A recent Fast Company story on social media trends got me thinking about the companies we serve here at Carabiner, especially as we begin updating their social strategies for the year ahead. Here are three key trends that I believe B2B companies should be mindful of for 2014:
1. Social media isn’t just young people anymore. In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 age bracket. What this means for your business is that social media must officially be a core component of your marketing plan – not just something you have the interns dabble in on the brand’s behalf here and there. A truly worthwhile social program must be consistent, frequent and engaging. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated social strategy, it’s time to plan one for 2014.
2. Mobile is hot. Losing one’s phone is akin to losing your keys – you’re completely locked out from communications, including the 24/7 content stream that social media has created for business and personal use. Twenty-five percent of smartphone owners between 18 and 44 cannot recall the last time their mobile device wasn’t with them. And, according to the Facebook member stats reported in TechCrunch, nearly 80 percent of U.S. users are mobile. What this means for your business is that everything you offer, from your website to email content and social posts, must be mobile friendly. Here are a few tips on how:
a. Be sure your website has a mobile default setting so prospects on the go can easily access information when and where they want it.
b. Design your email content to format in a way that’s visible and scrollable on a smartphone screen.
c. Consider developing an app that can help customers stay connected with your company, ideally in some way that helps solve a business challenge.
3. Online video is here – to stay. More than a billion unique users watch videos on YouTube every month. Even more compelling, a Cisco study predicted 2013 as the year in which 90 percent of all web traffic would be generated by video. What this indicates is that the majority would rather “see and hear” to learn about you than scroll through long text on your website. Don’t just consider adding video to your content mix next year – make it an absolute must-have. Produce a range of videos on a timely, recurring basis all year long. Here are tips for staying relevant with online video marketing:
a. Consider mapping out video as part of your content plan throughout 2014. Highlight what types of videos you’ll need created at key times of the year to support marketing activities like new product launches, customer success stories, blog/email marketing content and trade shows.
b. Forego the $20K-plus production costs for the ONE big video you’ll make next year and instead reinvest often even less than that amount into the creation of several smaller targeted videos. As an example, consider investing one or two times a year in product launch type videos or how-to tutorials as gateways for learning more about your company. Then invest the remaining budget in smaller productions you may even be able to produce yourself using a template and an editing resource. These could be in the form of a monthly “blog chat” with your CEO, customer interviews at a trade show, or a quick video “sound bite” as part of an email. Even placing six- to 15-second videos on a regular basis on such channels as Vine and Instagram works great for sharing everyday vignettes about your staff so your audience gets to know the people behind your brand.
Bottom line – video is now impacting your bottom line’s potential – so don’t ignore it. Put on your director’s hat and get creative – or hire affordable professionals who can help you weave a business story that compels prospects to become customers.
What are your social media strategies in the year ahead?