Top Social Media Trends Impacting Marketing Decisions for 2015

Social Media trends in 2015 for Marketers

Social Media trends impacting marketing in 2015

1. Social Media Marketing has become essential to content marketing

Marketing practitioners now understands that social media is key to content marketing since it is one of the best ways to amplify content. The two most important aspects of content marketing is publication and distribution with social media been recognized as the most effective method of expanding the reach and visibility of of published content.

2. Facebook ad pricing will  increase significantly increase

The reach of Facebook posts have been decreased significantly in 2014, which is a serious problem for business owners who are using this platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.

As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads will continue to increase. This increase in demand will drive up the pricing. According to an Ad Week article earlier this year, 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue into 2015 as organic post reach continues to fall.

 3. There will sharp increase in users on Twitter’s new business advertising model. 

Twitter is now offering businesses more choices and flexibility in how they create their ads and what they pay for. The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks. Check out Twitter’s advertsing platform here.

These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements (retweets, replies, etc.), website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.

4. Google+ is changing to bring more value to marketers

With the failure of Google’s Authorship experiment, it was felt by some that Google + did not bring a unique value to the social landscape and after the highly publicized departure of Google+ chief evangelist Vic Gundotra earlier this year  Tech Crunch felt the platform was quickly making the descent into obscurity. Having read Google CEO Larry Page in his statement about Gundotra’s departure and the fact that there a number of newly release features convinced me Google will not kill off Google +. The social network and user data infrastructure of Google is not going away.

The Google+ team has released new features such as Google+ polls and Google My Business.  Google+ polls allows you to poll other people on Google+ and learn what they think about a particular product, service or topic . Google My Business connects you directly with your customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. Google My Business also puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that your customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using.

5. Instagram will become essential for image-based social media marketing

With over 200 million monthly users, Instagram is the network for image-based social media marketing.  According to the Social Media Marketing Industry report, 42% of marketers are planning to increase their use of the platform this year, compared to 38% in 2013. Instagram will also continue to grow in the micro-video space. With both Vine and Instagram vying for billing as the top video networking site, the platforms have continued to differentiate themselves from the other offering different features, video lengths and editing capabilities. However, I believe we’ll see Instagram begin to outpace Vine as we enter 2015.

And with the recent emergence of Instagram’s in-feed video advertising, marketers will now have the option of paying to target their 15-second videos to users based on age, gender and country. While some have called the new video ads incongruous, the new feature is a welcome addition for marketers looking to promote their wares to Instagram’s young, affluent user base.

6. LinkedIn will widen the gap as “the” B2B social network
LinkedIn has been the top network of choice for the B2B crowd for years already, and I believe we’ll see the gap between LinkedIn and other networks continue to widen in 2015. According to the 2014 Social Media Examiner survey, 88% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, compared to 89% for Facebook and 86% for Twitter. I believe 2015 is the year LinkedIn will surpass Facebook for B2B marketing.


As 2015 progresses, it will be rather interesting to see how marketing professionals take advantage of these trends to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty and drive sales. Do tell us what is working for you or share with our readers what other trends you have identified for 2015.



Google Is Watching You & Tracking You

Can we escape Google?

Google begins today, Thursday March 1, to create far more comprehensive profiles of its users by following their activities across the company’s Web sites. From videos watched on YouTube to the terms typed in a Google search, tracking such behaviors will enable the firm to sell ads better suited to its customers’ tastes.

Users won’t be able to opt out. If they don’t like the change, Google has said, they can avoid signing into their accounts or stop using Google products altogether.

But that’s easier said than done, experts say. For the 350 million people using Gmail around the world, moving to a new e-mail program is perhaps more inconvenient than changing a mailing address or a bank account.

The “high switching cost” — as business parlance calls it — didn’t happen by accident.

When Gmail launched eight years ago, it quickly supplanted AOL and Hotmail as a leading e-mail service. It was free, storage was unlimited and it was easy to search for past messages. Gmail became even more useful as the company integrated contact lists, word processing, live maps and then later integrated the services on smartphones.

The business plan was clear: Glean information from consumers, sell ads and keep everything free.

Wondering how to clear your search history before the changes go into effect?

The first and easiest way to use Google but keep the company from collecting information on you is to use the company’s services without signing in to your account. YouTube, Search and Maps don’t require users to be logged in to use the services, though even signed-out users will still see ads based on their search terms, etc.

If you, like many people, are constantly signed in to your Gmail account throughout the day, things get a little more complicated.

Users can turn off the setting that allows Google to record their search history. To get to this menu, go to or head to the “Account Settings” menu from the top navigation bar you see when signed in to your Google account. Scroll down to the “Services” section. From here, you can pause, edit or remove all Web History. On some accounts, you can also go to the “Products” section of your account settings and click the “Edit” link next to “Your Products.”

Google will still keep some of your Web history information regardless of your settings, but the results won’t be used to customize your search results. According to Google, the company “also maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users.” Google keeps the information to “audit our ads systems, understand which features are most popular to users, improve the quality of our search results, and help us combat vulnerabilities such as denial of service attacks.”

