The 2012 Social Media Status Update


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This white paper is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing executives who want to know more about the most important and effective components of a successful social media campaign.

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The 2012 Social Media Status Update

  1. 1.                          2012  Social  Media  Status  Update  Leah  Messina  │ CEO  of  Sinuate  Media    Emily  Summers  │ Principal  of  Market  Torque                                October 2012    
  2. 2.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update        About  Sinuate  Media  Sinuate   Media   is   The   Organic   Marketing   Company.   We   envision   and   execute   digital  marketing   strategies   that   encompass   custom   crafted   solutions   for   unique   companies.    From  the  spark  of  an  initial  idea  to  a  fully  engaged  plan,  Sinuate  Media  provides  a  single  source  for  all  digital  marketing  needs.      Contact:      Leah  Messina,  CEO  443.992.4691      About  Market  Torque  Market  Torque  is  committed  to  bringing  fresh  ideas  sparked  by  rigorous  research  and  intellect   to   new   start-­‐ups   and   ventures.   Our   core   mission   is   to   provide   strategic  marketing  advisory  services  to  companies  that  are  looking  for  fast  growth  and  getting  traction   in   creative   ways.   We   are   entrepreneurs   who   are   passionate   about   helping  companies  engage  their  audiences  in  meaningful  ways.    Contact:      Emily  Summers,  Principal  703.869.2538                          ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 2  
  3. 3.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update        Who should read this: Entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing executiveswho want to know more about the most important and effective components of asuccessful social media campaign.        Table  of  Contents    1.   Introduction—The  Current  State  of  Social  Media .................................4  2.   Why  You  Should  Care.........................................................................................5  3.   What  You  Need  to  Know...................................................................................6  4.   Addressing  Challenges.................................................................................... 10  5.   Resources ............................................................................................................. 12                                  ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 3  
  4. 4.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      Introduction—The  Current  State  of  Social  Media      Since  its  inception,  social  media  has  been  on  a  path  of  rapid  advancement.  Though  it  has  been   only   a   few   years   since   “social   media”   became   the   buzzword   in   marketing   and  consumer  circles  alike,  the  advent  of  digital  and  mobile  technologies  have  skyrocketed  its  usage  so  much  so  that  it  has  become  ingrained  in  nearly  everyone’s  life.      While  consumers  are  quick  to  adopt  the  new  technology,  marketers  rush  to  adopt.  The  purpose   of   the   Annual   Social   Media   Status   Update   is   to   help   entrepreneurs,   business  owners  and  marketing  executives  see  where  the  technology  stands  and  what  lies  on  the  horizon  each  year.      Social   media   is   ubiquitous   among   all   ages,   demographics,   and   most   geographic  locations.1   In   the   United   States,   the   birthplace   of   many   of   the   social   networking   tools  that   have   gained   in   popularity,   penetration   has   been   especially   high   with   98%   of   the  population  using  social  networking.2    Social  media  makes  lives  easier  but  also  causes  more  disruptions  since  consumers  are  now  always  “connected.”  And  it  is  not  just  for  fun.  While  social  media  has  changed  the  landscape   of   peer   interactions,   it   also   has   infiltrated   and   changed   the   operations   of  search   engine   navigation,   retail   and   e-­‐commerce,   political   campaigning,   customer  relationship  management,  and  sales.      In   addition,   while   it   is   true   that   women   once   adapted   to   social   media   at   a   faster   rate  than  men,  they  are  no  longer  the  fastest  growing  group.  In  fact,  that  accolade  belongs  to  males  and  users  who  are  55+.      The   younger,   Digital   Natives,   prefer   the   interaction   and   depth   of   social   networking.  Email   and   instant   messaging   are   aging   technologies   for   which   they   have   declining  interest.      Though  first  introduced  in  2010,  mobile  technology  has  gained  tremendous  adoption  in  2012  with  the  increased  comfort  with  Apps,  App  Stores,  and  new  ways  to  create  content  via  mobile  to  share  socially.  Entrepreneurs,  business  owners  and  marketing  executives  are   faced   with   the   dilemma   of   reaching   consumers   on   multiple   screens—television,  computer,   tablet,   and   mobile   phone—and   finding   ways   to   engage   socially   on   each  platform,  sometimes  simultaneously.                                                                                                                      1  Pew  Internet  2  ComScore  Media  Metrics,  October  2011    ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 4  
