging when many people still considered it a wasteland of angsty teenagers, geeky technophiles and middle-aged women posting updates about their cat(s).

Although, companies have slowly– and reluctantly– embraced social media in recent years, we’re still in a pivotal transition period. Industry leaders are still tripping over themselves to keep up with the competition while trying to fully understand why their Fortune 500 companies need social media strategists in the first place.

We are at a watershed moment.

Part of the reason I value social media is because it expands my professional presence beyond my title, beyond my desk. I’m not just a number cruncher; I’m not just the logistics manager. I have traveled around the world; my squash game needs [a lot] of improvement; I enjoy the humour of How I Met Your Mother.  Nonetheless, wait for it- there is a line, and that is where management is should be paying attention.

The question is not if we should incorporate social media into business. We’re way past that point. The question we need to ask is how?

Simply arming the staff with corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts is simply careless. Guidelines need to be put into place so employees understand what is in/appropriate and expected. What employees write publicly reflects on the companies which employ them. Even if their bios read, “My thoughts my own.” As Dorie Clark wrote in “It’s Not a Job Search, It’s a Permanent Campaign” (HBR): [Everyone] is also now expected to perform round-the-clock personal brand maintenance, and most people don’t even realize it.

As we move forward into the next phase of business conduct, we need to educate not only veterans of industry, but also newly minted graduates who have not known a world without the internet. I recall being shocked by a Wall Street article years after business casual dress codes had been adopted across the board. Apparently, some of the self-selecting audience of the newspaper did not realize that they ought not dress for work as if they were undergraduates ready for a hedonistic night in fraternity basements. Even as recent as two days ago, the newspaper ran an article titled, “Yes, Mark Zuckerberg Does Wear Ties Sometimes”. The Facebook CEO substituted his signature hoodie for a suit jacket and tie to meet President Obama.

I am definitely not saying, don’t have fun or don’t be yourself. I love fun and think there should be much more of it in the office. Just be mindful of your audience. Impressions count. Do your clients really need to see you dressed as a pirate dinosaur and chugging a bottle of vodka while riding a mechanical bull? Is it worth possibly losing a million dollar account or contract? (In both cases, probably not.)

Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. You can follow her on Twitter.

Photo courtesy Doug Woods.

At the Crossroads of (Higher) Education, Social, and Standards

Conventional thinking dictates that technology—including social media— and education are at odds with each other. Between the amount time student spend of Facebook, and the rise of pay-for-papers sites, many administrators and teachers have permanently blacklisted all of these programs in their schools. However, social media cannot be valued in such a constricted prism. There are many unorthodox uses for social media, which would engage the nation’s children.

One teacher who is experimenting with such social media tools in her classroom is Melissa Seideman, a history teacher from White Plains who was a part of the Social Media Interview: John Katzman and Jeremy Johnson on The Future of Higher Education: Will Colleges Survive? followed by Panel: The Classroom of The Future: How Social Media Can Better Our Education System.

Ms. Seideman goes beyond the traditional use of a Blackboard/WebCt component for her classes; during one occasion, she asked her students to take out their cell phones and reach their parents to answer a question about the Vietnam war , within minutes there were texts from parents and relatives offering many views on this war. During the panel, she explained that she wanted to bring the ‘world into her classroom.’ Moreover, I asked her what fueled her passion about social and bringing into the classroom, she stated, “I created my blog as an outlet for me to actually share my ideas about a year ago, and now I have 11 thousand people who have been to it, which I think is pretty amazing. I was sharing ideas with friends but I was never getting the responses I wanted back. And by going on twitter and other social media sites, I was able to expand my teaching and improve it. I think that is what inspired me, I wanted to meet teachers like myself.” 

In addition, the use of social media hasn’t only had a positive affect for Ms. Seideman’s teaching, she sees the transformative effect it has on one of her students: “I have one student who will use My Big Campus or edmodo and post articles and things he has from class, and I think that is the epitome of what you want education to be, where they are going outside of a classroom and online to find resources and things to add to the online community. And he will actually find things that add to our discussions and post them on to our virtual class.” Furthermore, for all of those teachers— who like Melissa—want to include social media in the curriculum for their classes, she kindly shared with me a few of her favorite sites: “I get a lot of ideas from Free technology for teachers. Technology Tidbits. Teaching paperless is a wonderful site, their whole blog is about teaching a paperless classroom. Polls Everywhere is a cell phone service to use in the classroom. And Teaching Generation Text is all about texting.

