Social media allows businesses to communicate with their customers quickly as well as to reach new audiences.However, because it is a new technology, companies are still learning about how to use social media to connect to consumers. Stephanie Frasco, a social media marketing consultant, shared her predictions on how the enterprise will use social media in the coming year.
Frasco believes that niche websites will have a significant impact on marketing in the coming year. Niche sites refer to websites that cater to specific interests. For example, Goodreads.com appeals to book lovers, and Allrecipes.com is where cooks congregate online. “Niche marketing is all about connecting with a super focused and targeted audience,” Frasco noted. She offered some advice on how to forge relationships with customers: “Brand ambassadors and influencers who are already popular on specific niche sites can be a great ‘in.’ Because they are already trusted by their audience and following, when a message comes from them, it’s already perceived as tested and reputable.” Frasco added, “Another way to go about it is to provide tailored content to that community from the brand’s voice.” However, advertisers must deliver this content in a certain way. “In order to be successful here you have to talk with the community and not at them,” she remarked.
The social media marketing consultant feels that brand ambassadors and influencers will play an important role in social media in general this year. How can companies attract brand ambassadors and influencers? “The first place to look for brand ambassadors and influencers is by doing a little keyword research and social listening,” Frasco commented. “Your best customers are the first place to look. As they already know and love your product you are likely to already have an influencer on your hands.” In order to attract new brand ambassadors and influencers, companies must engage in outreach, Frasco said. “The key is to find the bloggers and influencers who are the most similar to your customer base,” she advised. The relationship must be mutually beneficial, though. In exchange for promoting something, businesses should be prepared to offer cash or products.
Picture-heavy sites such as Pinterest will also be critical to marketing success in 2014. “Images tell a thousand stories with one glance and that’s why these sites are popular,” Frasco remarked. The easily digestible nature of pictures makes them perfect tools to communicate to a highly mobile society. In addition, image-centric sites generally have an active user base. How can organizations utilize sites such as Pinterest to their marketing advantage? “A business can leverage sites like Pinterest by using them to connect with their audience in a visual manner. You can also use them to brand yourself as a tastemaker and trend-setter in your industry,” she commented. Frasco pointed out that the key to success on such sites is striking visuals.
Marketers will also turn to a burgeoning social network this year, Frasco predicts. She believes Google+ will become much more popular in 2014. “Google Plus is about to take off,” she said. “Not only is it growing at a rate of 25,000 new users a day, it also has very active communities within the network.” Moreover, Frasco foresees that social sharing within the G+ network will play a significant role in search engine rankings in the future. Google will soon release its version of promoted posts on G+. “With Facebook’s organic reach declining for fan pages, marketers need to seek new places to communicate with their audience,” she pointed out. G+ might just offer them the platform they seek.
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