Top 10 latest trends in Social Media Marketing.

social-media-peopleTo face Social Media exponential growth, or should I better say explosion, and to help keep up with so many new sites, services, apps coming-up every day, helping businesses connect and engage more directly with customers, I thought I will take a step back and try to point you to what’s in my view are the Top 10 latest trends in Social Media in a Marketing perspective.

1- Large Enterprise adoption of social media platform: America’s Fortune 500 havefortune 500 twitter accounts increased their participation in Twitter, from 35% in 2009 to 60% in 2010, and 56% have a Facebook page, according to a yearly report from the Center for Marketing Research.

2- SBM adoption of social media platform starts growing: according to research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, 34% of SMB companies (less than 1,000 employees) use social media, 10% is allocating 30% of their marketing budget to social media, and 13% will spend more on social media next year.

social media growth3- Audience Growth: According to The Nielsen Company, global consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from year before. Teens and young adults spend more and more time on social media, and now older people (50 to 65 years old) represent the most growing population of social media users. Facebook already has over 500M users and growing exponentially everyday, and over 150M twitter users, and growing even faster. Social Media becomes more popular, and social business becomes a play that companies marketers can’t ignore anymore.

4- Corporate Policies: Result is many companies are now setting up official company  guidelines, policies and best practices for usage of social media tools and services, specially when representing the company via social media.

5- Like in Real estate social media is now about “Location, Location, Location” (see my blog on that topic) –With latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses. Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps.

6- Social Media becomes more and more Mobile: Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year. social-media mobileAdvertising & Mobile advertising is becoming a major source of revenue and a BIG business for social media platforms. The detailed personal information they detain on their users coupled with location based services is a dream come true for any marketer and advertiser. Facebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

7- Social Commerce & Mobile Payment is a growing trend in social media and social business world, offering the ability to make purchases and micro-transaction from mobile apps, mobile social media platforms and social gaming, embraced by major finance players as Visa, Paypal etc..

8- Email marketing is becoming more Social: Recent acquisitions like Constant Contact acquiring NetShellMail and Exact Target acquiring CoTweet are good examples of this new trend, merging email marketing with social media, and the emergence of a more interactive marketing platform to engage with customers..

9- Another new trend is Group Buying: Groups in a social network can get discounts or group rates on products or services. Social sites like Living Social and Groupon are focusing on this market, a new business model for retailers and local stores.

social-media-ad metrics10- Finally Analytics and Return on Investment measurement has become increasingly critical for marketers to analyse and justify their return on social media marketing investment. More and more tools are available and in the future the winning social media platform will be the ones with the best analytics tools.

There are of course others trends in Social Media, some more specifics to specific countries, population, industries, businesses, and this new area of marketing-Communication is evolving so rapidly, trying to predict the future is often more like guessing, so pragmatically, as a marketer take advantage of those latest trends to optimize your social media marketing strategy and tactics.

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Next-Gen Email Marketing Pocket Guide: 10 tips to optimize your email marketing.

email-marketing 2 Email Marketing seems to be easy but is actually a tricky and difficult tactic to implement fully effectively and successfully. It is a powerful tool but also a risky one that could damage your brand if used inappropriately.

In order to overcome the annoyance of spam, Email has become the most personal medium of marketing communication and advertising.

Email marketing can be used for multiple purpose and media: campaigns, newsletters, product launch, promotion or discount, invitation to an event, marketing collateral or technical paper, Press Release or Announcement, Customer or Partner success story, Industry Analysts studies, awards, contests, surveys, just to name a few.

Email marketing can be a very effective and profitable tool to: improve your brand, raise product awareness, engage contacts, build relationship, generate leads and to increase any type of business, as long as you use the best practices.

Email-Marketing-Services At MarCom-NeXt we focus on Next Generation Marketing, including Next Gen email marketing , and Therefore, here is a short summary of best practices and tips to help you optimise the results of your email marketing campaigns:

1- Strategy: define and document your strategy, goals and objectives

2- The List:

a- create and maintain a high quality list or database, possibly use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; the more information, the better the list, the better the click-to-open rate, it is a simple as that.

b- Segment the list: No email blasting to the entire list, the more targeted message to the most relevant segment of your list, the better the click rate, this is The Key.

3- Permission: Make sure to send emails only to contacts who have been authorising you to do so, via opt-in or opt-out , subscribe or unsubscribe process.

email marketing integrated campaign 4- Integrated, multi-steps campaigns: Integrate your email marketing with your others marketing tactics – web site, advertising, SEM, events, etc- and build multi-step campaigns, not just a one shout email. And more specifically link your email campaign to your Social Media activities.

