Taking a look at the year in rewind, we see more than a few shimmering social media marketing trends worthy of analysis. Let’s take a look at six specific trends and tactics that notably pushed social media campaigns to greater exposure and increased conversions this year. Learning from those who nailed it will help pave the way for our own success this coming New Year.
1. Visual Content Continued to Rise
This year, as expected, visual content continued to gain popularity. In fact, many experts even dub it a necessity. Volkswagen, for example, posts on Facebook nearly every day. The images are clean, high-resolution photos of their products and the happy people who use them. A simple call-to-action like the one below makes it easy for fans to comment. In fact, posts that include action call action words like “share” garner double the social actions compared with those that do not.
Remember, we can do so much more than take high-quality photos of our products. For example, “infographic” type of content (a combination of visuals and text that educate and entertain) has been shown to grow referral traffic to a site by an average of 12% more than other kinds of images. Visual.ly has tracked and researched exactly which types of infographics perform best overall. They include:
- Observational Humor
- Novel Insights
- How To
- Timely Issues
2. The Blog Didn’t Die
There’s been a lot of buzz in the marketing world about the potential death of the blog. But for now, blogging is still alive, well, and going strong. Blogging giant ESPN is a prime example of the power behind a well-maintained and updated blog. ESPN promotes its numerous blogs via social media, and they boast over 14 million followers on Twitter and well over 13 million likes on Facebook. While we all can’t follow in ESPN’s footsteps, we can learn from what they’re doing right. And truly, it’s pretty simple: blog well, blog often, and promote blogs via social. Write engaging headlines that tell exactly what the news is – there’s no “clickbait” or misleading titles.
3. Google+ Enticed Marketers But Required a Sharp Learning Curve
There are mixed reviews about what to expect from Google+ in the future. Some say that even with over 300 million members Google+ may be slowing down its roll, but others believe it’s an increasingly important force in social, promotions, networking, and search engine optimization.
The shift in thinking that makes Google+ an attractive medium is when businesses learn how to mold a unique experience on it – not just arbitrarily post content. All businesses essentially need to create a Google+ / Places profile to have their listings show up effectively in Google searches, but many leave it at that afterwards instead of creating a content strategy for the platform. A great example of a brand rocking the Google+ sphere is Android.
Android posts frequently on Google+, multiple times per day, and reaches an astounding 8 million people on the platform alone. While it’s no surprise that Android is also a Google creation, and therefore making the most out of the social platform, it’s still wise to use the success as a lesson. Other ways Android is doing it right on Google+ includes promoting new products, hosting contests and sharing videos.
4. Disappearing Media Became Attractive
When parents and grandparents began joining Facebook, teens flocked toward Snapchat. Disappearing media will likely play an important role in the future of social so it’s wise to share a few snaps if we want to slide into 2015 with the best of them. General Electric is a great example. It isn’t a typical brand associated with the teen demographic, but it’s doing very well on the platform.
Appealing to the geek crowd (side note: geeks are oxymoronically considered cool today), General Electric posts about its inventions and promotes an interest in science. The Global Director of the company admitted that the disappearing nature of Snapchat provides the colossal electric corporation with a unique way to engage young fans.
5. Podcasts Had a Turbulent Trip
Podcasts seemed to have come and went but now they’re back again. Marketers, celebrities, and everyday people are now creating podcasts. Why? People realize that podcasts are more personal than blogs – and a lot less crowded. They allow brands to connect with their fans on a deeper level.
Advertisers have also taken notice of the recent rise of the podcast. Platforms such as The Mid Roll and PodCastOne connect podcasters with advertisers. There is no better time to start planning our future podcasts, and here are a few tips to get started:
- Purchase recording and editing equipment so your quality is topnotch. You’ll need a microphone, a mixer, and software, such as [insert software options here for PC and Mac].
- Create powerful introductions and thought-provoking conclusions. You should already be doing this while your blog, but it’s equally – if not more – important with podcasts because your audience will be with you for more minutes than it takes to read a blog.
- Upload podcasts to major directories and iTunes, ensuring not to miss inputting any relevant data such as tags, your RSS feed code, and relevant artwork.
6. Calculating Social ROI Became Easier
Calculating returns from costly social media campaigns with accuracy used to be an extremely vague and confusing process. Today, we have access to a plethora of tools and tactics for accurately reporting engagement on social media channels. Keep these tips in mind to report accurate ROI on social media campaigns:
- Track user engagement on posts with links, tying social data to web traffic.
- Provide specific calls to action and links to dedicated landing pages that have Google Analytics enabled
- Speaking of Google Analytics, consider getting certified in Google’s free web analytics software, with a specific focus on event tracking. This allows you to collect accurate information about how users interact with your content.
- Calculate ROI in intervals: after spending ‘$xx.xx’ how much did you earn? If returns are low then pause and edit your campaign. Consider split testing social media posts to find the type of content with highest ROI for your audience.
As we look forward to the New Year it’s a good time to reflect on what’s worked and what’s flopped in our industry. We’ve seen marketing executives acknowledge customer acquisition via social media channels with increased budgets, we’ve seen more advertisers and content creators adopting podcasts, and we’ve seen tactful approaches to creating visual content.
Which social media trends and/or tactics have stood out for you this year?