Note that if you want to delete your Google Web history from your computer, you should also clear it in your  

You can escape Google

browser and from any Google toolbars you may have.To do so, head to your browser’s search history settings. In Firefox and Internet Explorer, you can clear history from the “Tools” menu. In Chrome, click on the wrench icon, head to the “Under the Hood” tab and choose the “Clear Browsing Data” option.

To delete all or part of your Google account (your profile, say, or your Google+ account), you can use the same “Services” area of your “Account Settings” panel.

So, now you know, Google is watching and tracking you!  What are your thoughts on this matter and what will you do about it? Do share with us.


7 Social Media Techniques To Improve Your Events

Live tweeting at the Audience Conference 2010

Events are extremely useful to marketers because they allow face-to-face, direct contact with their potential and current customers. Furthermore, events are useful for developing stronger connections with target markets, getting immediate feedback on products and services as well as addressing customer concerns.

Social media and social networking can be used to help promote events in advance, as well as motivate attendees to engage more deeply with the event during and after it takes place. Here are some helpful techniques you can use to connect your events with your online activities.

Connecting Before an Event

1. Facebook Events

Making your target attendees aware of your event is clearly important and Facebook events application is a great tool for achieving this. Creating Facebook events makes it easy for your connections to know when the event will be, where the event will take place and what kind of activities they should expect.  Make sure you have as much information as necessary to clearly indicate the value of attending. If you don’t give your prospects and customers a good reason to be there and get in on the action, they probably won’t.

As your invitees accept your invitation to attend, it is automatically posted to their walls allowing their network to become aware of your event. This gives added exposure to your event and can help your event go viral. You have the option to display the number of persons who accept your invitation on the events page which can encourage others to accept your invitation. Another great feature is the comment section where you or anyone can post great things about the upcoming event. Long Island Entrepreneurs uses this to increase attendance to their monthly business networking event.

 2. Twitter Updates

Twitter is an amazing way for you to let your followers know about upcoming events taking place offline and to give them little reminders leading up to the event without being too intrusive. Use Twitter to share links to your sign-up page if attendees need to register for your event. Twitter can also serve as a great platform for people to quickly ask questions about the event and give people a reason to attend. It’s a great way to build momentum and anticipation for the event as the time comes closer. For example, today I am tweeting every 2 hrs about a free business networking event that I am hosting at Retro Lounge & Grill in Freeport. Included in my tweets is an offer of a free drink to anyone who re-tweets it 4 times.

 Connecting During an Event

3. Live Tweeting

Your prospects or customers who may not be able to attend your event does not have to miss out since live tweets can be used. Live tweeting during events allows companies to engage their audience and make them feel like they are a part of the live event. In addition, it offers an added level of engagement for those who are in attendance. Even if they are at the event, taking part in an online discussion where possible will allow you to interact with your target audience on multiple levels. It also shows them you care that they took the time to attend your even. Create a unique hashtag for each event you host and publicize it to both attendees and people following online so everyone can easily follow and take part in the action.

4. Live-Streaming

While of course it would be great if all your followers and customers were able to attend the event you have put so much time and effort into planning and hosting, as we know, that’s not always the reality. Just because your customers or prospects can’t make the trip across the country, doesn’t mean they should miss out on the experience. Consider live-streaming the various speaker presentations throughout your event. This is also a great tactic when you are expecting a lot of people or if there are a limited number of tickets available. It encourages people to still participate and can help to reach a larger audience of people who were unable to attend but may still be interested in the content.

Connecting After the Event

5. Photo Streams

Whether it’s through Facebook, or Flickr posting pictures from your event to photo sharing sites allows your attendees to relive the event and enables those who missed your event to get an inside look at all the amazing stuff that happened during the event. The goal is to make people feel like they missed out on an amazing event that, maybe next time around, they will attend. Encourage attendees to upload their own photos, too. Photos give people a chance to share their personal experiences with the event, creating an amazing connection between attendees, your event, and your brand. See photos taken at events I host as well attend at SM Business Solution Facebook page.

6. Blog Retrospectives

Writing blog post about your event not only gives you a chance to thank all of the people who took the time to attend your event, but it also gives you a chance to highlight what you accomplished by hosting the event. How successful was it? How many attendees did you attract? Describing what you learned by meeting prospects and customers face-to-face will convey how much these interactions actually mean to your company and how important they are you. Here is a post, “The Social media social“, by Robert Saunders that he posted to this site after we co-hosted a business networking and social media seminar. You will see from the comments that were made that we were able to successfully engage our audience even after the event.

7. Recorded Video Content

Use video recording to extend interest after the event

Create videos from the live stream for people to view or download from sites like YouTube. This enables you to reach those weren’t able to attend the live event or watch the live-stream. Hopefully, if you’ve generated enough buzz about the event and kept that buzz going afterward through creating a successful event and generating positive testimonials from attendees, people who felt like they missed out on an awesome event will want to access the content they missed.

Do share with us how you are able to use your online activities to generate interest and increase attendance to your events.


