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Ten Social Media Strategies to Define a Successful 2012

Welcome to another New Year! While everyone else is busy thinking about or already breaking their New Year resolutions, it’s time for us to take a moment to rethink what it is we can really do better now and over the next 12 months.

I’m sure you heard it everywhere last year. Experts found the highest blog mountains and social network skyscrapers to Tweet in concert, “You need a Facebook brand page! Why are you not on Twitter yet? Have you checked-in on Foursquare? Hurry up and get set up on Google+. If you don’t get on social media, you’re going to go out of business!”

And, here you are…still in business, I presume. But like any keen business leader or entrepreneur, you’re avidly thinking about your next move and your social media strategies for 2012.

You already know that running the show in a mode of “business as usual” is not only limiting, it’s terribly complacent.  But if you are to change, you need to better understand exactly how technology is influencing the behavior of your customers and why.

The truth is that you can create your company brand pages on every social network you can imagine and you won’t succeed unless you know whom you’re trying to reach and where, what it is they expect and value, and how these channels represent a meaningful opportunity for you and your consumers to connect.

You first must answer what’s in it for them and what’s in it for you.

Defining your Social Media Strategy

Social networks, smartphones, tablets, review sites, gamification, geo-location, et al. are producing a new breed of consumer, and businesses are largely missing them altogether. In fact, the emergence of this more “connected consumer” is forcing the end of business as usual.

At the same time, the decision patterns of these connected consumers has ushered in an era of risk where any business, large and small, is vulnerable to digital Darwinism — the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to adapt.

Ten Social Media Tips

In 2012, consider yourself a digital anthropologist or sociologist as you immerse yourself in a day in the life of your connected consumer and seek to close the chasm between you and them.

There are many professional social media analysts, researchers and strategists who can help you find the answers you seek.

Starting now and forever, technology and empathy are now part of your business strategy. To what extent disruptive technology impacts your markets will depend on your industry and the rate of adoption within it.

Priority areas for your social media strategy should include an understanding of the following:

1. Social Networks from Facebook to Twitter to Google+ and how they’re connecting to influencers and businesses

2. Geo-location check-in services such as Foursquare and Facebook location updates to share locations and earn rewards or opportunities for discounts.

3. Crowd-sourced discounts and deals including Groupon and LivingSocial and what’s valued and why.

4. Social commerce services like Shopkick and Armadealo and how they create personalized experiences that are worth sharing.

5. Referral based solutions like Yelp, Service Magic, and Angie’s List to make informed decisions and how shared experiences can improve your business, products, and services.

6. Gamification platforms such as Badgeville and Fangager, and why rewarding engagement improves commerce and loyalty.

7. How your consumers using mobile devices today and what apps they’re installing. Also, how they’re comparing options, reviewing experiences and making decisions while mobile?

8. The online presence your business produces across a variety of platforms such as tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops. You must realize how consumers are experiencing the online presences you create and whether or not they deliver a holistic and optimized experience for each platform.

9. The consumer clickpath based on the platform consumers are using. Are you steering experiences based on the expectations of your customers? And are you taking into consideration the device or network where the clickpath begins and ends? Are you integrating Facebook F-commerce and m-commerce into the journey?

10. The expectations of connected consumers, what they value in each channel and platform, where they engage and how your business can improve experiences and make them worthy of sharing.

This is your year…

2012 is the year for you to grow your small business while earning relevance among a growing class of connected consumers.

Regardless of technology, the future of business isn’t created, it’s co-created. To succeed, it takes a culture of customer centricity and the ability to recognize new opportunities and adapt based on what they present.

In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

The End of Business as Usual is now available

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39 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Ten Social Media Strategies to Define a Successful 2012”

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice post Brian. Great starting point for a lot of people. One piece I think also should be added to the list is monitoring. Not only what your customers are saying about your brands, but how much of that information can and should be analyzed and circulated internally allowing different business units to make better decisions and changes moving forward. Being nimble and able to react faster could be a big competitive advantage for most companies. And listening to pain points your customers are sharing with you or their social circles can be even more valuable.

