What did 2012 Mean for Social Marketers? Insight from Shoutlet Leaders

2013 has arrived, and many are infused with excitement about what it will bring to their company’s social media presence and for the space overall.

In anticipation of news and trends that will unfold over the next 12 months, we wanted to pause and look back at 2012.

Reviewing the recent shifts that happened in 2012 can provide perspective on how far the space has come and helps frame new shifts that will no doubt occur in 2013.

To do this, we’ve gathered insight from leaders and customers at Shoutlet in an effort to answer this question:

What did 2012 mean for social media marketers?

Jason Weaver – CEO

In 2012 we watched as social media marketers moved from simple to sophisticated in their approach to social media marketing. When social media began heating up, much of it was experimental. Marketers launched a series of campaigns and had little to measure. After several trial-and-error attempts, they turned to tools to help them gain a 360-degree approach to their social media marketing efforts. These tools allowed them to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of new communities (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) and provide a level of measurement not possible before. Marketers have now set their sights on building meaningful connections with their customers in ways that benefit both the customer and the company. Doing so provides relevant and engaging content that their audience is willing to share with friends that will ultimately yield additional sales and affect the bottom line.

 

Eric Christopher – Vice President, Sales

2012 was a year of change for marketers where it became as important to foster their social communities versus just grow them.

  • Marketers have listened to their social communities for too long with little to no connected business value. Marketers are just now beginning to take actions from those efforts.
  • Social media now has a seat at the digital marketing table.  Integrations and accountability are now front and center in 2013.
  • Companies are bringing earned and owned media in-house with social media software. Control, cost savings, and ROI are critical now with social programs.
  • We are still only in about the 3rd inning of a 9-inning game in enterprise social marketing. The best is yet to come and the ones in the best place to innovate with customers will win.

 

David Prohaska – Vice President, Marketing:

Social Marketers had to be more nimble than ever in 2012. As Facebook Timeline became mandatory for all users – brands changed how they presented themselves. When the Facebook News Feed Algorithm changed, and Twitter and LinkedIn further monetized their means of reach – brands began spending ad dollars to be visible to more followers. And as Pinterest and Instagram exploded – brands increased their use of images to drive a new type of social engagement.

In the end, how quickly brands responded to changes at the major social networks and how successfully they adapted to the blurring of paid, earned, and owned media greatly determined their level of social success.

Blake Samic – Director of Product Management:

In 2012, we saw the social web becoming increasingly mobile, visual, and targeted.

  • The mobile shift is accelerating for consumers, and we saw every major social network increasingly support apps for the handheld and tablet form-factors across iOS, Android and mobile web.
  • Instagram and Pinterest carried the most buzz this year, signaling a shift to more visual, photo-driven social experiences. Content targeting and paid promotion became much more important for social marketers. On Facebook especially, changes to the News Feed Algorithm (commonly referred to as EdgeRank) have made it essential for brands to throw some dollars behind their most engaging posts in order to reach more of their fans and friends of fans.
  • Social login has become ubiquitous (especially Facebook and to a lesser degree, Twitter). Because of this, Facebook has a unique advantage in that they can see app adoption trends earlier than anyone (except the app company’s employees). This gives them insight and can inform their acquisition strategy (see Instagram), and their feature build decisions (see Facebook Poke and Snapchat).
  • Some surprises this year (for me) were the adoption of disposable messages, especially among a younger demographic (see SnapChat), and the launch the paid social network, with no ads, App.net.

 

Ed Peterson – Social Media & Demand Generation Consultant at YP and Shoutlet customer

As a B2B marketer, the evolution of social media advertising is the big story of 2012. From Facebook to Foursquare, targeting and engagement opportunities have exploded. While a lot of my work has centered on mastery of the nuances of social networks and developing corresponding content strategies, my key goal for 2013 is a deep dive into paid promotion.

 

What do you think? What did 2012 mean for social marketers? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

  • http://twitter.com/melissahjohnson Melissa Johnson

    I think social media in 2012 was about attracting higher quality fans instead of mass numbers. Businesses started to strategically think about how to market on social networks, and how social media as a piece of digital marketing fits into the company’s strategy as a whole. This past year also caught the attention and buy-in from executive teams that are finally giving social media the credit it deserves. With smart strategy and internal support, social media in 2013 will have no limits.