As we look toward 2013, a number of themes jump out as key trends: social media, mobile technology, location-based marketing, and gamification. Here’s a roundup on what we think will happen in these areas and their impact on the digital space.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing gained an exceptional amount of steam in 2012, as parties ranging in size from international brands to local businesses jockeyed to start (or grow) their efforts and presence here. As 2013 looms, social media marketing is set to become a top priority marketing tactic. No longer a nominal experiment, businesses recognize that social networks are where their targeted customers are spending huge amounts of time. With this knowledge, prepare to see marketers shift their dollars to the social arena. A key point for businesses will be to rise above the clutter, and savvy marketers will use a mix of content, engagement, and promotions to grab the attention of consumers and extend the reach of their communities.
Marketing Shift to Consumers
With rise of social media and the changes in search engine ranking algorithms, the shift from link building to content marketing will grow. Digital marketers have said that "content is king" for what seems like ages, but a new trend is emerging where both king and queen tango — and the queen is consumer engagement multiplication. Great content is always necessary, but the need and potential of engaging consumer messengers moves to the forefront in the year ahead. Consumer messengers are influencers who have the ability through their social sharing to take content messages to their own networks and to the masses, greatly extending and multiplying the reach of brand marketing efforts. Consumers who share great content will be a defining marketing conduit in 2013.
The rise of gamification will expand as consumers respond to promotions that reward them for participation and sharing. Gaming isn’t new, of course, and it’s been an end in itself where in-game purchases are made of marketed products. In 2013, though, game strategies will extend further into the mainstream marketing sector as a significant strategy within social marketing, not just within the game industry. Tools for social networks that have a game component - and that incentivize social sharing as part of the promotions - have proven successful, and we’ll see more growth in that field. Related as it is to the shift toward content marketing through consumers, gamification is another valuable way to kick-start the sharing process and extends to find new customers.
Cross-Social Network Promotions
Social marketing promotions will reach across platforms, bringing two or more social networks into play during a promotion. Instead of relying just on Facebook, promotions will grow by incorporating additional social networks intertwined in a promotion. We’re already seeing promotions that are based on a Facebook page, but require a Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram-integrated component as part of the entry and participation process. Businesses will continue to leverage their strength on one social platform to extend their reach on others.
Rise of SoLoMo
SoLoMo, the intersection of social, local, and mobile marketing efforts, will hit the mainstream. Marketers recognize the time spent on social networks, and they’ll reach out through these platforms to mobile users to engage them with location-based specials. Additionally, local stores will offer incentives to nearby mobile users to draw them into the store. While in-store, businesses can utilize QR codes and signage to drive users to their social sites for further connection. SoLoMo will capitalize on the rise of smartphone use to pull together social and local initiatives, offering a more personalized and localized experience that can build greater customer loyalty.
The evolution of digital marketing is a clearly defined path, and the savviest marketers have already benefited from recognizing consumers’ eagerness to share content on social media; interact with their preferred brands; and receive rewards for sharing marketing messages. The trends we’ve outlined here are no longer experimental — they have proven and positive results when implemented well. Marketers should embrace these growing trends… in 2012 they were suggestions, but in 2013, they’ll be requirements for the savvy digital marketer.
Mike Gingerich is a co-founder of TabSite.com, the industry leader in Facebook fan page management. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook engagement while leveraging the ability to simultaneously extend reach on Platforms such as Pinterest. Their innovative Pin Deal application for Facebook Pages that integrates a Facebook promotion with Pinterest sharing is one example of this social synergy. For more information on Tabsite, please visit www.tabsite.com.