4 Social Media Trends We Will See in 2015

4 Social Media Trends We Will See in 2015

Has another year seriously passed? I seems like it was 2005 – my oldest was one, Facebook was just an idea in Zuckerberg’s head and heck, we all still had flip phones.

Social media has evolved in the past 10 years thanks to smartphones, tablets and the always-connected lifestyle the majority of us have adapted. If you told me 10 years ago that I’d have a phone with an app to order pizza or tell me the traffic, I would have laughed at you.

We’ve come leaps and bounds. 2014 saw a record amount spent on social advertising. Facebook topped well over 1 billion users and Instagram is now surging as a top social media platform.

As the industry is ever-evolving, we will see no shortage of changes this next year.

Facebook’s Algorithm Will Limit Your Posts

As previously announced, Facebook will start limiting the reach (drastically) of posts that appear to be salesy, like ads. They want you to spend money to get those posts seen. So what does that mean to you? Retool your Facebook strategy, if you even still have one. Make sure your posts are of value. Provide your fans quality, non-salesy content that encourages engagement. Even if only 100 people see it, if 75 of them are commenting or sharing, it’s still a success. Quality matters.

 

Instagram Demands to be Taken For Real

Yes, you can still Instagram pictures of your dinner, but with the major growth this platform saw in 2014 (200 million users!), expect it to grow even more. Imagine Pinterest in 2013. That’s Instagram now. More and more businesses are using this to reach their community, in fact according to the Social Media Marketing Industry report, 42% of marketers are planning to increase their use of the platform this year, compared to 38% in 2013.  I’m following just as many businesses now as I am people. The posts are quality and entertaining. This platform gives you the chance to show your business’ personality. Relating matters.

 

Content Marketing Will Become the Centerpiece

Content is huge right now. It’s become the vehicle for information, education and sales pitches. More content is being published on the web than ever before. My friend Mark Schaefer wrote about one of the consequences of all this content – content shock. The premise is that we will get to the point there will just be too much content out there for us to ingest. We are speeding towards that, but first make sure your content provides value and is respected by your community. That will stand out when this shock happens. The message still matters.

 

Social Advertising Becomes a Requirement

For some businesses, social media advertising is already a requirement. More money is being allocated to this every month. With Facebook’s changes and Twitter’s new business offerings, expect to see more ads in your social feeds. If the business is using them correctly, that’s not a bad thing. Watch out what you promote – it needs to create value for your community and help you meet your end goal. Money matters.

 

I’m sure you could google “2015 social media trends” and see more than these 4 I’ve listed, but these seem to be the biggest four to me.

What trends do you see happening in 2015? Are you excited about any of them?

Why I Would Give Up Facebook in a Heartbeat

Why I Would Give Up Facebook in a Heartbeat

Yes you read that right. A social media professional publicly stating she’d give up Facebook. Let me explain…

I have been a Facebook user since the fall of 2006. I enjoyed simply because I could keep up with my sister out of state. My mom joined a few years later.

Being on Facebook originally was fun – reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen in years, staying in better touch with family out of state and even getting to give an apology to someone that was about 10 years overdue. There were no ads and no games – you could say Facebook life was much simpler.

Fast forward to now. Everytime I log on, I’m shown more ads that I ever remember seeing. I’m constantly getting game requests from older relatives that all they do in retirement is play Facebook games (MOM!!!). Facebook is busier than it’s ever been. Over 1 billion people and over 50 million business pages.

As an everday user, I’m over it. As a business owner and a social media marketer, I’m deep into it. Can’t win for losing, right?

Today I’m writing this post as a user, not as the social media marketer. To be honest, it’s hard to switch between the two, but we have to. So why am I over Facebook as an everday user?

1. It’s no longer interesting.

Call me boring but all the content in my News Feed these days are selfies, obvious cries for attention and people overinflating their lives. Rarely do I see something good, such as a promotion or someone’s exciting news. It’s more vain and ego and less celebration. There’s too much shallowness in this world, I want to see the good stuff going on in my friends’ lives.