5- Content:

a-The Subject line is very important and has a huge impact on the click-to-open rate.

b- Personalised address: Address the recipient with its name, so it does look to much as mass marketing, and recipient feels respect and relationship.

c- Ensure the clarity and relevance of the message, make sure it is useful to the targeted audience.

d- Tone: set a positive, dynamic, inspiring tone, aligned with your brand or product, and use the KISSS rule “Keep it Simple, Short and Sexy”

e- I will not go into details of the classic tips as misspelling, acronyms, signs, triggers/spam words to avoid, abuse of capitals letters, colors etc as it is of course basic but also important.

f- Use the same font and size throughout all the email.

g- Include links to your web site, your blog and to your Social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook…).

h- Include Multi-Media, Audio, Video, Flash, Interactive, Game… to make the message more attractive, entertaining and memorable.

i- Ensure links, logos, image etc display properly.

j- Propose to forward the email to friends and colleagues (and measure forward-to-click rates).

k- In the end, it must include a clear Call-to-Action.

l- Provide the contact information (email address) of someone to contact as return email address.

m- Include an opt-in / opt-out or subscribe/unsubscribe option.

n- Have the email signed by someone real, possibly an executive.

o- Email and html versions should be exactly the same.

p- Use a plain text editor like NotePad or EText Editor for PC, or TextEdit or TextMate ffor Mac, do not use tools like Word, FrontPage, DreamWaver etc.

q- Get the message tested and checked by several people before sending.

6- Consistency: keep a regular and consistent flow of email communication, without becoming annoying or overwhelming, but just enough to keep attention, be informative, be relevant, be helpful. Periodicity can be monthly, weekly or daily, depending on your audience.

7- Delivery: Optimize the delivery process of your email, eventually hire a professional email service provider as they have specialised tools for that.

8- Timing: do not send on week-end, holidays, not even a Friday, timing is everything

9- Follow-up: Create, document, implement and automate as much as possible a follow-up process, we call it –eNurtering, the quality of your follow-up is critical to your success.

email marketing profit 10- Results Tracking: Define metrics and track and analyse results, possible using analytics tool. Build reports, document lessons learned and share the value.

If well planned, integrated and executed, email marketing is a simple, easy, affordable, quick marketing tactic which will provide a Great Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

So now Go for it ! email me…

Like in Real Estate, the future of Mobile Advertising is in “Location, Location, Location”

Latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, which will enable you to share with your friends where you are, check who is also there, find out what’s interesting to do around, read some tips from your friends about the place you are checking-in etc…was expected and is a major move.Facebook Places iPhone App

 To me this announcement just emphasizes the importance of Location-Based-Services (LBS) for online advertising. Even if for now Facebook is not announcing, yet, mobile advertising capabilities for “Places”, I am sure they plan to do it in a near future as it is such a big market opportunity for local businesses.

In my mind, there is no doubt Facebook is running after competing Location-Based-Social-Network-Services (LBSN) as Foursquare, Gowallas, Brightkite and others Yelp leading that space for now, and when you know that “Places” will include Localeze directory of 14 Millions local business listings, that people will be able to share and consult on their mobile Facebook, and when you have Facebook’s  500 Millions users base, (and just a few Millions users for Foursquare and Gowallas) it’s easy to figure out who is going to win that battle, and grap the advertising business opportunity attached.

Localisation is a critical addition to Facebook as it provides valuable contextual content to the already rich Facebook objects database. (Each action you take in Facebook, each information you add, each comment you write, each link you click on etc, become an object in Facebook database, what a mine of information for marketers, and how SCARY, isn’it!).

Mobile: Life is LocalWith this new feature Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses, and that is indeed a BIG business.

This will also clearly position Facebook to compete more and more with Google.

Any Marketer dreams of reaching customers where they are, where they can buy their products or services, and that is what Location-Based- Services enable them to do, by pushing a targeted and localised online ad to the consumer on his device, nothing can be more efficient, this is Powerful Next Generation Marketing, as we conceive it at MarCom-NeXt.

Latest Mobile Marketing Association report shows that Location-based mobile ads outperform all other formats, with nearly 50% engagement rate.

LBSNS intensifies the relevance between social networking and geographical location. By dint of check-in record and behavioral responses in different geographical positions, LBSNS users can generate corresponding relationship with  local enterprises, which enables the local enterprises to identify targeted consumers and improve the correlation degree and accuracy of advertising service so as to raise the value of local advertisement marketing.

So, how big is the business opportunity? May be not huge right now, the local advertising market of LBSNS shows a promising development outlook, but this market is still in the early adoption period and it will grow quickly and expand from US to Worldwide.

Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year.

Apple iAd LaunchFacebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

Google generates 90 percent of Google’s revenues with AdWorks advertising.

Apple with its iAd platform Apple required its first advertisers to spend as much as $1 million to start and pay both a $10 Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM) and a $2 Cost-Per-Click fee (CPC). Please note: Apple announced last week that it’s winding down Quattro Wireless, the ad network acquired earlier this year, to focus on Apple’s iAd program.

Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps, which is why Google may be starting to worry.Google Compass

Like in Real Estate, the future of Mobile Advertising is in “Location, Location, Location