Social Media 101 for 2012

By Rich Lewis at Burlington Press
www.burlingtonpress.com | www.burlingtonpresswebservices.com 

I spend a lot of time reviewing articles and blog posts to keep up with what is going on in the ever-changing world of marketing for small business. One of my favorite things to read are the lists. You know, 10 best practices for… or 25 reasons why… They are great summaries of a number of ideas and focus in on what could be a vast topic.

Recently I read a list of 30 predictions for social media marketing in 2012. What I thought would be a really interesting topic turned out to be kind of boring. Thirty experts in social media were asked to give their perspective on marketing in the New Year.  They all seemed to say basically the same thing. I will provide you with a summary of that article in a little bit.

Social media marketing is different from other forms of marketing because the consumer drives it. With direct mail, advertising, etc. you tell your customers and prospects about a particular product or promotion and hope they go out and buy it. With social media the idea is to get your customers and prospects to become a fan of your company, products or services and then possibly buy something and then recommend you to their social media network.

In the marketing world, we love to measure the return on investment (ROI) and with most forms of marketing it is relatively easy to do that. However, Social Media is not like most forms of marketing. No matter what some experts will tell you, ROI is difficult to measure. How many likes on a Facebook page turn into a sale? Social media is about building good will, sharing insights and expertise in order to start a conversation with your customers and a create a new level of comfort and trust.

Now for that summary of what you can expect in 2012 with social media.

  1. Social media is still growing, changing and expanding. The big players like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are treading in each other’s territory.
  2. With the addition of new players like Google+ and specialized networks, social media continues to become more complicated.
  3. Because of the changing nature of Social Media, it is not necessary to be everywhere on social media but to be where it is matters and to be consistent and engaging.
  4. Content is more important then ever. I always thought it was the most important thing and now others are coming to the same conclusion. A lot of these social media experts are a bit younger then me so I guess they are still learning this.
  5. Don’t limit your content to just words on a page. It is wise to consider communicating visually with video and photos. Some people receive information better visually. Plus it is no longer necessary to spend tons of money on video production. Simply speaking into a camera will be well accepted if what is said is interesting.

This summarizes what a lot of experts in social media are telling you to expect in the New Year. You may notice that it is mostly plain old common sense. Using common sense isn’t new, but it should be applied to every great new “innovation” in marketing.

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About marketingfocus

I've been in the print marketing and direct mail business for over 30 years. I guess that means I'm old, but it also means that I bring a certain level of experience and expertise into a business relationship. My company, Burlington Press, specializes in printing and direct mail along a wide range of marketing services including web site design and development, email marketing and video production. For marketing to be effective it needs to be well rounded and use all channels available that make sense.
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