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Review of Communication Trends in Social Media for 2013

by Lauren Lawson-Zilai
March 5, 2013

PRSA-NCC’s most recent panel consisted of Denise Graveline, founder of Don’t Get Caught, and Anthony Shop, managing director of Social Driver, to discuss social media communications trends for communications. The event occurred during Social Media Week DC on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

Visual, Mobile and Integrated

Denise’s presentation focused on key predictions for 2013 trends including visual, mobile and integrated. View her latest blog on her predictions for 2013’s social trends for communicators.

Denise emphasized the following with visual: Pinterest is the third largest social network platform. It drives more traffic to sites than Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined. It reached that level faster than Facebook and Twitter. For instance, Instagram now has 100 million users each month. Denise stated that visual content is the strongest trend in social media that will increase in 2013. She reiterated that blog posts are read more if there are visuals. One of her tips was to use snapchat, a platform that uses photos to prompt discussions and is 10 times faster than MMS.

Denise shared some interesting statistics about mobile. According to a recent study from the Harvard Business Review, 46 percent of smartphone users say they use it for “me” time (not for shopping, business, etc.) She stressed that websites should be optimized for mobile experience, and that Facebook and Twitter are still advancing in this arena.

With integrated, she used the term “base camp” meaning that you should have one place where people can find out about you authoritatively, and then your social media platforms should be used to amplify the messages and content. As she said, “Don’t use social as an add on.” She also stressed the point of IFTTT (if this then that), a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement. Another tip she gave was a tool called Sparkwise, which is a data dashboard that allows you to choose which metrics to pull into it and show social results. Denise also reminded the audience that it is important to have one point person at your organization to turn off automation in the event of a crisis; otherwise, it can cause major damage to your brand.

Denise quoted the well-known Chris Brogan: “Let’s stop doing social media for the sake of social media.”
Her point was that companies, organizations, nonprofits, associations, etc. should look at what they are doing every year on their social platforms and if it isn’t working or reaching the intended audience, then they should stop doing it. It’s not about the numbers; it’s about the people that are most important to you.

Many attendees in the room had questions about how to pitch reporters via social media, which Denise followed up with via her blog.

Engaging Your Followers

Anthony talked about the media mix – owned media, such as a business website, social media account or YouTube channel, paid media and earned media. He felt the latest trends were that people are investing more in owned media and shared media. For instance, old media is a mix of paid and earned. New media is a mix of owned and shared media.

Anthony stated that there are two ways to converse – grow your audience and strengthen your relationships. He broke down communication as the following:

Talking: You to supporter
Listening: Supporter to you
Sharing: Supporter to organizer
Engaging: Supporter to supporter

When you start a conversation, you’re making an investment. Anthony’s strategy was to divide your stakeholders based on their level of participation according to his permission and engagement pyramid. Levels include dedicated, lite, permission, and unconnected.

Anthony used the “bring the cupcakes to the kitchen” analogy to help build your social media strategy. For instance, if you’ve been to a house party, you often find everyone crowding in the kitchen, but the cupcakes might be in the other room. Rather than try to interrupt conversations or redirect people, you need to go with the flow and figure out where your audience is, not where you want them to be. This means:

  • Your videos should be hosted on YouTube rather than a proprietary system embedded in your website.
  • That you should discuss industry trends on LinkedIn groups, rather than on a rarely-used internal social network or online community.
  • You have to embrace the fact that people don’t visit your website to browse or search for information like you wish they did. They use Google to search, and if your content is optimized, they will end up directly on a subpage rather than your landing page.

For social media platforms, Anthony felt the same motto applies – find out where your audience is spending time and go to them. These are the people who are interested in you and your brand that you didn’t know – enhance the conversations you weren’t having before. He also emphasized that it’s important to start with goals and target over ROI and continually ask yourself “What’s the workflow? What’s the incentive?”

Anthony concluded by saying the biggest trend for the future are brand advocates – people who like you and are loyal to your brand, and can help share your message organically.

To view slides from Anthony’s portion of the presentation, visit: http://socialdriver.com/prsa/

To find out what people are saying about the event and more tips on social media, visit @PRSA_NCC .