  5. 5.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update    1. Why  You  Should  Care      Whether   your   customers   are   consumers   or   other   businesses,   having   some   social   aspect   is  important.  Below  are  three  main  reasons  that  building  and  maintaining  a  strong  social  presence  makes  sense  for  entrepreneurs  and  marketing  executives.      Marketing  Presence  has  a  New  Definition  Of  the  Top  100  Inc.  Fastest  Growing  Companies,  nearly  77%  of  them  are  on  Facebook  and  71%  on   LinkedIn.     These   are   two   must-­‐have   social   networking   tools   for   2012.   For   those   with  additional  abilities  to  invest  resources  into  their  social  media  marketing,  Twitter  and  YouTube  are   the   next   most   popular.   Sixty-­‐six   percent   of   businesses   on   the   Inc.   Fastest   Growing  Companies  list  are  on  Twitter,  followed  by  32%  on  YouTube.  Less  than  9%  are  not  using  social  media.    Your  Customers  are  Online  Inevitably,  customers  will  take  to  social  media  to  complain  about  a  product,  service,  or  brand  when   they   are   unhappy.   Businesses   must  listen   and   monitor   these   conversations   to  protect   their   brands   and   address   customer  issues   before   they   potentially   escalate   into   a  public   relations   nightmare.   For   example,  JetBlue   Airways   uses   Tweets   to   push   out  information  about  flights  (see  right).    Targeting  is  at  Your  Fingertips  Digital  advertising  has  made  tremendous  advances  in  the  last  year.  It  is  now  possible  to  set  up  and   run   campaigns   from   Google   AdWords   and   Bing   to   both   websites   and   mobile   devices.  Targeting   is   getting   better.   Facebook   has   launched   options   for   Broad   Targeting   or   Precise  Targeting,  enabling  the  advertiser  to  handpick  interests  by  category  or  keyword  for  who  should  receive  their  ad.      Google  predicts  that  by  2015,  75%  of  display  ads  will  become  socially-­‐enabled,  meaning  the  ads  themselves   will   be   interactive   and   integrated   into   social   activity.3     There   will   be   a   major   shift   in  focus   from   the   consumer   to   mobile   devices,   and   advertisers   will   follow,   making   the   mobile  screen  the  primary  place  to  advertise  by  2015.  In  addition,  more  than  half  of  online  ads  will  also  contain   video   as   advertisers   look   for   ways   to   cut   through   the   distraction   of   the   surrounding  environments,  while  aiming  to  provide  a  richer  and  more  engaging  experience.                                                                                                                        3  Google,  “Seven  Display  Ad  Predictions”  ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 5  
  6. 6.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      2. What  You  Need  to  Know    In  this  section,  each  of  the  major  social  media  tools  is  given  a  score  based  upon  how  well  they  serve   the   marketing   needs   of   small   businesses.   Because   small   and   large   businesses   have  different  needs,  the  grades  would  be  different  for  large  organizations.  As  marketing  consultants  specializing  in  the  digital  and  small  business  marketing  spaces,  we  share  our  experience  of  the  Good  and  the  Bad  features  of  each  tool  to  help  entrepreneurs,  business  owners  and  marketing  executives  determine  their  optimal  mix.    We  start  this  section  with  a  scoring  guideline.     How  We  Scored:   A  –  Overall,  it  meets  the  needs  of  small  business  and  may  generate  a  positive  impact.  It  is   within  a  reasonable  budget  to  implement  and  provides  the  best  amount  of  exposure  for  the   effort.     B  –  Can  serve  a  small  business  in  generating  exposure  but  may  take  either  more  effort  or   funding   than   other   options.   Typically,   can   be   implemented   with   additional   external   assistance.   C  –  Rarely  recommended  due  to  significant  technology  knowledge,  funding,  and/or  creative   expertise  needed  in  order  to  successfully  leverage  the  tool.   D   –   Not   recommended   for   marketing   a   small   business.   Either   not   the   right   audience,   or   requires  too  much  financial  investment  with  uncertain  return  on  exposure.    