Social media activism in 2012 highlighted the importance of interaction between citizens and spurred fears in the hearts of politicians and global entities.
It has become apparent that people increasingly listen to the opinions of online friends and eagerly share information. At the same time companies have realised how vulnerable they can be once people focus on their poor performance. To this end, the ITU meeting aimed at providing governments more control over the internet has also sparked an outrage over privacy. Hacker and consumer groups have targeted some of the major players and security weaknesses have come to light.
2013 social media expectations
Businesses can expect more accountability in 2013. Brands such as Woolworths, Monsanto, and Coca-Cola have experienced how easily their images can be tarnished through social media networks. The year that is 2013 will be a year of increasing consumer activism and companies will have to define the purpose of their brands and seek meaningful engagement with customers to ensure loyalty to their brands.
They will also need to show their involvement in communities and environmental projects to keep support of consumers. Consumers will expect more transparency, open communication and will want their brands to be socially and environmentally responsible in their actions.
In light of the above 2013 social media expectations, a few strategies should be put in place to work smarter and not harder in connecting with customers and outperforming competitors.
Get the whole team’s support
Just getting the head or CEO to support the social media strategies will not suffice. You need the whole team on board including the developers, the CEO, head of departments, SEO specialists, writers and marketing teams. Start by appointing a definite leader to be in charge of achieving your social media targets and to communicate all relevant actions with the rest of the team. Accountability is essential and by appointing one person to take responsibility you can gain control over the direction of the strategy.
You cannot sell what you don’t have and certainly cannot work towards the achievement of goals if you don’t know what assets you have to your disposal. Take stock of the resources such as papers written, videos, presentations, reports, and apps. Now you will be able to determine what you have been promoting so far and what you have to promote for 2013.
What have you done in 2012?
More often than not, when looking back over the past year, we can identify missed opportunities and see where and why we failed. The same applies for what we have achieved and how we have made good use of our resources. It is important to review the past 12 months and how you have achieved proper customer engagement. Check your blogs, the interaction at Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Review the successes and how active you were on the social media front.
Has SEO done its part?
Review the keywords that have delivered the desired results so far. Have you used the keywords in social media structuring and engagement? Have you tracked comments to note important keywords for SEO and have you used Google’s Webmaster Tools? How many likes, recommendations and shares did each of the web pages get? Which posts at social media sites created the most buzz and which videos went viral and on which keywords?
Social media goal setting for 2013
Who is your target market and do you also sell to the executive decision makers? Do you run an ecommerce facility or do you hope to champion a cause? Align the social media marketing goals to reflect the right customer engagement and to reach your overall online marketing goals.
Set definite goals based on your existing 2013 business goals. The social media strategy must be appropriate for the target audience. Be where they are and talk about what they are interested in. Develop a strategy for customer service, for updating with brands, promotions and information. Set viral goals and be sure to inform them about changes in structure, pricing, products and services. Lead through information and engagement.
If you are selling a service you will want qualified lead generation and for that you need to educate and inform. If you are selling products you will want to focus on give-away promotions to get new customers and will want to reward loyal customers with special discounts. The goal is not only to increase fans, but to also establish what you will engage about.
Social media expectations for 2013 should be aligned with customer expectations of accountability and social responsibility.