I recently had the pleasure to be among the 1,100 attendees at Social Media Examiner’s first live conference, held in San Diego earlier in April: Social Media Marketing World event, or #SMMW13 – the hashtag is still going strong on Twitter, if you want to jump in the conversation. During two days, the who’s who of social media speakers and strategists spoke during concurrent sessions and keynotes, providing attendees with a smorgasbord of knowledge, tips and strategic insights. To name but a few: Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, Jay Baer, Dave Kerpen, Mitch Joel, Mark Schaefer, Marcus Sheridan, Viveka von Rosen, etc. While it’s virtually impossible to summarize all of the content in a single post, I wanted to share some of the tidbits from Mike Stelzner‘s opening remarks, in particular regarding some of the hottest trends in the social media marketing sphere.
BLOGGING IS HOT… AGAIN!
Every year, Social Media Examiner comes out with its annual social media marketing report, based on feedback provided by thousands of marketers in North America and Europe mostly. One question specifically asks what marketers are most concerned about in social media, or wish to learn more about. In 2009 & 2010, social bookmarking was the key topic, Facebook was the big topic in 2011 while Google+ was the biggest one in 2012. What about 2013? This year, 62% of marketers want to know more about… blogging! It may sound surprising at first, knowing blogging is not particularly recent compared to other social media or collaborative networks. Yet, since blogging is at the heart of any good content marketing strategy, knowing how content is becoming key thus explains the growing importance of this tactic in the marketing communications toolkit.
It also ties in to ways of reaching out to influencers, specially when one realizes that 86% of social media influencers blog, according to Technorati. Thus, if a brand wishes to reach out to industry leaders and influencers, or if you are a personal brand or company that wishes to establish thought-leadership and credibility, blogging is certainly a key tactic that contributes to a strong digital brand and content marketing approach. Somewhat ironic to see blogging coming back as a key tactic, after more than a decade in existence, but as some folks say: blogging provides the fire, while social media is the fuel to make it spread!
VIDEOS ARE KEY
Another interesting finding stemming from the upcoming 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is the fact that Youtube is where 69% of marketers expect to put the most increased efforts in 2013.
Video is big, always has been, and always will be, but it seems marketers are embracing it more and more as part of their brand strategy. Consider that more than 72 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute, that it is the 2nd biggest search engine online and the number one search engine for travel within the 18-24 years old demographic, and one can easily understand why video has become pivotal for many organizations, in particular in the travel & hospitality vertical.
This echoes some of the findings from a Google Ipsos MediaCT study released last year, showing clearly the impact videos have on business, leisure or affluent travelers alike.
IS PODCASTING BACK IN VOGUE?
Blogging and videos have been around for a while, so it may sound surprising to have them among the hot trends for 2013. Yet, we can easily see why it makes sense, since content is cornerstone to online marketing and crafting an efficient and lasting brand strategy, and both videos and blogging align with content requirements. But podcasting?
Podcasts were all the rage some 5-7 years ago, in particular when Apple launched its iTunes application, making it that much more accessible to the masses. Folks like Mitch Joel, president and founder of TwistImage, has been doing podcasts for years. Companies have tried it, but many moved on to sexier venues when social media became more popular: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram… It’s easy to see how podcasting would fall out of grace, as a non-visual, audio-only medium in a space where visual is increasingly becoming the norm should you wish to stand out.
Nevertheless, we’re seeing more and more brands, marketers and social media strategists embrace podcasting as a tactical way to speak to niches and reach audiences with specific needs and wants. In fact, Mike Stelzner spoke of the “Podcasting anomaly”, mentioning that the interest in this tactical tool has increased by 8 times in the past year! That is, only 3% of marketers state using podcasts right now in the communications mix, but 24% wish to increase its usage in the coming year. Look around, and you actually may see this happening: more and more brands, including Social Media Examiner, have started offering weekly podcasts. So why the rage?
One possible explanation comes from the increasing amount of time we spend commuting to and from work, and more and more car manufacturers now integrating iTunes or other applications within dashboard designs. The end-result is making podcasts more easily available than ever, entertaining people and making a more productive usage of their time. Another reason is simply the fact that smartphones are becoming part of our everyday life, with over 1 billion of them in circulation right now and over 50% of new phones bought being smartphones.
So while we passionately discuss Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Instagram on a nearly everyday basis, isn’t it interesting to find out that the hottest marketing trends, according to marketers surveyed in this industry report, actually revert back to “old school” tools, i.e. blogging, videos, podcasts? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do leave a comment in the section below.