2. Too much noise.

I love the cleanness of Instgram. One nice thread of pictures with comments. Twitter lists too – one nice stream of tweets. Facebook now has your entire left column of your pages and such, then the main feed in the middle and ads and the running trend ticker on the right. When I constantly have 5 or 6 tabs open at any given time, I just want to flip over to something clean.

3. I’m missing out on posts from friends & family.

I know all about Facebook’s algorithm. I know why I’m not seeing their posts, but I shouldn’t have to go to each of their profiles to see what’s going on. I have an Interest List set up for them, but the downside to that is that I see every single page they have liked. all of the friends they’ve become friends with and each time the reach a new level in Candy Crush. After about 5 seconds of scrolling I just give up. There has to be a better way.

4. Too much drama.

This goes back to point number 1. I know almost all of my Facebook friends in real life and I can weed out the BS from reality. Sweetie, you ain’t foolin everyone. Facebook gets really bad during election years and I will typically hide A LOT of stuff during that time. Politics have no place on social media. I have rarely seen a level-headed debate or comment thread on one. No one has time for that! This ecard says it perfectly…Facebook vain shallow not real life

 

So if I’m over Facebook and not using it as much, where in the social web am I? Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram. Why?

1. I see the content I want to see.

I am in love with Twitter Lists and Google Plus Circles. These are two of the greatest inventions in social media. With each of these, I see all of the content of the people I want, minus the games, likes and new friends. It’s easy to read so there’s no noise and distractions. Oh glorious day!

2. Less drama.

Okay, I have to put an asterisk next to this one because Twitter can be one drama-filled party like the Real Housewives of whatever city it is this week. BUT you only have 140 characters on Twitter, so you gotta be short, sweet and to the point. Not a lot of long, rambling posts like Facebook. Google Plus is typically more mature because the userbase is older, saner and so over the teenage drama.

3. Content is more interesting to me.

I’m all about quality, value-building posts both personally and professionally. I’ve found the content as a whole is better on Google Plus and Twitter. Instagram is fun – it’s like you are getting a behind-the-scene peek at others’ lives in a voyeuristic way. Less drama. Less headaches. Less fakeness. It’s articles I want to read, pictures from people that matter to me and the latest news (seriously, I’ve found I get the news much faster on Twitter than on any website or TV station).

 

Because I own a social marketing business, I cannot leave Facebook. My clients are doing well on it and I need to be there. I’ve scaled back my personal uses of Facebook though. When I do use it personally, it’s from my iPhone or iPad 90% of the time. It’s easier to keep the business part separate that way.

How about you? Are you tempted to leave the big blue brother? Would you ever completely leave Facebook personally?

Ways to Generate Leads via Social Media

Ask Mandy Q&A: Ways to Generate Leads via Social Media

Lead generation is important for any business. Without leads (or referrals as they are sometimes called) you would have nowhere to start. Leads (referrals) can come from friends and family or a business organization or even online via social media. You may have a portion of your clients that found you on their own but at some point every business will have to go after clients, either through advertising, social listening or your traditional sales call.

Recently I was asked to list out some ways that people could use social media for referrals. As I created the list I realized that are numerous ways one could use social media for lead generation. I know I am not inventing the wheel here, but these are common ways people are using social media to generate leads.

 

Use social media to create that relationship and build trust & loyalty.

Post QUALITY content that shows you are an authority in your industry and you really do know what you are talking about. After time (this doesn’t happen immediately), you will have people approach you to hire you for your services. I recognize this is a long-term plan, but it’s highly effective.

Use Twitter’s advanced search to search phrases that relate to your industry, really listening to what the general public is searching for.

