Social Media Trends Gaining Traction

Social media trends have expanded well beyond the regular, daily use of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like. Social media has become so pervasive in our society that this summer the second annual was just celebrated and recognized by people in over ninety countries around the world.Think about it, at some point there was a time that the idea of the internet seemed very foreign to you. There was even a time when the idea suggesting every home could have a personal computer seemed impossible. But now the business community at large can’t imagine being able to conduct business without the internet or a computer.As businesses are increasingly integrating social networking websites into their marketing strategy, trends indicate that online marketing is set to undergo a dramatic makeover. A recent study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (a representative body of American marketers) revealed that 26% of marketers found trends in social media taking it towards further growth.Today’s social media trends offer new opportunities for advertisers to penetrate their target markets. This marketing platform can drive tremendous amounts of traffic and provide a more cost-efficient way for an online business to gain publicity. By getting more online visitors, a website has a better chance of getting conversions or actual sales. And because of that, this online marketing medium is causing a lot of stir among Internet businesses. In fact, for many online marketing professionals, social media is fast becoming the platform of choice for launching and promoting a business via the Internet.According to recent industry reports, each key function in social media trends is primarily done in websites other than that owned by the business doing the promotion. In other, the action in this form of online marketing happens totally off-site. Unlike in other types of Internet marketing, where tweaking the company website will do most of the trick in driving traffic, social media involves the target audience. Thus, there has to be some form of discussion or interaction that will eventually build up a website’s reputation or publicity.The Nielsen report, which compiled social media trends and analysis across the Asia Pacific region, reveals that social media is having an increasing impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions – in Asia Pacific, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. This is particularly so for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars – products where consumers are most likely to base their purchase decisions on online product reviews.A recent Harvard research study showed that information and influence travel up to three degrees across a social network. The information you communicate to friends, family and colleagues is often passed on beyond your network – possibly to thousands of people, most of whom you will not even know. Similarly, the information you receive each day may have traveled two or three degrees before it reaches you.
Marketing and PR professionals continue – in droves – to realize the business value of social media within an organization. They know it can foster collaboration among internal teams, enable real-time customer service, and create communities of fans and advocates who can help to shape a company’s products, services and brands. Getting the C-suite to open the company doors to social media, however, can be tricky. Management often cites concerns over privacy, security, brand erosion, and employee training, and they remain unwilling to invest in or allocate the proper resources (both human and financial) to allow social media to contribute to the company’s success and bottom line.Mass marketing – as an essentially one-way form of communication – means pushing your brand and its message to large portions of your market, and hoping to see results manifested in the form of increased sales. 1 to 1 marketing, crucial in the business-to-business space, is the attempt to add a personal and conversational element to the relationship – you talk to your customer individually, both presenting your (hopefully tailored) offering as well as listening to his or her specific needs and answering questions.Marketing has the power to influence millions with a single message. But just as incorrect postage on a letter prevents a note from reaching its destination, the wrong channel can limit a campaign’s spread and sales effectiveness.Users, marketers, and companies face an incredible amount of noise, too. For every new application that relies on a network, another crops up that helps users manage it. While “eyeballs” used to be the coveted metric, both ad publishers and investors now realize that having smaller well-targeted niches can lead to much better returns than marketing to one large undifferentiated mass of users.We will see an increase of small businesses using social media as their main way to communicate with customers and prospects. Social Media has leveled the playing field for local businesses. With the right strategy, they can now compete with the big boys. Social media tools are free to use, it’s about knowing where your customers are on the web, building a profile on those sites, and beginning to strike up relevant conversations with them. What makes social media marketing tick is its focus on interaction or open communication between the business and its target audience.We’re moving away from “users,” “customers,” and “shoppers”: social media is bringing back the human element to all digital interaction. People now deliberately seek meaningful connection, self-expression, and a relevant and receptive community. Companies that want to succeed will need to take it further and tap into people’s evolving needs, using the social media context as the new baseline.