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Social Marketing Trends in 2012 December 28, 2011

The world of search and social marketing is massive. In addition, it’s ever-changing. The new hot social media platform for local business development might be Facebook today, then Google+ tomorrow (although I’m still a bit fuzzy on how Google+ is going to help businesses earn sales or traffic).

Despite 2011 being another hard year in terms of the economy, social marketing trends continued to grow and rise, birthing new ways to spread news about your website, as well as new ways to track your social media presence. And don’t worry – even those tried and true social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were swept away by the flow of innovations and upgrades.

Some of the big changes in 2011 surrounding social media were as follows:

• Pinterest came out of nowhere and instantly engaged the minds of women and men everywhere with their easy-to-use image capturing site.

• Google+ appeared on the market in June, although it didn’t offer brand pages until October. It’s still a bit hazy as to what the advantages are over Facebook, although once businesses really start circles (allowing them to key in on certain demographics, interest groups, etc.) there could be a huge growth in user participation.

• Although Twitter originally created their Promoted Trends and Tweets in 2010, the price and popularity skyrocketed around June of this year. The 160-character biz finally understood advertising!

Because of, or maybe in spite of, these 2011 trends, it’s not hard to see where some of the social media trends for 2012 will lie. Many lie around Twitter. The others seem to be around online videos and social media measurement tools.

How Twitter will Change in 2012?

Twitter’s taste of advertising in 2011 was sweet… and they’re coming back for seconds! With the expansion of the company’s first international office (located in London) for sales, the addition of political ads, the increase in pricing for Promoted Tweets, Trends, or Accounts (although Twitter refuses to publish exactly how much they charge), eMarketer researchers say Twitter will post an estimated $259.9 million in revenue for 2012 – that’s a 86.3% increase from 2011.

The Next Big Thing: Online Video

Online video popularity is another trend that seems like it will fully blossom in 2012. Did you know Justin Bieber was found by Usher simply from one of his amateur YouTube videos? Plus, who can forget that mind-numbing anthem by the teeny-bopper Rebecca Black that became a national sensation overnight originally found on YouTube.

Whereas most small businesses cannot produce a rap video with a catchy tune to pull in customers, the world of online videos is definitely shifting towards in the right direction for increased SEO benefits and to help increase conversions.

Megan O’Neill, a writer at Social Times and a self-professed web-video enthusiast told Kentucky.com columnist Ann Marie Van Den Hurk that while many online-video trends in 2011 were fun, the most important for next year could be more businesses getting involved. Just as the past couple of years have seen a mass acceptance of social media, with businesses and brands large and small taking to Twitter and Facebook to engage and interact, O’Neill says 2012 will be the year that more brands than ever before embrace online video.

The Rising Popularity of Klout

There’s only so much one can say about a program that came up with its own tagline: the standard of influence online. There was a bunch of issues individuals and businesses had with Klout in 2011, but I think 2012 is the year for them. They’ve finally created a stable algorithm to create Klout rankings, which is allowing businesses to see in real time how their reach, topic selection, and hashtag usage is really affecting their bottom line. With the addition of Perks and the +K’s you can give away to others who influenced you, I see nowhere but up for this measurement tool.

Some might argue that 2012 will begin the era of social media exhaustion, citing the fact that Facebook numbers have stabilized, Facebook ads are not really getting huge click-through rates, and Google+ isn’t making as big of a splash as it was anticipated originally.

What do you think?

Nick Cuttonaro

Nicholas Cuttonaro is an Internet Marketing professional specializing in search engine optimization, lead generation, and online reputation management.

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  1. Nicholas Kneuper • December 28, 2011

    Hey Guys,

    Great Post! I'm a noob when it comes to social, especially social for business. I started up our DripFeedBlasts twitter the other day and i'm loving it. Personally, I think twitter trumps all the other social when it comes to communicating with clients.

    I'm sure Facebook or Google + are better options for certain niches, but on a macro-level, they seem to be second tier when compared to Twitter. Why do I want a Facebook Page for my business? So people can like it? They can already like my website/blog posts.. I don't see the point.

    So, Twitter wins in my book, but is it the best b2c communication tool out there? I say yes, it's even better than email. Why? A few reasons:

    1. I'd argue email addresses are changed way more often than a twitter handle.
    2. It's harder to get people to read your content over an email. They have to open an email to read it. With twitter, at the very least it will get skimmed almost every time.
    3. With Twitter, your reach is magnified because your followers can retweet you. What's the email equivalent? forwarding? lawl.

    Having said that, It's probably easier to get a client on your newsletter than it is to get a twitter follow.

    If you are a TLDR; type of guy, I'll sum it up:

    Twitter is the best social tool for business.

    -Nick Kneuper
    CEO, Drip Feed Blasts Reply


    • Matthew Ruderman • December 29, 2011

      I see your point about "why have a FanPage when they can already "like" a page or blog post directly?" This may be true for many people but a FB Fan Page does add other value than a centralized location and presence for your brand on FB. One advantage would be when you have fans, you can control the content posted to their walls for their friends to see. In contradiction to having a ShareBar for liking a post on your site. Each time a FB user visit a post or page and clicks like the content is posted to their wall. They must do this several times to have content from your site posted to their walls visible to their friends multiple times. In stark contrast if a person likes your FanPage One time, every time you post to your fan page wall it displays on their news feed. You can control the number of times and the type of content posted to their wall. Besides it doesn't take more than 10 minutes to set up a Fan Page, and link it to your Twitter account, If your using Twitter anyway you can be using both simultaneously with zero extra effort. @mentions and RTs on Twitter are automatically not posted to your wall either allowing for direct customer communication as well without creating confusing wall posts to fans unrelated to particular correspondences.