Yet, the learning experience does not end with a high school diploma. In the beginning of the session, 2tor Co-Founder Jeremy  Johnson —whose online learning system partners with universities to create  online course programs for their students—- stressed the importance of social interactions of the university setting, and how he implemented that into his online business model: “In order to get the  benefit of a high quality of education, you need to interact with other smart students, you need to only let in students who get into [the university] and you needed to actually interact with them the way we are talking right now, and to see them in real time and to actually engage in conversation.”  Like Ms. Seideman, 2tor saw the potential and value that Social Media added to their online business, “What we set out to do was to essentially build a learning management system that actually looked far more like Facebook than Blackboard…in order to let people recreate those hyper campus conversations. Because inherently, what social media is doing is allowing you to connect online more deeply with other people. We felt we needed to bring that into academia,” said Johnson.

In the same vein that high school is changing because of social media, college will adapt and reform as well. 2tor CEO John Katzman stated in his panel that perhaps colleges will never be completely done online, however, that taking a semester online to either travel, do philanthropic work, or even having job would be a quite attractive alternative to student—especially since the price of college is incredibly expensive. Perhaps, a complete and robust online high education experience is not that far off from reality.

Keynote Spotlight: Elisa Camahort Page, COO and Co-Founder of BlogHer, Inc.

Elisa Camahort Page, COO and Co-Founder of BlogHer, Inc.

This post is a part of a continuing series of Keynote Spotlights– check back here throughout the week for more information on the phenomenal individuals who will be gracing #SMW12 events next week!

You can hear from Elisa, followed by Panel: The Dawn of Companion TV, on Thursday February 16th from 9-11am at the Art & Culture Hub.

Elisa Camahort Page co-founded BlogHer, Inc. and serves as the company’s COO. With her leadership, the BlogHer conference has grown to five diverse events with over 5,000 attendees. The flagship annual conference is the largest conference for social media leaders in the U.S. and has been described as “ComicCon for women who blog” by Variety magazine.

Elisa’s work has resulted in coverage and profiles from many of the leading media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Advertising Age, Forbes, Fast Company, CNN, The Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, and many more. Together, BlogHer co-founders Lisa, Elisa and Jory have been named among the most influential women in Web 2.0 and technology by Fast Company (2008, 2009 and 2010), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalists (2010) and among the seven most powerful people in new media by Forbes Magazine (2009). In 2011 they were jointly awarded the PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Award and in 2008, the Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award. Elisa has been honored as an NCWIT Hero and as one of the AWM’s Sixty@60.

Elisa is a founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and serves on the Board of Directors of the 42nd Street Moon Theatre in San Francisco, the programming advisory committee for SXSW Interactive, Advisory Board for Food on the Table, and the Board of Advisors of the Anita Borg Institute.

Click here to register for her keynote!

Women in Social Media Answer: “Why Go Social?” & “What’s the Right Way to Do It?”

About this Social Media Week Guest Blogger: Though Rebecca recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin’s Advertising program, she has been a social media enthusiast for years, and is honored to guest blog at #smwnyc. To learn more, visit her blog and follow her on Twitter @rebeccaweiser.

Women in Social Media
Panel at the JP Morgan Chase Building, NYC

Panelists: Alexa Hirschfeld, Meghan Muntean, Casey Carter, Joran Reid.

The panel of strong, successful women featured those who, after spending time with traditional and realizing that digital is the future, have found their niche in the digital space. Their entrepreneurial spirits and experience provided insight into the two biggest issues addressed:  “Why go social?” and “What is the right way to do it?”

Why: “Bloggers just get it.”

  • One issue addressed was that of the FCC’s new restrictions on bloggers, essentially mandating that they issue full disclosure whenever gifted or paid to create content. The panel agreed that this is completely in line with the informal blogging code: be honest.  Bloggers should give full disclosure regardless of the FCC, as they owe it to their readers.
  • Have fun: Blogging should be a safe, fun space in which like-minded individuals can express themselves.
  • Whenever a blogger posts about an item, readers can immediately click through and potentially be moved to purchase. This immediate response truly separates traditional from digital, allowing for faster and much more effective ROI.
  • How : “What is the right way to do it?”

