Last week I had the opportunity to travel with a colleague to sunny San Diego to attend Social Media Marketing World. Many of the big names in the social media industry were there including Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, and Chris Brogan. Our goal was to learn about the latest and hottest trends, and to understand from these experts how we can maximize the return on investment in social media marketing — both for ourselves and for you as you market to pet owners. What did I learn? Lots, including you’re never too old to learn how to use this powerful marketing tool. Full disclosure, depending on who you talk to, I’m either a Baby Boomer or Generation Xer. So, for those that can relate to that let me share some key points that stuck with me proving you’re never too old mature to learn a few things about the latest trends in social media.
1. Video continues to grow as a powerful tool.
YouTube is still big. In fact, YouTube is the second biggest search tool after Google. In 2015, 56% of marketers want to improve their knowledge of YouTube, and two thirds of marketers plan to increase their use of it. However, both Facebook and Twitter have seen the power of video and Facebook is now degrading YouTube video exposure in their newsfeed. Still, you should create some videos of your practice to share on YouTube. It will help with search engine results and it will be interesting for existing clients and potential ones. You should consider at least one professionally shot video but then don’t be afraid to whip out your smartphone and have some fun.
2. Native video is now the best content to post to Facebook.
Video is now automatically played in the News Feed, which helps entice people to stop and watch. Facebook now even allows you to embed your videos into your blog posts, similarly to how you can embed with YouTube. Twitter has also entered the ring with the announcement of their new Video on Twitter feature in February. Now, instead of just 140 characters, you can share 30 seconds about whatever content you want to share. This is a great opportunity for you to tell your story more effectively and also allows you to show your personality and become more human for your clients. 72% of marketers plan on increasing their use of video in 2015, so whether you hire a camera crew or whip out your smartphone, it’s time to make video a priority in your marketing strategy.
3. Podcasting is growing.
Although still small in comparison to other tools, with only about 10% of marketers surveyed participating, podcasting is growing and 42% of marketers plan to learn more about this option in 2015.
4. Metrics are key.
It’s not just about posting on Facebook and hoping good things will happen. Measuring effectiveness and ROI in on the rise. Nearly half (42%) of marketers are now able to measure and report on social ROI. A surprising 78% of marketers say they are now able to show that social media increases traffic to their websites.
5. Facebook is still BIG.
Even though Facebook has changed their algorithms for businesses to get their content seen, 51% of marketers still say that it’s the most important social channel. In fact, the use of Facebook for marketing is actually growing, with 62% of marketers saying that they are increasing their use of Facebook in 2015.
6. Blogging is great for SEO.
Blogging on your website is a great way to boost SEO results and build a loyal customer following. The struggle is time and creativity. One great tip is to look at your sent email files. What are people asking you? Share that with everyone! Never waste a good conversation by having it in private. CLICK TO TWEET
7. Customer service is the new marketing.
Customer experience is the new marketing, and by 2020 it will likely be the single most important factor in a purchasing decision — ahead of product and price. You may wonder what that has to do with social media, right? Facebook and Twitter have provided an easy platform for customers to voice their opinions of products, services, and companies. You need to use these same tools to “hug your haters,” as Jay Baer says. Use social media as an effective venue to embrace complaints and turn bad news into a powerful business opportunity. There was a lot more great information I learned at this conference, but these were the highlights for me. The influence and impact of social media is growing and it should be an important part of your overall marketing plan. And remember, age is not a factor.