10 Social Media Trends for 2013 – Get Started!

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 11.15.42We entered year 2013 without any apocalypses that changed the course. The increase of people accessing social media has steady ascended. As it always have. People are using social media during a longer time and on a wider range of devises. Which leave 2013 to be the year where News Feeds are more cluttered with noise than ever before.

Edelman Digital has pointed out 10 social media trends for this year. 10 trends that your brand should adapt in order to reach as many people as possible, when they are most interested, to spark conversations, and to deepen customer relationships.

 

 

1. Mobile first

The mobile usage is growing every day and it’s essential to optimize the content you share with your target audience. 90 percent of social media users use multiple screens sequentially, meaning that your content not only should be adapted to smart phones and computer screens, but also tablets and TV.

2. Converged media

The merging of paid, owned, and earned media provides the opportunity to grow earned media organically. It’s the combined impressions that will create your strength. All content you share are your advertising – and it doesn’t have to look like editorial content to be advertising. Promote high performing content, that’s relevant and in the right context, with paid media such as Sponsored Page Stories, to reach as many people as possible.

3. Amplifying sourced content

Social networks are designed to encourage user to share images, text, and videos, which has result in a web full of content connected to your brand. Source content from fans, blogs, and creative channels. Using fan generated content work as peer-to-peer recommendations, which probably are the strongest source for marketing you’ll ever get. User generated content brings transparency to the brand and shows consumer appreciation.

4. Visual storytelling comes into focus

Visual stimuli have a strong effect on humans, also compared to other kinds of stimuli such as reading or listening. Visual content get 5 times higher engagement on Facebook and technology has made it easier to take part in visual storytelling with online communities. As I posted about in beginning of last year, 2012 was the year when visual content came to be king: we saw a drastic rise of visual social networks, such as Pinterest and social networks optimizing for visuals, such as the Facebook Timeline. This year, we’ll see an increase in video sharing and social networks such as Vine fueling the trend.

5. Creative newsroom

Since September 2012, the average reach of brand content in users News Feed is 8 %. It has put more pressure on brands to create breaktrough content that bring value for both users and the brand. By implementing a creative newsroom, a.k.a. social newsroom, you can make sure to optimize content according to trends and real time happenings. This will further create an always-on strategy – placing your brand in the right context, at the right time. Prepare your brand for the new changes of the Facebook News Feed, where it’s now even more essential to work more effective with visuals.

6. Many lightweight interactions over time

As the engagement of your community increases you will gain deeper emotional bonds. It takes time to grow a community, but as bigger it gets, the more likely you are to create advocacy.

7. Social events drive engagement

Breaking through the noise in peoples News Feed demands more than updates that states “Like this if you…”. The combination of breaking news, exclusive access, and competition have proved, not least from Redbull’s Space Jump, to be a winning formula to create attention and conversation. To strengthen your messages, make sure to sync social events in real life with your social channels, such as broadcasting live on TV, or providing real time content.

8. One-to-one social engagement

Let’s not be stuck in old patterns by trying to communicate with a big mass of people all at once. People expect customized content, and you have the possibilities to target and segment your content based on interest, geographics, demographics, and activity. Use that possibility.

9. The search game just changed – again

The more engagement you can create around your content, the greater is the possibility for people to crave for deeper knowledge and understanding of your content. This craving further leads to people doing more researching. Ensure that you have a presence on various social platforms and can provide content that support their searching. Develop a spectrum of content throughout social channels where users search for content, such as Tumblr and Pinterest.

10. Brandplay

We can’t mention it too many times – the value of using the right brand tone of voice. To be recognized amongst all other noise, let the brand personality shine through all content and communication. Make room to utilize the possibilities that lies within using a significant tone of voice. Play and be creative with you’re brand’s communication to grab attention.

 

Edelman Digital 2013 Social Media Trends from Edelman Digital

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.