  2. Agree with the post on monitoring/listening. Also, I’d add to #8 that it is crucial to examine customer experiences not just “on” disparate devices – but across them. Too often I’ve seen corporations manage social platforms and experiences well on individual properties – but in a siloed fashion that can cause real hiccups in the customer’s experience of the brand.

  3. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Brian. Any business that could do the things you outline above would have built a solid foundation for delivering a great customer experience. Not to say it’s easy to do that, though…Those ten tips are a tall order for most businesses!

    One other point: I would consider four of your ten tips (7-10) to be less about social media strategy, per se, and more about broader business and customer experience strategy. While it may seem like a semantic distinction, it’s an important one. In the past few years, people talked about having a “social media strategy” as if this were something separate from a broader business strategy. I think it’s time we get past that distinction and just think holistically about smart business strategy, with social media and channels as one layer of many.

  4. Nice overview Brian. I recently posted on popular 2012 social media trends and I would add “T Commerce” to F & M-commerce on your list because I think the Twitter platform will also enable its brand page users to integrate a new commerce tab that could possibly be uniquely customized to support content most shared by Twitter followers.

  5. You left out Pinterest. For the multi billion dollar interior design industry (and other industries for that matter whose members frequent Pinterest) the site is invaluable for service businesses such as interior, kitchen and other designers, product manufacturers/brands and end users/homeowners to reach one another and share inspiration. 

  6. 2012, in my opinion, is the year of social media, when they have a massive impact on users. And this is a good thing.  Btw, your ten social media tips are useful

  7. This is wonderful, and talking about this being your year I think really rings true for a lot of people. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of the world ending (it’s been talked about, and enough people truly believe that it can’t help but make you wonder) or we’re just tired of not living up to our potential. Only one thing is certain, dedication to change is far more different in 2012 than it has been in previous years.

    I’ve seen it happen with friends, colleagues and myself. We want improvement and we’re going to work to get it. My friend, who works full time as a coffee slinger for $7.50 an hour has been putting in his full 39 at work, and dedicating another 50 a week to a YouTube Project I started this year. He’s learning how to edit video, and he’s picking up the more difficult tasks at an alarming rate. He’s even now considering going to school for it.

    A colleague, forced into early retirement due to disability, has been taking strides to become an investor, because it’s something he’s been very passionate about doing for a very long time.

    And I, who shunned 11 years of acting training and a degree from conservatory, have finally gotten my own show together on YouTube to talk about online marketing in a not boring way.

    I see people getting over their own limiting beliefs, and overcoming obstacles to improve their situations, and for the first time in a long time, I get the sense that most people are happy. Which is always a great way to live your life.

    Wishing you the best for 2012!

  8. Daniel Milstein says:

    That is true. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said, ”
    You already know that running the show in a mode of “business as usual” is not only limiting “. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about.  Can’t wait to read more from you!

  9. Chris Bassoo says:

    From Christopher Bassoo

    Great POst Brian. Thank you for sharing your insights and advice for online presence. This is required reading for all who want to tackle Social Media! Bravo

    Chris Bassoo, London Canada

  10. Anonymous says:

    my favorite – starting now and forever technology and empathy are part of your business strategy – I might add that empathy should have always been but every day is the first day for a new habit – great post Brian

  11. Great post! In 2012 small business owners should not hesitate in leveraging the power of social media for their success. You might not know this is maybe the reason why your competitors are succeeding and you are not. There are still many things to discover in the social media era. That is why we should always be updated. 

  12. Webstats Art says:

    What about people who don’t need social media. I know tons of companies who live without it. Do you think they are losing?

  13. Kim says:

    I really liked reading this and like the profound, even if disturbing questions this process of thought initiates. This is a very important aspect of any business, whether online or not and is vastly shaping our future, so thank you for sharing. 

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