How to Use Social Networking Sites to Drive Business: Social Network Marketing

Effective Social Network Marketing

Marketing through social networks is not  about selling your product,  it is about engaging your followers and fans. It is about developing brand loyalty through interactions with your customers. It is about making sure your customers see that you are genuinely interested in their welbeing.

A lot of people have started on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and  YouTube with  no clue to how it can benefit them. They do not realize that it is very important to have a Social Network Marketing plan that details what they want to achieve and how they plan to achieve it. Also, an effective Social Network Marketing plan must support your overall Marketing Plan. In developing your Social Media Networking plan, here are some questions you should ask your self:

  • On which social networks will I most likely find my target market?
  • What are my main objectives? Do you want to build brand loyalty, get customer feedback or drive traffic to your website?
  • How often should I post? When should and what should I post?
  • What resources will I allocate to executing my plan?

Remember the main goal of these community-based environment of social networking sites is to provide a platform for an open and honest conversation so do bear this in mind when you craft your plan.

The companies that are most successful at converting followers into dollars are those who interact most with the users and frequently post content related to their brand. Facebook’s Business Page is a great example of  how you should be marketing your company through social networking sites if you are B2C company.  A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users and can be easily found by search engines.

Those users that ‘like’ your page can post comments, feedback and reviews on your products or services. They are able to communicate directly with you, giving you the opportunity to respond.  As users ‘like’ your page, all of your activities appear in their News Feed each time they log on. There’s also a useful feature called the Insights tool, which allows you to analyze page views, the demographics of your fans, and the number of people who view (or stop viewing) your News Feed posts.

Remember, it’s called a social network, not a “business network.’ Coming off as a pushy or shrewd salesperson peddling a product could scare away your friends and connections. Remember to be genuine and personal.

Do share with us ways you are able to engage the people in your online networks.


The Power Of Social Media To Help Google Find You

Social media has forced its way into the world of marketing, and it’s here to stay. Social networks and blogs are among the most popular online activities, and their popularity will continue to grow as more businesses utilize them to directly engage customers. Consider these recent estimates:

  1. According to Facebook Statistics, Facebook currently has over 500 million users – more than the combined populations of the United States, Germany, and Japan.
  2. There are currently 156 million public blogs that average over 1,000,000 posts a day, according to Technorati.
  3. YouTube will serve 75 billion video streams to 375 million unique visitors this year. Users now upload more than 24 hours of content every minute, according to YouTube.
  4. Twitter has over 200 million registered users, 155 million tweets per day and 460,000 sign ups per day, according to Twitter

Social media is big – and getting bigger. So use the power of social media to support your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy by integrating basic SEO best practices in those environments to engage a wider audience and improve your online presence.

Engage Your Audience

Social media is a terrific way to communicate with customers and improve brand awareness. Create a company profile on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and establish a company blog. Your company will not only appear more often in search engine results, but you’ll set the stage for stronger communication between your company and customers. It might seem overwhelming at first, but soon you’ll find that just by engaging your customers – responding to complaints and praise on Twitter and your Facebook business page, for example – you’ll begin to create more content and drive more traffic. Remember: social media isn’t free and it takes a lot of strategic thinking to monitor and engage your customers. The worst thing you can do is set these up then forget them!

Even if you don’t have an actual brick-and-mortar location, submitting your business to Google’s Local Business Listings can help your company rank higher. These listings take precedence over others, and they have the added benefit of increasing customer confidence because they see you’re a real company.

In many cases, just creating profiles will help your company dominate the results for brand terms. Search engines trust social media platforms and often usher them to the front of the line. This will help both potential and devoted customers find your content either in social networking profiles or your corporate website. It will also leverage universal search results to push either competitors or “negative content” about you down off the first page of results.

“Take the online shoe company Zappos: a search for the brand results in Facebook and Twitter accounts and their corporate blog. Three listings link to the company website and five of the top 10 are part of Zappos’ social media marketing efforts. ”

These are just a couple of easy things you can do to enhance your SEO rankings through social media. If you properly optimize these profiles and let users generate even more content in their own terms and language, you can reach an even wider audience and further dominate search results.

Learn From Interactions and Improve Your Online Presence

While dominating the results for branded keywords is important, social media also positively influences your website’s link authority (aka PageRank). By controlling these profiles on social networks, you can share links to internal pages of your website. If you’re an advanced social media user, incorporate trending topics and popular hash tags into your tweets because doing so allows you to appear in Google’s real-time search results.

Submitting your blog posts to social bookmarking sites like Digg can drive traffic to your website and create strong back-links. If you apply cross-linking principles, readers can visit your website via links posted on your profiles. Monitoring social bookmarking sites also provides a glimpse of how people discuss your company. Understanding your audience and their language aids your keyword research and marketing efforts.

Establish a strong social following and respond quickly and effectively to important industry events or negative press. By reacting   quickly through all your outlets including social profiles, using your SEO best practices and the keywords you know your customers use, you can secure multiple listings in the search engine results pages and push negative content down to the second or third pages. This is perhaps the most powerful integration of social media and SEO, but you can’t do it overnight. So start creating these profiles and developing your strategy, supporting a loyal following and you will see these benefits.