The biggest challenge of living in a technology-centric world is simply keeping up. As soon as you get used to a certain technology, it changes. So if you’ve finally launched your business into the whirlwind of social media, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Changes are coming soon, and, since participation in social media is quickly becoming a business necessity, it’s important to understand where things are going. Here’s what’s predicted for 2014 in the critical areas of ads, TV, and SoLoMo.
You’ll see more paid advertising on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has been doing “paid posts” for a while now, and Twitter recently joined the game with “sponsored tweets”. As more companies pay for ads, it will become harder for organic posts to attract attention. You’ll have to decide whether you want to pay to play. This is where your data analysis will be really important. For example, according to an article in socialmediatoday.com, sponsored Tweets show fifteen times the engagement of banner ads. You’ll need to figure out which has the biggest ROI.
Expect to see more programming where the audience determines the outcome. American Idol led the way by letting viewers vote for their favorite contestants. This interaction will provide a wealth of data for marketers. You’ll be able to analyze the who, what, where, when, and how of social TV to target your marketing to the right audience.
In addition to the actual programming, you’ll also see more data on how viewers use social media while they’re watching TV. Research conducted by SocialGuide shows that 70 percent of Tweets happen during programming time. That raises several challenging questions for marketers. Are people even watching the commercials? If not, how do you get them to watch? Can you create interactive commercials? And how do you get viewers to Tweet about your brand?
What is SoLoMo? If you don’t know what SoLoMo is, you haven’t been hiding under a rock. It’s a techy term that is only now catching on but is expected to become a major player in 2014. It’s short for social, local, and mobile. It’s about reaching your customers on their mobile devices and tailoring the message to their exact location – not just city and state, but right down to street level.
One obvious way to use SoLoMo is to customize search engine results. But some companies are already using SoLoMo to drive traffic. There are a number of apps that send push notifications based on the user’s current location. Here’s how it works: A customer is driving down the street and, as he nears your business, he gets a pop-up alert on his phone with information about sales, special promotions, even coupons.
SoLoMo could be a gold mine, especially for mom-and-pops that sometimes get lost in the wake left by the marketing efforts of large corporations. The challenge will be that, just like with other social media platforms, customers will come to expect it. SoLoMo will be a necessity, not an add-on, in your marketing campaign.
The overwhelming popularity of social media now demands dedicated attention. Communicating through social media can no longer be a back-burner project, with one employee posting to your company’s web site as time allows. You need to know what works and what doesn’t so you can allocate marketing dollars to the platforms with the best ROI. Knowing where social media is headed in 2014 and beyond will help you make that call.