    • Before starting anything, either business, blog, or any other type of venture, it’s important to make sure you talk to others. If you have friends who have done this before, ask them for guidance, or “learn the expensive way.”
    • In order to gain traffic to your blog, try getting your name out there. Try guest-posting on a blog that you like. If readers like your style and content, they’ll want to read more.
    • Take calculated risks, and go exploring in the digital realm. “Buying domain names is like a 21st century landgrab.”

    ‘What is your $ocial Music Currency?’ Presented by SoundCtrl; Sponsored by dotMusic 2/3/10

    dani1About this Social Media Week Guest Blogger: Dani Klein is Founder and Blogger at YeahThatsKosher.com, Founder/Consultant at SocialCity Marketing and Social Media Director at StandWithUs. You can follow Dani on Twitter @YeahThatsKosher.

    Ironically held in a space known as “Former Tower Records Space” on Foursquare, ‘What is your $ocial Music Currency?’ discussed the role of Social Media within the music industry. The event was sold out / standing room only, which sure makes me glad I had a press pass.

    Admittedly, the music industry is not where I consider myself super-knowledgeable, thus I decided to focus on the words of wisdom relating to social media, marketing and business (which I have a background in).

    While the event was advertised as discussing Social Media currency, specifically within the music industry, the panel didn’t really touch on it as much as I would’ve liked. The term “currency” wasn’t really used. Rather they discussed either their personal experiences using social media, mainly Twitter & blogging, or the recent changes to the music industry [caused by technology].

    questlove panelThe panel consisted of:

      ?uestLove* – Drummer from the Roots and the Jimmy Fallon Show
      Andrew Katz – Sr. Marketing Manager for Pepsi
      Marisa Bangash– Co-Founder of Uncensored Interview

    • The panel was moderated by James Andrews* – Co-Founder of BeEverywhere.tv
    *I found ?uestLove and James to be quite interesting characters.

    ?uestLove discussed the idea that there is little success in the music biz without a tribe / crew / group surrounding it. Even solo artists have their groups. Today, an artist’s crew could be online (especially with the emergence of social media). Andrew added that the world doesn’t need another Britney Spears or Beyonce. As a brand that is entrenched in the music industry, Pepsi is involved in connecting audiences to different tribes. Artists today need their own social network for them to have worth to brands. Are they involved in the network? Do they embrace social media? Brands are looking for those that do, and piggy back on their success.

    ?uestLove sees the music labels as the middlemen of the music world, which in essence they are. Marisa added that globally, labels aren’t necessary anymore. Due to the emergence of social media, artists can bring their message directly to the consumer. However, ?uestLove added that as an artist today, you need to do a lot more than just spin or produce… Can you blog? Can you represent your brand? He implied that beyond being a good musician you must also be a good marketer / promoter.

    Pepsi uses music to find new ideas. Ideas get voted on, and receive grant money from brand. Artists are encouraged to use their social networks (blog & tweet) to gain votes. Andrew claims that Pepsi is new to Social Media (he named Facebook & Twitter specifically), but an upcoming crowdsourced campaign should boost their presence. According to Andrew: Brands are curators (of content). It is easy to sponsor content, much harder to be a creator of content.

    Marisa discussed the licensing of indie music by big brands. Brands & bands can go hand in hand, especially if it is organic and authentic.

    As a popular tweeter, ?uestLove (~1.3M followers) has been approached by companies to tweet, which he deemed a bit scary. A quarter million dollars is a large carrot to push a brand’s content. (It seems he hasn’t taken a bite, although he said he may sell eventually sell out to Twitter, but not yet). ?uestLove uses Twitter to push new music & bands, and demos that come his way. Causes are important, but can be problematic if they are not properly vetted. This is similar to what I heard Monday evening at the Social Media & Haiti event.

    In response to an audience question, ?uestLove noted that Business, Art, and Commerce are a dirty combo. Concerning blogs he mentioned that journalists / writers today are lazy since they are copying content from popular music blogger and just re-purposing the content. This leads to writers not forming their own ideas, which is dangerous. Andrew added that blogs are the new [music] charts. Marisa added that blogs have replaced print and magazines; magazines folded because of blogs, which today has become a crowded space.

    And finally, to wrap up the review of the event, the best quote went to an audience member: “Fans today are no longer clapping, but rather are Tweeting.” Too true.