Example: You are an insurance agent. You go to Twitter and search “my rates are too high” or “I am so mad at my insurance agency”.  You can search worldwide or locally. Reach out to those who are complaining with a simple “Hey! I saw you are unhappy with your rates. If I can ever be of help, just let me know.” You do NOT want to start off with a sales pitch, just broach the topic gently.

Have a LinkedIn profile that is completed to 100% and connect with those you are in your target market.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS create a personalized connection message.  Do not use the generic, standard message.  You are trying to reach out and connect, so personalize it.

Take advantage of LinkedIn groups – join those that are industry-relevant or those that target your target audience.

Be careful not to spam or give a hard sell to these groups.  Most have rules against it.

Be active on social media. 

The more you are out there, the more people will see you and request information for your services. If you choose not be active (and I’m not sure why you would) how will people find you?

Take advantage of Facebook ads.

Facebook ads give you the ability to target the specific person you want to reach. Using their Power Editor can give you even more targeting options.

Have an opt-in on your website and promote it through social media.

For those unfamiliar with opt-in, they are something of value that people will give you their email address for.

Example: You are in pest control. You have a place on your website for people to get a copy of a white paper you have called “10 Simple Ways to Keep Your Home Bug-Free”. People would give you their email address and in return, they would receive this piece. You then have their email address to contact with new customer specials, on-going offers and general information.

Opt-ins can be promoted with a Facebook ad directing them to sign-up on a custom tab on your Facebook page, a sponsored tweet with the link, or just a simple post on your various social media profiles.

 

There are many, many ways to generate leads using social media so these 7 are not the end-all. Let me ask you, how do you generate leads via social media?

 


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A New Must-Read- The Art of Social Media

A New Must-Read: The Art of Social Media

I love a good book. I love a good, relevant social media book even more. I’ve read many titles from various social media professionals, but Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick’s The Art of Social Media is a new one to the must-read list. I was fortunate to be one of the beta readers for this book so I got a sneak peek into what lies in store for you 🙂

Not familiar with Guy and Peg?

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online design service, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple and special advisor to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google. His many acclaimed books include The Art of the Start and Enchantment.

Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist and popular blogger writing on her own website and across the web. Peg has spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users is her first book.

I first got to know Peg through the now-disbanded Social Solutions Collective. From the get-go her knowledge of social media tactics and strategies were amazing. She really rocks Pinterest and does a fabulous job with it. Peg is someone who I have come to trust and respect in this industry. Of course everyone knows Guy – his Google Plus posts range from totally random to on-point however he really knows his stuff. Guy is one of the biggest names in social media. Put he and Peg together and BAM. We get this awesome gift of a book from them.

Enough about them, let’s talk about the book.

This book is written with the assumption that you know the basics of social media. The 12 “How-To” chapters (with over 100 tips) cover everything from profiles to content to community growth to just rocking it. Here are some highlights I found valuable…

From Chapter 1, “How to Optimize Your Profile”:

  • Optimize for 5 seconds. It’s important to craft your profile carefully, but let’s be honest here. We all just glance and do not really study it.
  • Craft a mantra. What will your tagline be?
  • Go anonymous. Browsers have this awesome little-known mode called “incognito”. You can browse without having your identity revealed.

From Chapter 2, “How to Feed the Content Monster”:

  • Pass the reshare test. Resharing is the ultimate compliment on social media. When you write something – an article or a post – is it something that will be reshared?
  • Piggyback on curation and aggregation services. Their list of sites for this is awesome. This is something we should all be taking advantage of.

From Chapter 3, “How to Perfect Your Posts”:

  • Be curious or as they put it, ABC (always be curious). Find what works for you. No two “experts” will give you the same answer. Do what’s best for you.
  • Be defiant. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they point out their opinion about SEO (which I agree with). I’m not going to tell you what they said here – you have to read the book! The point is to buck the trend.

