Hot Social Media Marketing Concepts that Will Give You an Edge over Competitors

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

One way to stay ahead of the competition is to keep abreast of the social media marketing trends that directly affect your customers. Several major trends have recently impacted the social media realm. You should determine whether those trends apply to your situation. Even if you do not immediately see a way to apply them, you’ll want to monitor them closely.

Discovering gamification

There are basically two camps of people online — those who believe that online games are a complete waste of time and those who find them irresistible. But are social games actually games? They are, and again, they aren’t. Social games incorporate game techniques in a social setting with the aim of encouraging you to interact with a business, a charity, or perhaps an educational entity, to name a few.

You’re playing a social game if you are on one of the social media platforms and the game encourages you to take action that surrounds a brand. Where do these social gamers like to play?

Typically when you think of a “gamer,” you might think of an adolescent with lots of time and energy to master ever higher levels of game play. But actually, according to the same study, the average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman. Businesses of all types are creating games that integrate the use of their products with the daily play.

One example of this is Clarins, a French cosmetics company. Their game Spa Life on Facebook is about the challenges of running a spa. Their products are used at the spa and become part of the game solution.

But lest you think it’s all for fun, gamification takes several different cuts at the online game experience. In September of 2011, a group of gamers who play at a site called Foldit was asked to help solve a complex protein folding puzzle that had stumped AIDS researchers for years.

Surprisingly, the gamers were able to solve it within 10 days. It is reported that the competitive nature of the game drove the teams forward. CBS News reported that one researcher called it the value of “citizen science.”

If your company is thinking about creating a social game, you’ll want to make sure to take a broad approach and see what’s being done online. These games can be short or long term. You don’t have to commit yourself to something untried.

Choosing localized marketing

Many Internet marketers are excited about the opportunities they have to reach around the globe for new consumers. What many have overlooked is the opportunity to reach into their local communities to get more customers. As Adam Metz says in his book The Social Customer (McGraw-Hill), these customers “didn’t exist at the turn of the twenty-first century.”

Tools are now available to help small businesses and local sites of large businesses engage their fans. For example, Facebook has developed several types of advertising deals that help owners reward their customers for visiting the store often in the context of offers.

Companies like BlitzLocal have sprung up to assist business owners in finding their local Facebook fans. Dennis Yu, co-founder and CEO of BlitzLocal, said, “It’s quality, not quantity that counts” when it comes to fan numbers.

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Creating an app for that

According to Flurry Analytics, mobile apps use increased by 115 percent in 2013. Apps are big business and getting bigger every year. Social media marketers have an enormous opportunity to brand an app that is seen every day by their customers. Talk about product placement!

Marketers can help their customers and proudly display their logo while they do it. But not all apps are a hit. It takes careful planning and research to create an app that resonates with customers. Apps can typically be categorized in one of the following eight categories:

  • Social networking

  • News

  • Lifestyle

  • Games

  • Entertainment

  • Education

  • Family and kids

  • Music

If your company sells a product or service in one of those areas, you’ll likely choose to create a consumer app in that area. But what if you run a manufacturing company or do field sales? Does this mean that you can’t create an app? Not at all. In fact, you can create apps that provide a solution for your employees too.

For example, if you are a manufacturing company, you could create an app that searches your catalog part numbers. Areas such as transaction processing, field sales, and competitive intelligence are all possible areas to create an app for.