FacebookGRADE: A  In   2012,   Facebook   continues   to   dominate   the   social   media   scene.   Nearing   the   one   billion-­‐member   mark,   for   most   businesses,   it   makes   sense   to   have   a   presence   there   through   a   Page  and/or  advertising.      However,   this   year   has   been   full   of   changes   for   the   social   networking   behemoth.   In   March,   they  rolled   out   major   changes   to   their   design   with   the   launch   of   Timeline,   a   departure   from   the   Wall  as  we  knew  it.  Having  gone  public  in  May  2012,  Facebook  is  increasingly  looking  for  new  ways  to  monetize  as  they  transition  from  a  social  networking  to  “primarily  an  advertising  platform,”  as  a  Facebook  executive  recently  stated.  We  can  expect  to  see  ads  change  in  response  to  this.      The  Good:  For   businesses,   their   most   beneficial   tool   provides   the   ability   to   create   a   business   page   that  creates  a  platform  for  recruiting  and  communicating  with  people  who  are  asked  to  “like”  your  page  (equivalent  to  a  “fan”).  It  is  free  to  sign  up  and  gets  added  points  for  increasing  the  ability  ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 6  
  7. 7.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update    to   brand   the   page   in   keeping   with   your   company’s   look   and   feel.   Insights,   or   page   analytics,  provide  valuable  data  about  the  audience  of  the  fans,  which  lean  and  intelligent  companies  can  leverage   for   their   interactive   marketing   plans.   For   more   advanced   users,   Facebook   also  provides   the   ability   to   integrate   aspects   of   the   page   into   the   business’s   website,   enabling  positive  cross-­‐promotion.  Plus,  who  doesn’t  want  to  leverage  an  audience  of  nearly  one  billion  potential  customers?    In  addition,  highly  sophisticated  and  recently  enhanced  targeting  allows  you   to   identify   prospective   users   efficiently   saving   costs   in   travel,   tradeshows   and   other  traditional  targeting  methods.    The  Bad:  Like   most   social   media,   managing   a   Facebook   Page   is   a   time   commitment,   and   can   come   with  some   stumbling.   This   is   a   challenge   for   smaller   businesses   with   limited   resources.     Outsourcing  the  management  and  maintenance  with  teams  including  consultants  and  interns  is  a  legitimate  solution.     It   also   may   take   some   time   to   build   up   your   audience   to   a   meaningful   threshold   as  well  as  post  content  that  resonates  with  those  fans.      Advertising   tends   to   be   more   expensive   than   others   and   click   thru   rates   are   lower   than  networks   like   Google   and   Bing.   They   believe   the   higher   cost   is   justified   since   they   are   able   to  target   by   more   detailed   options   such   as   interest   and   activity,   such   as   other   pages   liked   on  Facebook.      TwitterGRADE: B+  The   microblogging   site,   Twitter,   has   not   yet  reached   its   saturation   point.   In   fact,   it   is  continuing  to  grow  at  a  rate  faster  than  Facebook.  Since  it  does  have  a  smaller  member  base,  there  is  more   room   to   continue   growth.   It   is   expected   to  obtain  5M  more  members  in  2012,  bringing  them  up  to  28.7M  total.      Who  are  these  new  visitors?  Primarily  18-­‐24  year  olds4   are   flocking   to   Twitter.   For   businesses  looking   to   reach   this   market,   Twitter   may   be  worth   the   time   investment   to   engage   them   there.    For   25-­‐34   year   olds,   there   has   been   a   decline   (as  perhaps   many   of   these   users   are   now   spending  time  on  Pinterest),  along  with  users  over  64.                                                                                                                          4 eMarketer, June 13, 2012, “Daily Twitter Use on the Rise”  ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 7  
  8. 8.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      The  Good:  Twitter  is  an  excellent  resource  for  the  right  kind  of  business.  It  provides  a  robust  platform  for  timely   conversation   and   pushing   out   relevant   information   on   current   trends,   topics   and  targeted  updates.  It  is  easy  to  set  up  and  integrate  into  other  platforms  such  as  Facebook  and  the  blog  publishing  tool,  Wordpress.  It  is  also  an  excellent  tool  for  researching  the  latest  trends  globally  or  regionally.      The  Bad:  The   biggest   complaint   smaller   businesses   have   about   Twitter   is   that   they   still   “don’t   get   it.”  Much   of   this   concern   can   be   attributed   to   the   fact   that   the   businesses   don’t   really   know   what   to  say,  how  they  will  be  perceived,  and  how  they  will  attract  other  members.  