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.


MarCom-NeXt Pocket Guide: successfully engage in Social Media Marketing


Social media originally started as a tool for friends and family to keep in touch, and has now moved also to the business community for Companies to engage discussions with their customers, partners and others organizations.

Large Enterprises, as well as SMB in a smaller scale, are adopting Social Media as a new wave of Marketing.

Based on recent reports and studies, the top benefits of Social Media Marketing are seen as (in this order):

– Branding: Generating exposure for the businessSocial Media Marketing Benefits report 2010

– Word-of-Mouth: Extending audience, raising awareness, increasing traffic

– Discussions: Engaging discussions & building relationship/partnership

– Revenue: Generating leads or sales

– Cost: reduce marketing expenses

Marketers have high expectation of Social Media, often and wrongly perceived as a free or low cost, easy to launch and deploy, not resource consuming tactic and they could be disappointed by the results and return in investment if they do not use best practices; It could even be a failure and damage your brand or business if not well executed and then abandoned after an unsuccessful try.

So, based on my own experience, here are few tips to successfully engage in Social Media Marketing:

1- Define a clear strategy

2- Secure executive sponsorship

3- Clarify Goals & Business Objectives: Talk or Listen, raise awareness, engage discussions, generate leads, drive sales & revenue, foster loyalty.

4- Integrate Social Media as one marketing tactic of your marketing mix

5- Document metrics

6- Target your audience: understand digital audience behaviour, develop social media map, identify and engage the influencers,

7- Define content, aligned with your objectives and aligned with corporate marketing messages

8- Select appropriate social networks, based on your goals and audiencSocial Media Marketing Tools Report2010e: Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube or others videos sites, Social Bookmarking sites etc… (see chart)

1- Select appropriate tools: management tools, short url tools, analytics tools, maximize digital assets distribution

2- Allocate dedicated assets and resource, experts to provide content, be the Voice and participate in relevant discussions,

3- Define and document some Social Media Guidelines for people participating to your social media activities, bloggers, and all employees,

4- Design your Social Media image, theme, tag line and main message: name, gravatar, banner, theme, colors, page

5- Launch and deploy your Social Media tactic and tools

6- Start Talking and empower consumer advocacy, tell the story, but also let the others tell the story about you

7- Listen to your Audience, monitor the market conversation

8- Engage discussions, be very responsive, show appreciation, gather market intelligence

9- Promote and advertise your Social media presence (via your web site, email marketing, newsletters, blog, webinar, print…)

10- Leverage your network: employees, partners, customers

11- Grow and maintain you LIST of friends, followers, Fans …

12- Maintain the relationship, keep the momentum, keep communicating regularly and intensively, keep on building and growing,

13- Tie all your Social Media and web presence all together and keep the Buzz growing,

14- Track and measure qualitative, quantitative and competitive results using analytics tools, document lessons learned and communicate monthly reports, understand the impact and do what it takes to improve your ROI.

social-media Social Media are platforms for interactions and relationships, not just a branding or advertising platform, it represent a fundamental shift on the way we communicate and make decision, so take advantage of it, build et develop new relationships and partnerships.

Jump on The Social Media Bandwagon, Start Talking & Listening, Start Engaging Discussions with Social Media.

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…

Pocket Guide: Improve your Return On Event Marketing Investment

Rise above the crowd

Times are changing, business people tend to limit travel, marketing budgets are often decreasing and/or shifting from traditional marketing tactics as events, Web, Printed and TV ads, to new marketing tactics as Digital Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Virtual events,  and Social Media, however in my view nothing can be more effective than a Face-to-Face contact, a real Live demonstration, an executive on site meeting to promote brand recognition, raise products awareness, generate leads and revenue and I do believe events still need to be part of an effective integrated marketing mix.

An Event is an expensive tactic and a lot of work but nothing can replace personal interaction and a high quality public exposure.

Based on my experience at leading and managing many events all over the world, conferences, trade shows, road-shows, customers meetings, users or partners conferences, experiential events, Press and Analysts briefings, Fundraising events etc, I thought I would share a few tips to improve branding, generate more leads, optimize results  and increase Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Strategy & Planning Event Guide

1-      Document a detailed business plan, including Goals, objectives, tactics, metrics  and get executive management approval, sponsorship and support,

2-      Integrate the event in an integrated marketing mix/campaign,

3-      Build a detailed project plan, with every task, roles & responsibilities, deadlines, status and keep it updated,

4-      Define the strategic products, solutions or services to highlight or demonstrate at the event, aligned with targeted customers needs and challenges,

5-      Define the strategic messaging to convey at the event, aligned with strategic corporate branding and messaging,

6-      Document a detailed communication plan (external and internal).

Audience generation, prior to the event

7-      Advertize on the event communication, web site, guide, emails etc

8-      Leverage your web site to promote the event, increase awareness and generate registration

9-      Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to your web page promoting the event,

10-   Leverage Social Media to extend word-of-mouth, reach a larger audience, and engage discussions and generate registration

11-   Send series of emails to personally invite your customers, partners to attend your speaking sessions, visit your booth, register for a demonstrations, or schedule on site executive meetings,

12-   Offer free registration badges or incentive to selected targeted customers or prospects,

13-   Enable your direct and channel sales force to invite their customers and drive audience,

14-   Set up an effective  lead response management process, system and tools with a dedicated team to manage it.