      Matthew Ruderman
      Principal Owner
      On Q Media Reply


  2. Matthew Ruderman • December 28, 2011

    "(although I’m still a bit fuzzy on how Google+ is going to help businesses earn sales or traffic)"........ If I may contribute my opinion and theory on this topic. Google+ well help businesses earn sales and traffic through the use of the +1 button. The +1 button is similar to the Facebook "Like" button in that it allows the user to add credibility to a website, creating a "referral" .... Okay lets discuss how search engines developed the backlinking theory, it was determined that a site linking to another site in the beginning of the internet was actually a solid referral for another page. This is still somewhat true today though varying complexities exist with link weight, quantity and structure. However people have obviously long been manipulating backlinking and thus has very much deterioted the weight of a Linkback as a "referral" ..... How are the two related? If the majority of internet users exist online in social networking platforms and they are "liking" or "+1-ing" a website this is serving as a referral for content its posted to their user profile, their facebook wall etc. Considering it is highly unlikely I would ever subject my friends to spam posts and bad content through my wall It is my personal belief that in the coming months/years Googles Yahoo and Bings algorithm's will be adjusted to more heavily weight links based on social "likes" (or +1's) and being that google owns Google+ (duh) and the own the worlds most dominant search engine, I suspect they will give more weight to +1 then facebook like in search engine results rankings... Remember the search engine's end goal is always, to return the most relevant search result to the end user. This is what made Google #1, the +1 and Facebook "Like" button are essentially, and i use this term loosely "Word Of Mouth" referrals... maybe this makes sense to someone other than me? Reply


  3. Melissa Rubin • December 29, 2011

    Matthew - That is the best description of how Google+ can affect small businesses that I've ever heard. It actually made sense! Everyone else talks about it as simply a networking tool. The circles are great, and in theory could be great for advertising, but until they really get big I don’t see it evolving. However, the point you made, with the +1’s, makes complete sense. How long do you think it would take for Google to really capitalize on that and put the websites with high amounts of +1’s higher than other organic search results?

    Nicholas – I must admit that Twitter has come leaps and bounds since they first developed. And your point about email is something I never thought about (not having to create a newsletter myself). Do you use any analytic tool to see where your traffic that you put on both Twitter and newsletters come from? I wonder which social medium pushes the most traffic to your content… Reply


    • Matthew Ruderman • December 29, 2011

      Melissa-

      I would say they have already begun this process in some ways. If you use Bing while logged into your facebook account (microsoft owns Bing and a piece of FB) It will display search engine results based upon which of your friends likes certain pages. Do a search on Bing for something popular while logged into FB and you will see your friends profile photos underneath search results they may have liked. On Google similarly you will see the +1 button next to search results when logged into your google account. So in some ways I would say its already affecting clicks on SERPs, though I can't say with any certainty wether its affecting actual position yet. Though I am certain with some testing using an Industry Leading SERP tracking system like MicroSiteMasters.com and social liking services you could measure direct impact on SERPs

      Matthew Ruderman
      On Q Media Reply


  4. Robert Wilkins • January 9, 2012

    I never really knew the potential benefits of using Google +1. I've used it on a few customers site and have submitted my "like" on many other sites. I appreciate Matthew's explanation, on +1 and on Facebook likes. If I'm not mistaken, don't people need to have a google account before they can click a +1 link? A good chunk of my customers still don't have any kind of account with google. Will they sign up for a google account/profile just to use +1?

    Melissa, I totally agree about twitter. I thought it was a joke at first. What did Kim Kardashian eat for lunch today? Don't really care. But now I get more industry, trade, resource, and code information from Twitter than almost any other source. It's nothing like facebook and I would imagine more traffic to a website would stem from twitter than from facebook... Reply


  5. Matthew • January 12, 2012

    Robert WIlkins -

    "what did Kim Kardashian eat for lunch? Don't really care!" lol this is the common misunderstanding of Twitters purpose and function... People seem to have this twisted notion that all Twitter exists for is to update people about what they are currently doing. This couldn't be further from the practical uses and applications of Twitter. Sure you CAN use twitter for this reason, but make no mistake this is NOT what Twitter is for...... Twitter is so that people can share thoughts on a related topics (#hashtags) and easily search and read what others have to say on a specific topic. Using the search tool on Twitter you can find what twitter users from all over the globe have to say about particular ideas, products and concepts. You can also share your relevant thoughts to a topic for others to interact with. The big advantage of Twitter over Facebook, is that one does not need to have you as a follower, fan or friend to find your tweets. Tweets are public. Furthermore, Twitter API allows for developers to create twitter apps to expand the functions of Twitter including geo-locating tweets on specific topics. (finding specific twitter users close to you tweeting about your topic/product/service and aggressively marketinging to them can lead to better conversions)

    Yes you are correct about needing a Google Account to +1 (reccomend) something though I am hesitant to believe that there are truly that many customers of yours without a google account.... Remember you now MUST HAVE a google account in order to have a YouTube account... This change last year sent shockwaves through the webmail service provider industry as MILLIONS and MILLIONS of other webmail users we're FORCED to create a Google account to continue using YouTube. It would be incredibly surpirsing to find out that any more than maybe 10% of your customer base didnt already have Google accounts. I can assure you that if they don't have one yet.. at some point they will want to use a service that Google owns and will need one... At the moment it doesnt seem as if Google +1 is going anywhere, its seems to be in for the long haul, unlike Google Buzz (lmfao) Reply


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