It  also  gets  knocked  down  a  point  for  lack  of  insights  or  analytics.    On  the  right  is  a  chart  forecasting  the  growth  of  Facebook  and  Twitter  users.      LinkedInGRADE: A-  LinkedIn  has  securely  carved  out  its  place  as  the  only  business-­‐to-­‐business  social  network.  While  some  think  of  the  site  as  just  a  collection  of  resumes,  those  that  use  it  to  virtually  “work  the  room”  get  much  more  out  of  it.      The  Good:  LinkedIn  is  where  connections  come  to  life,  and  for  the  business  community,  it  can  be  like  panning  for  gold.  As  a  great  repository  of  information,  many  companies  are  finding  success  in  using  LinkedIn  for  competitive  research,  to  search  for  trending  topics  that  can  spark  content  for  blogs  &  newsletters,  and  to  showcase  one’s  expertise.    It  also  allows  you  to  post  questions  to  your  groups,  participate  in  discussions  and  target  specific  groups  virtually.  It  is  very  simple  to  maintain  once  you  have  set  up  a  LinkedIn  profile.    With  their  recent  acquisition  of  SlideShare,  the  presentation-­‐sharing  site,  we  can  expect  to  see  improvements  in  the  way  content  is  shared  throughout  LinkedIn.    The  Bad:  Some  may  be  hesitant  to  share  their  connections  with  others  or  give  away  too  much  background  information,  so  crafting  your  personal  brand  truly  elevates  in  importance  here.  Expect  to  get  invitations  to  connect  from  people  you  do  not  know,  especially  job  seekers  and  salespeople.  Determine  who  truly  is  a  legitimate  connection  (you  know  the  person  or  have  a  mutual  contact)  before  accepting  the  request.                ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 8  
  9. 9.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update    YouTubeGRADE: B  The  majority  of  video-­‐sharing  sites  have  shuttered  as  the  cost  of  hosting  video  has  risen.  However,  YouTube,  with  its  integration  with  Google  search  and  Facebook  for  sharing,  has  reigned  as  the  leading  video  sharing  website.  But  for  the  business  community,  the  value  of  YouTube  truly  depends  on  one’s  industry.  For  many  small  companies,  they  struggle  with  developing  video  content  for  numerous  reasons,  particularly  cost  and  content.      The  Good:  Now  with  improved  analytics  and  a  change  in  profile  layout,  YouTube  can  be  more  meaningful  to  marketers  who  want  to  know  what  kind  of  influence  their  video  content  is  having.  Video  is  increasingly  prevalent  online  and  can  increase  the  time  spent  on  one’s  website.      The  Bad:  The  biggest  challenge,  and  the  reasons  YouTube  received  a  lower  mark  is  because  small  businesses  have  a  serious  issue  will  developing  affordable,  effective,  and  interesting  video  content.  Without  video  content,  YouTube  cannot  provide  much  value  to  the  business  and  stalls  them  from  embracing  video  content  marketing.      There  are  two  new  social  networks  vying  for  attention:  Google+  and  Pinterest.  Though  they  have  been  around  for  a  short  time,  both  have  received  a  lot  of  attention,  especially  as  brands  begin  to  dabble  in  using  them  as  marketing  tools.    Google+GRADE: B-  After  some  unsuccessful  attempts  at  launching  a  social  network,  many  are  wondering  if  Google+  is  the  one  that  works.  It  grew  to  25  million  visitors  in  less  than  a  month,  making  it  the  fastest  growing  social  network  ever.  However,  Google  has  a  leg  up  compared  to  other  start-­‐up  networks.  Its  “embeddedness”  into  our  culture  with  Gmail,  YouTube,  etc.  has  made  its  “learning  curve”  shorter  and  its  sign  up  easier.      William  Sonoma,  Zagat,  and  MAKE  magazine  are  brands  actively  using  Google+.  It  is  a  space  to  watch  in  2013  as  more  brands  test  out  customer  engagement  with  their  Google+  Pages.      ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 9  
  10. 10.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      PinterestGRADE: B+  Pinterest,  a  virtual  pin  boards  network,  has  been  readily  adopted  by  creative  types  and  the  brands  that  attract  them.  Real  Simple  (see  example  on  right),  L’Occitane,  Lacoste,  and  Sephora  are  some  of  the  brands  that  are  embracing  the  new  phenomenon  and  pinning  photos.  The  site  caters  to  the  shortened  attention  span  by  offering  a  simple  product  that  primarily  relies  on  visual  elements.  The  site  also  skews  heavily  female—80%  of  its  members  are  female,  with  the  majority  aged  25-­‐445.    Supported  by  direct  integration  with  Facebook  and  Twitter,  they  have  succeeded  in  eliminating  the  need  to  create  a  separate  profile  on  Pinterest,  which  is  ideal  as  consumers  are  feeling        social  media  fatigue.          