Future Implications

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There are two primary motives for social media users: communication and connection with others…, they way company’s match these motives is constantly changing.

Social media – it’s constantly changing and evolving, therefore, companies’ social media strategies must do the same. The start of a new year is a great time to look ahead at 2017 future implications for brands and how these might impact social media strategies.

Google “social media trends for 2017,” and you’ll stumble upon a plethora of links to 2017 projections for social media. Four caught my eye, causing me to pause and reflect on their relations to each other. Two “work against” each other: Analytics and Dark Social, while two “compliment” each other: Real Time Customer Service and Chatbots, and are important for businesses to monitor and adjust their social media strategies for.

Analytics versus Dark Social

Analytics

With the use of social media increasing daily, it is important that businesses understand how their social media marketing/engagement efforts (in both dollars and resources) are working towards building relationships, visibility, and ultimately increasing profits. According to a KPMG survey, 92% of C-level executives use data and analytics (D&A) to “gain greater insights into marketing,” while indicating their biggest challenges in decision making and using data analytics include: difficulty in evaluating data quality and reliability, appropriate data not always available, and limited expertise in running queries.

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How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017? Brands will need to determine clear goals and tie social media metrics to intermediate goals or conversations…and all will have to lead back to revenue. Businesses must evaluate their current analytics tools and determine if they are providing the data that allows them to back up their social media activity and determine if they are obtaining tangible results.

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Dark Social

Dark Social refers to social link-sharing that is not recognized by analytics in the proper way. For example, if someone finds a link to a company’s website through Facebook, then shares that link with their “friend” via text, their “friend” then clicks on the text link – or copies and pastes it into the URL bar, current analytic tools will view that “friends” visit to the website as direct traffic, as opposed to a result of the Facebook post. “Over two-thirds of all link sharing gets grossly mislabeled by web analytics tools.” Dark Social sources include apps on mobile devices (including Instagram and Facebook), email, text messages, and mobile apps. In addition, private messaging and peer-to-peer networks provide individuals with the opportunity to hold private conversations and share links with those individuals and small group members, without “analytics” picking it up. As a result of “Dark Social” companies receive inaccurate results from their analytics.

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Businesses must continue to monitor their analytic tools and determine if these tools are”correctly” the labeling the results. Social media platforms are working on finding fixes for this issue. To help companies continue to target their customer, even if they’ve gone “dark”, they will “need to build local communities,” providing personalized content. This will encourage users to “opt-in” to the company’s community – offering more one-on-one interactions with and information to the customer, along with providing better feedback as to what brought a customer to a specific site or purchase.

Real-Time Customers Service and Chatbots

Real-Time Customer Service

Today, customers expect businesses to have someone available 24/7 to respond to tweets and posts, on whichever platform is used. In fact, 52% of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within an hour. This expectation will continue to increase in 2017.

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from Search Engine Watch

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Businesses must look to allocate resources to make sure timely responses are occurring and social media is being monitored.

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Chatbots

We are all familiar with Siri – “Hey Siri, what’s the capital of Massachusetts?” “The capital of Massachusetts is Boston.”

Chatbots are similar to Siri. They are computer programs that “respond to texts or digital chats, effectively carrying on quasi-conversations with the humans.” They can answer standard social media customer questions. If programmed correctly, they take on the personality and “voice” of the business, mimicking a “conversation with a customer in a tone that reflects the brand’s identity.” Chatbots help solve need customers customers have for 24/7 availability of a company via social media, taking some of the burden off “live” employees, by answering basic questions, and sometimes adding humor.

How does this impact businesses’ social media strategy in 2017?  Although this may not be possible, or necessary, for all businesses, it is an option some companies will want to consider in 2017, to help with their “real-time customer service.” (But there are pitfalls to be aware of.)

These are just a few projections companies need to accommodate.

How is your company adjusting for 2017?

 

Viral Marketing Initiatives

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Have you ever watched a video or seen a social media challenge that pulled you in, inspired you, or motivated you in a way that you had to participate in it or share it with a friend or two or ten? You were part of viral marketing! Viral marketing happens when “customers act as advertisers by promoting a product through word-of-mouse.”

Why do videos and campaigns go viral?

Does a company have control over a campaign or video going viral? Although it’s up to the viewers and followers to make a campaign go viral – they’re the ones sharing – to some extent, a company can impact if their campaign goes viral. Five factors that can help a campaign going viral are discussed below.

Evoke Emotions and Feelings

When viewers stumble upon a post or video that moves them – makes them laugh or cry – they are more apt to share. In fact, the viewer “must first enjoy viewing (or feel entertained) before a positive attitude can be formed…and (then) voluntarily share it.”

Studies show that “the greater the intensity of feeling the content evokes, the more likely people are to share it.” Tugging at the heart strings or making someone laugh makes the person connect with the video and its content. A great example of this is the Pantene “Deaf Violin Player.” Just listen to what happened when my 9th grade social media students stumbled upon it…

Budweiser’s “Best Bud’s” gave that warm feeling of a good friend who needs to be by your side – the imagery and music added to the effect.

Be Timely

By being timely, focusing on the what’s going on right now, and what people are concerned with, you are more apt to grab the viewers attention and evoke their emotions (noted above). Sometimes timing is simply spur-of-the-moment, taking advantage of the unexpected. Being in the right place, at the right time, and using it to your advantage.

Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” immediately playing off the “darkness” or Arby’s taking advantage of Will Pharrell’s hat looking like their logo are great examples of being in the right place at the right time. On a more serious level, Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” campaign comes at a time when there’s much focus on all the unrealistic images of what a girl or woman should look like.

Sprout Social shares great tips on how to use great timing. (Sprout Social shares great tips on how to use great timing.)

Be Positive and Inspiring

With so much negativity in the news today viewers are attracted to stories of inspiration, overcoming struggles and beating the odds, an of dreams coming true despite obstacles.

Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” and Pantene’s “Deaf Violin Player” are inspiring and positive – showing it’s alright to be you!

Be Engaging

People want to be a part of something – whether it’s a cause, sharing their opinion, asking questions, or participating in an event. The more you can involve your viewers, engage them in a cause or activity, or give them the opportunity to share their voice, the greater the chance they will share the activity and link with others.

ALS’ Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged people to get involved in a good cause – finding a cure for ALS. “The Dress – Black and Blue or White and Gold?” had viewers involved in sharing their opinion on the color of the dress – who doesn’t like to share their opinion? Comedy Central’s “Search Game” led viewers on searches through its ads to find the answers about the new host.

Be Easy to Share

No matter how much someone enjoys a video clip, blog, or other post, if it’s not easy to share they will simply move on (without sharing). However, if all they have to do is click a button and press share (maybe even add their own comment with the share) the chances of going viral increases substantially. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson refers to it as providing “effortless transfer to others.”

Here’s some of the ways the above campaigns made it easy to share:

What’s your favorite campaign or video that’s gone viral? Please share below!