Social media is an indispensable channel to communicate with customers and stakeholders, and used effectively, can help generate sales enquiries, raise your profile and establish strong relationships with existing customers. With many social media predictions circulating for the New Year, our resident social media expert Courtney adds her own to the mix.
1. Visual marketing
“Visual marketing will be big in 2013, with videos, animations and images becoming increasingly integral to digital marketing strategies,” explains Courtney. “Companies will be using Instagram, Pinterest and infographics a lot more this year.”
Pinterest recently opened its doors to businesses and brands by introducing business accounts, and is welcoming the contribution of inspirational content. Companies will now be able to overtly sign up and actively use the site to raise awareness of their products and services, using their company name, instead of registering as an individual.
Pinterest took the social media world by storm in 2012, growing by 4,000% in just six months, and driving more web traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace combined. The site’s 25.3m users typically spend a good deal of time perusing and pinning images, providing companies with an exciting opportunity to run dynamic, visually-led marketing campaigns. In October 2012, Pinterest attracted 26.7 million unique visitors, according to comScore.
Meanwhile, Instagram, the popular image-sharing app, has also introduced profile pages for the web, which has been rapidly embraced by a number of brands.
2. Interactive marketing
“Interactive marketing will also increase in popularity, with Slideshare and webinars being used ever more frequently,” continues Courtney. “In particular, initiating discussions via Twitter will be among the top ways for companies to engage with their audiences.”
Webinars can be a cost effective, powerful tool to help capture sales leads and create additional streams of income. Whether they are free or paid for, information-based or promotional, there are distinct benefits of running a well planned webinar. Free webinars allow you to quickly build a list of prospects by capturing attendees’ contact information, whether they attend it live or download the recording later. Meanwhile, a paid webinar may generate fewer attendees, but those who do register may be more likely to invest in your products and services.
3. Customer service via Twitter
“Customer service interactions will also increasingly take place on Twitter, making sharing feedback and complaints public knowledge,” concludes Courtney.
A recent social media experiment, conducted by Software Advice, saw 14 of the world’s biggest brands contacted regularly about different issues (from urgent requests to complaints to technical queries) over a 26-day period. The team sent a total of 280 tweets and achieved a lowly 14% response rate to their tweets. It seems as though companies have some way to go in terms of polishing their customer service interactions via Twitter. Does your customer service team regularly interact with customers on Twitter? Let us know, we’d be interested to hear from you!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top social media predictions for 2013. More predictions can be found at www.socialmediaexaminer.com.