At the event Brand experience

15-   Be visible, promote your corporate brand, use clear, clean, warm, sexy design, colors and materials, use large screens displays (Size does matter, the larger the better) and bright lighting,

16-   Train your team to be engaging, open and proactive, not forgetting to listen,

17-   Train your team to a clear strategic and integrated messaging, “One Voice”

18-   Offer promotions, incentives, draws, games, widgets, freebies to increase traffic and contacts

19-   Provide marketing material available for easy and self distribution (USB drives, DVD, Printed)

20-   Have very skilled and engaging hosts at a reception desk to help guide and inform visitors

21-   Leverage Social Media to raise awareness and drive audience to the booth or speaking sessions, i.e tweet and blog live from the event,

22-   Create the Buzz,

23-   Leverage Press and Media presence,

24-   Enter every contact and lead in the lead generation system (wireless badge scanners, business cards scanners, manual forms etc) with as much detailed information as possible to help the lead response team.

After the event

25-   Send a thank you email to all contacts, with an opt-out option to be included in your database and receive follow up emails,

26-   Enter all contacts who have opted-in (or did not opted-out) in your database for future communications, newsletters, campaigns, events, eNurtering tactics,

27-   Send a series of emails with relevant information following the event and engaging contacts to take actions,

28-   Track and measure results of your email marketing and eNurtering activities (click-through, forward, referrals, responses etc…),

29-   Engage contacts via Social Media (follow them on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc),

30-   Track and measure results of your Social Media activity,

31-   Review all contacts and leads, prioritize and dispatch Hot Leads to appropriate sales force,

32-   Track and measure wins and revenue generated or influenced by the event in your CRM or Marketing systems,

33-   Gather feedback through a survey from internal and external audience,

34-   Document lessons learned for next event, there is always room for improvement.

Lights "On"

I hope this Event Marketing Pocket Guide will help, however it is a short summary version and you are welcome to add any tactic of yours in the comment section…

Now get on stage and Sell !

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

Do you speak Social Media ?

Do you know what OED and NOAD stand for ?

The New Oxford American DictionaryThey are great institutions: they stand for Oxford English Dictionary, and New Oxford American Dictionary.

Editors define OED as: “The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.”

Therefore we can consider OED and OAD  are recognized as the best guardians and witnesses of the evolution of the English/American Languages which somewhere is just the translation in words of the evolution of our society and way of life.

We all know that email, and even more text messaging and instant messaging has been changing not only the way we communicate but also  the way we write (specially the way our kids write!), but I just want to catch your attention on another impact of new technologies on our language.

If you have any doubt of the importance, impact and adoption by the public, as well as by corporate community, of Social Media and Social Networking, here is a fact which may help open your eyes and convince you.

The new words added in OED  2009  release, now part of common language, relevant to Social Media / Social Network  included:

  • Hashtag – noun: a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets.
  • Tweetup – noun: a meeting or other gathering organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter. [from tweet + up on the pattern of MEETUP]
  • Unfriend/defriend – verb: to remove from one’s ‘friends’ list (e.g. on a social networking website)
  • Tag cloud – noun: a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content, typically using colour and font size to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.

And a few more related to our Techie Digital World:

  • Freemium – noun: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
  • Slashdot effect – noun: action to slow down or crash a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.
  • Minute mentoring – noun: a system of advising aspiring professionals based on the format of speed-dating.
  • Paywall – noun: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
  • And a few more in March 2010: Data center / data centre, Server farm, USB Drive, Ring tone…

And, oh, by the way, sign of the times, the new edition for these two dictionaries are available as iPhone apps !

So do you speak fluently Social Media ?

And if so, guess which words will be the additions to the next release?

6-In-store Mobile Shopping will change the way we shop …

With the new mobile technologies, apps and services available now,  and more soon to come, Mobile Shopping from in-store is the new trend and we can expect from it a new interesting, interactive, personalised experience as a consumer in our favourite stores.

New industry standards are being created, new mobile apps are being developed, new mobile commerce offerings are being launched and you will soon be experiencing it yourself.

In-store mobile shoppers, will be able, on their smart phone, to scan a product or take its picture, to see products advertizing, videos, compare products, compare prices in competitive stores, find technical specifications, or ingredients for food, read consumers product reviews, retrieve discount coupons online, receive directly on their phone promotions and coupons based on their purchase history in the store, get loyalty points from the store and much more.

There will be real benefits for the retailers and stores too, by providing more information, better service, improved customer satisfaction, by attracting more customers in their stores and converting them into buyers, and improving customer loyalty, they will increase their sales.

M-Commerce Multichannel Outlook, US, 2010The charts attached show that Mobile-Commerce & Mobile-shopping are still at the  early adoption stage, but you can be sure this will grow quickly and explode sooner than later, as this will be a way for major brands and retailers to differentiate themselves, gain competitive advantage, improve customer experience, retain or gain new customers, and increase their market share.

We are in the information age, smart mobile phones are part of our life and becoming an extension of ourselves, and consumer demand for this shopping experience will grow, as did text messaging, Instant Messaging, streaming video, mobile gaming, mobile TV etc…

As consumers spend increasing time online, are used to shop online from their home, and as they are demanding more and more apps from their mobile phone, mobile will link products and stores to the digital world

Mobile-Commerce and In-store Mobile shopping will change our shopping experience and the way we buy.

Are you ready ?