3. Addressing  Challenges    Throughout  this  whitepaper,  we  have  discussed  general  trends  in  social  media,  why  social  media  can  be  valuable  for  small  businesses,  as  well  as  the  tools  that  can  be  helpful.    In  deciding  on  how  to  optimize  your  social  media  presence,  there  are  three  main  challenges  you  will  likely  or  have  already  encountered.    This  section  is  devoted  to  our  recommendations  for  addressing  each  of  these  challenges.      Challenge  #1:  Creating  Content  The  major  challenges  businesses  now  face  with  managing  their  social  presence  is  the  constant  development  of  content.      Simple  and  efficient  ways  to  develop  content  for  your  social  profiles  are  to  look  at  existing  marketing  and  sales  material,  such  as  white  papers,  newsletters,  articles  written  for  trade  publications,  or  training  material  written  for  clients.  Often  times,  these  pieces  can  be  broken  down  into  smaller  chunks  suitable  for  social  media.    Don’t  forget  to  look  at  what  marketing  is  already  happening  for  your  business,  such  as  attending  trade  shows  or  speaking  engagements.  Photos,  video,  and  even  information  promoting  these  events  will  contain  valuable  information  that  can  be  posted  to  Facebook,  Twitter,  and  others.                                                                                                                    5  Living  the  Path,  April  2012,­‐pinterests-­‐user-­‐demographics-­‐april-­‐2012    ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 10  
  11. 11.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      Challenge  #2:  Leveraging  Connections  While  some  businesses  may  easily  collect  new  fans,  they  will  now  be  looking  to  leveraging  those  connections  to  turn  into  actual  customers.      For  those  in  a  business-­‐to-­‐business  environment  or  even  online  business,  social  media  can  be  beneficial  for  warming  sales  leads.  Having  an  integrated  marketing  campaign  will  go  a  long  way  to  do  this.  This  means  your  sales  efforts,  email  marketing,  and  offline  marketing  support  your  social  media.  On  the  flip  side,  your  social  media  should  publicize  contacts  at  your  companies  for  customer  service  or  sales  questions,  encourage  newsletter  sign  ups,  and  direct  potential  leads  to  in-­‐person  events  and  meetings.      For  those  in  a  retail  environment,  social  media  can  be  very  useful  to  promote  sales,  rebates,  coupon  codes,  and  other  promotions  for  customers.  Proactively  promoting  and  submitting  coupon  codes  to  sites  such  as  and  is  a  way  to  support  such  efforts.      Challenge  #3:  Investing  Wisely  in  a  Changing  Landscape    What  is  your  money  and  time  best  spent  on  when  it  comes  to  social  media?  That  is  the  question  that  many  businesses  have,  especially  when  there  seems  to  be  new  “It”  tools  launching  each  day.  This  was  especially  true  earlier  on  in  the  lifecycle  of  social  media  when  sites  like  Friendster  and  MySpace  popped  onto  the  scene,  and  then  fizzled  out.  However,  social  media  has  since  evolved  and  the  platforms  are  much  more  engrained  into  our  culture  than  its  predecessors.      With  membership  in  the  millions  of  users,  nearly  every  business  can  now  make  the  case  to  invest  in  one  or  more  social  networks.  A  combination  of  content  on  owned  properties  of  the  business  (a  company  website,  blog)  with  presence  on  social  networks  (Facebook,  Pinterest,  etc.)  provides  both  a  comprehensive  presence  for  the  business  as  well  as  the  opportunity  to  protect  the  investment.    Repurposing  content  across  all  channels  is  also  an  ideal  way  to  get  more  mileage  from  your  work.        ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 11  
  12. 12.  2012  Social  Media  Status  Update      4. Resources    Social  Media  News  &  Tips  Mashable—    Social  Media  Examiner—    Social  Media  Explorer—    The  Social  Media  Marketing  Blog—    SEOmoz  Blog—    Brian  Solis—    Social  Media  Today—      Social  Networks  &  Platforms  Facebook—  Twitter—  LinkedIn—  YouTube—    Pinterest—    Google+—    Blogging  &  Web  Publishing  Tools  WordPress—  /    Tumblr—  Blogger—    HubSpot—      Social  Media  Tools    HootSuite—  Management  tool  for  posting  &  scheduling  updates  to  a  range  of  social  networks.    Cyfe—    For  metric-­‐lovers,  an  analytics  dashboard  for  monitoring  the  progress  of  your  social  networking  profile  &  web  traffic.      Involver—    Apps  for  Facebook  Pages,  like  Twitter,  Slides,  Contests    Wildfire  Interactive—      Apps  for  Facebook  Pages    Tabsite—  Apps  for  Facebook  Pages,  for  running  contests,  posting  photos,  email  signup  forms,  and  more  ©  Market  Torque  and  Sinuate  Media,  2012 12