From Chapter 5, “How to Integrate Social Media and Blogging”:

  • Meet people in real life. You can make great relationships on social media, but meeting them face-to-face takes it to a new level.
  • “Peg” your posts. If you’ve followed Peg long enough, you’ll immediately know what this means. If not, look up #67 in the book and you’ll get all the details. Hint: it’s how to maximize your articles with social media.

From Chapter 6, “How to Get More Followers”:

  • Best quote from this chapter, “There are only two kinds of people on social media: those who want more followers and those who are lying.”

From Chapter 7, “How to Socialize Events”:

  • Dedicate a person. I’ve done this at events – it’s VERY important to have someone designated to handle the social for your event – it saves many headaches for the organizers.
  • Provide wireless access. OMG Yes.

From Chapter 10, “How to Avoid Looking Clueless”:

  • Don’t ask people to follow you. My honest opinion? This is tacky. I will ignore requests to follow or like something unless it’s from a friend or someone I respect.
  • Don’t call yourself a guru or an expert. I’ve written several posts on this. I think a book needs to be written on this topic alone.

From Chapter 11, “How to Optimize for Individual Platforms”:

  • My favorite from this chapter is the opening quote. It brings be back to my Marketing 101 classes in college. From Guy himself…”The 5 p’s of social media: Google+ is for passions; Facebook is for people; LinkedIn is for pimping; Pinterest is for pictures; Twitter is for perception.”

These are just my favorite hightlights of the book. It will be on my recommend list of reading for all social media pros, both seasoned and new. I could write a whole book on this book, but then you wouldn’t feel the need to go buy it. So, go buy it! You can get it on Amazon here.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Oh, when you do get it – look up the 10th name on the Acknowledgements page 😉

Snapchat, Not Just a Medium for Selfies Anymore

Snapchat, Not Just a Medium for Selfies Anymore

Snapchat is one of the most unique social media platforms (if you choose to recognize it as one) available to the public.

Developed simply as a messaging app, these messages were not communicated by texting or calling, no, they were communicated through photos that disappeared after a maximum of 10 seconds. As you can imagine young adults and teens pounced on Snapchat making it incredibly popular. Some parents worried it would become a medium for sexting, but instead it became known as the vehicle for hideous selfie wars between best friends. However, like all forms of social media, Snapchat is evolving into a dynamic channel for advertising and marketing.

On October 21st Universal Studios released an ad over Snapchat for the new movie Ouija. The ad featured a 20 second video trailer that was designed and edited to resemble a typical Snapchat story. Although this ad is the first of its kind, there are questions that still need to be answered:

  • Is this particular ad successful enough to deliver the results desired?
  • Will Snapchat become a new form of media for advertising, marketing, and public relations?
  • What will that mean for Snapchat as an industry?

Universal Studios, the pioneers of advertising with Snapchat, were very pleased with the results of the ad. While some people were agitated by the ad, others reported actual fear from the trailer, which is the result the marketers wanted.  However, there were a few issues with the advertisement on Snapchat –

1. The advertisement disappearing after one viewing.
2. Making ads available to the public for more than one viewing.

Solving these two issues is essential to Snapchat if they wish to continue receiving offers for advertising.

So far, Snapchat has not received any form of revenue, but this new advancement could mean big bucks for the company in the future. Doug Neil, the executive vice president of digital marketing for Universal Studios refused to reveal the cost of producing the advertisement, however he implied that it was priced competitively.

Although Snapchat began as a meager messaging app, it is slowly becoming a big contender for marketing in social media. While it is too soon to predict the future of advertising with Snapchat, new advancements like transferring money and advertisments are just the first steps in its long journey to joining the “big boys” of social media. Marketers, public relations specialists, and advertisers should be keeping a keen eye on Snapchat, you never know what will turn into the next big platform.

Would you advertise with Snapchat if given the opportunity?

Sources:

AdAge: http://adage.com/article/digital/snapchat-s-advertiser-messaging-service-tv/295473/

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-universal-ouija-snapchat-20141021-story.html

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