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Trends in social media marketing: seven things you should be doing now

At the end of March, I took part in the Social Media Marketing World Conference in San Diego, United States.  I learned a lot of great things that I can use when working with our brands and media channels as a social media specialist at Alma Media. However, these are the points that I intend to promote myself, so I picked up these seven trends in social media.

1. Facebook, Facebook, Facebook

It was made quite clear that Facebook rules the roost. Yes, Pinterest is good for someone blogging about crafts, Instagram for a fitness brand and Twitter for a charity to promote their brand, but Facebook walks over everything with its sheer weight.

There can’t be many industries where Facebook would not be the biggest generator of social media traffic. And even if it’s all about ‘pay to play’, a combination of a big organic reach and a few euros cleverly spent will take you much further than any other social media channel. 

2. Native videos

Facebook changed its news feed on 25 March 2015 so that you can now embed videos directly from Facebook to a website. This means that Facebook is now also a video publishing platform.

At the same time, the changes to the algorithm ensure that these native videos, i.e. videos uploaded directly to Facebook, reach larger audiences. Native videos are now also on Twitter (max. 30 seconds) and Instagram (max. 15 seconds).  Is your brand making native videos yet? 

3. Live video stream to smartphones

Live television is the latest TV trend, while live video is ‘the new black’ on social media. Twitter’s Periscope and the start-up app Meerkat are hot at the moment.

Some media, such as the Washington Post, Mashable and People, joined in immediately and now stream live videos of interviews, press conferences and small news bulletins about the topics they’ll be publishing in tomorrow’s online or printed paper. 

4. Employee advocacy

Nobody browsing the internet this winter could avoid seeing the term ’employee advocacy’. A couple of companies who had tested employee advocacy programme described their experiences:

  • Remember to emphasise the fact that employee advocacy works both ways and benefits both parties. Build a personal brand and a large number of followers for an employee, and train the employee; the employer will have an employee who is more committed and helps to communicate the right things.
  • Messages from employees are deemed six times more reliable than those coming from the company.
  • Don’t monitor people too much, problems are usually exaggerated.
  • Don’t force anyone to join in. If an employee communicates in their own way already, don’t try to change it. 
  • Don’t forget to hire ‘listeners’ and people who share content and who don’t necessary engage in interaction; they are also valuable. 

5. Social media as a customer service channel

None of us wanted this, but it just turned out to be one. Twitter is still the fastest feedback channel, but by far the greatest number of feedback comments are posted on Facebook.  Each message must to be addressed, on every channel, every time. 

Research shows that, by 2020, online customer feedback about a product or service may be a more important factor in decision-making than its price.

6. ROI

At the moment, the perpetual debate about the return on investment seems to focus on the value per dollar spent.

Only a couple of years ago the seminars in America were all about soft objectives, brand value and engagement rate – now it’s all about the clicks and money coming in.

7. Analytics

Don’t think that you could call yourself a social media marketer if you don’t constantly analyse your actions. Always include UTM codes for links (and don’t accept the comment that including UTM would be ‘difficult’ or that it ‘complicates the process’. It doesn’t.), use tracking pixels everywhere (shocking but true: 90% of Fortune 500 companies don’t use tracking pixels yet!), and social media must be included in basic marketing reports in as much detail as everything else is.

Which do you think is the most interesting trend? Comment below!

Heli Ruotsalainen                                          
Business manager and social media specialist, Alma Diverso 

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