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8 Things That Social Media Marketers Need To Know From KPCB’s 2014 Internet Trends Report

When our VP of Marketing, Michael Walton, sent around the link to Mary Meeker’s KPCB Internet Trends Report, I was blown away by the sheer amount of industry knowledge and context it provided – but I also recognized that it was 164 slides long and that not every social media marketer has the time to flip through a document of this length.

So I pulled out the facts and slides I thought would be most helpful for social media marketers and community managers, and coupled them with tips based on the findings. I still recommend visiting the report, because it provides a larger framework for these insights, but here are some of the highlights.

Image + video sharing at an all-time high. 

Your brand’s followers are sharing images and videos on Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat at ever-increasing rates.

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This content-sharing bonanza is not going anywhere. If your audience members are willing to share personal images and videos on social media with friends and followers, why not harness this tendency and ask them to share their media, their stories, with your brand? BirchBox is one brand doing a great job with this on Instagram:
Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 2.21.20 PMCampaigns of this nature not only raise brand awareness and foster engagement – they also leave brands with invaluable qualitative and quantitative market research on what their followers are doing, seeing, and feeling.

Surprising social distribution stats.

How does a piece of content make its way around the world of social media? How do posts go viral and articles get thousands upon thousands of click-throughs?

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 12.12.35 PMAccording to KPCB’s report,  the best places to post your content are Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter – with Facebook winning by a landslide in the percentage of site referrals it generates. At first it was surprising to me that Pinterest came out in front of Twitter here, but it shouldn’t have been – Pinterest boards are essentially visual links/site previews in many instances, especially for brands.

KPCB’s social distribution findings via SimpleReach were also initially surprising to me. Honestly, I thought the amount of time in which social referrals were made would be even shorter – I underestimated the attention span of internet users and algorithms of Facebook, I guess. In terms of social media strategy, this finding reveals how important it is to build and publicize not just timely but also evergreen content for articles that beat the odds and deliver strong ROI.

Consider BuzzFeed-ing Your Content. 

It turns out that BuzzFeed isn’t just an entertaining way to kill time at work – it’s a learning tool for all content marketers, bloggers, and social media managers looking for successful strategies and new techniques.

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Lesson #1 here: Lists work.

Lesson #2: Quizzes do, too.

Lesson #3: “How to…” and “Why…” are attractive ways to begin a piece of content and rep it on social media.

Lesson #4: Jump on breaking news items, with your brand’s own unique spin.

Lesson #5: You gotta be producing video content (more on that later).

Lesson #6: Your gorgeous site better be optimized for mobile (definitely more on that later)!

Convenience is key. 

How does your brand make life easier for your customers/audience?

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A huge takeaway from KPCB’s report is that – from #AmazonCart to Netflix personalization – brands are developing technologies to help buyers/users access what they want as quickly as possible. What does this mean for folks in social media marketing / management? That, at all times, in all ways, embedded in each piece of content created, there should be a mention of how your brand’s product or service offers life-changing convenience and a new sense of ease.

Content + Community + Commerce. 

The 2014 challenge for social media marketers and content creators is hitting the trifecta of content, community, and commerce.

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Lesson #1 here: Your social media content should be a blend of expert advice and consumer voice – for instance, Tweeting about your site’s featured interview with an industry expert in golf carts but also finding, Retweeting, and responding to customers’ rave reviews of your brand’s golf carts. This gives your brand clout on two levels: gaining a reputation for relevant, quality content, and also getting backed up, connected with, and given props by the people who use your product/service.

Lesson #2: Create a social media community on each of your active platforms that pays attention to and relies on what your followers post. You want to create an active ecosystem for your brand, not throw content at your audience and consider a lively reaction bonus points. A good sign of a truly healthy brand is when followers choose to interact with the brand (positively, of course) first.

Lesson #3: Put it all in one place. Houzz, of course, is its own social network built around home design. I’m not advocating you start your own social network, but I do want you to tap into the power of addressing as many of your customers’ pain points as you can on each social media channel.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 12.34.35 PMFor instance, if  you know that your audience responds well to inspirational photos, editorial guides, helpful links, forum-style discussions, and direct links to products, don’t choose one social network for each kind of content. Make each network presence as inclusive of all you have to offer as possible – while, of course, modifying/tweaking to fit that particular network’s aesthetic.

For consumers, by consumers. 

Who’s creating the delectable content that folks are gobbling down so eagerly?

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Why, the consumers themselves, of course. What this means for you: people want content that feels natural, unforced, and personal to them. They’re pretty good (and getting better) at picking up on disingenuous marketing ploys, and they’re most interested in consuming content about people they know or “real people.” The days of the traditional ad are over, folks. It’s time to give your brand a personality that provokes reaction, to join conversations and content sharing already happening between those ever-elusive “real people,” and to pay close attention – those are where your ideas for future content and campaigns should come from, not the other way around.

People are spending more minutes on their smartphones than on any other screen type. 

And this number is only growing.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.10.37 PMSo make sure all the content you’re linking to on social media is mobile-optimized, because that’s probably where you audience is viewing it.

A grand opportunity for TV shows and TV advertisers. 

The amount of mobile owners who use their devices while tuning in has doubled over the past two years.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.13.06 PMSocial media is and will continue to be an ideal space to reinforce brand messages and/or drive greater engagement on TV shows. Just take a look at these numbers on TV, Twitter, and their beautiful relationship when it comes to ad impact.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.29.48 PMYouTube is the place to BE. 

If I were in charge of a social media marketing department, I would focus intently on YouTube.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 1.19.12 PMThe network has seen intense year-over-year growth in virtually every video category it recognizes.

What it means for you: If you don’t have a significant presence on YouTube, get on it. Resources devoted to the network will not go to waste.

And remember: YouTube’s top ten videos to date have an average duration of less than 7 minutes. Your videos don’t have to be lengthy to be magical and results-driving.

What do you think are the most important findings in the report?

Let us know in the comments below. And if you’d like to start measuring the strategies you’re currently using, just click on that bodacious green button for a free 14-day trial of our entire measurement software suite.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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