10 Things We Learned About Social Media Engagement in 2012 (Part 2)


Share on LinkedIn

Last year was massive in social media engagement. In 12 short months the industry underwent enormous changes. It taught us a lot about where we are with social media and where we need to go. Yesterday, we listed the first five things we learned about social media engagement last year. Here’s the rest of the list.

Social Media Sentiment is Delicate

If 2012 has taught us anything about social media engagement; it’s taught us that it needs to be done with care. The old phrase in marketing claimed that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. That phrase was tested to its limit by a number of brands in 2012. Hashtags, often talked about as a key marketing tool, turned on a number of brands this year. The most high profile of these was #McDStories. It seemed like the perfect social media engagement strategy. McDonalds created a hashtag to allow users to tell their own stories about trips to McDonalds. They expected was a boost to brand sentiment via a few nice tales of family days out. What they got were stories of filthy bathrooms, unsatisfactory service and vomit. Social media is a place for experimentation, but you always need to take care with what you post.

Second Screen is Commonplace

Social media events were everywhere in 2012. From Euro 2012, to the Olympics, to Felix Baumgartner to the Presidential election, every major event came with social media attached. In each of these cases, people were watching and tweeting all at once. We’ve become a race of consumers for whom one level of entertainment is not enough. We need to take in our favorite TV shows and sporting events while discussing them with our online communities. By the end of 2012 almost every TV network had made an attempt to leverage this second screen phenomenon. Hashtags and Facebook URLs have become commonplace, with news outlets actively monitoring social media engagement and even reporting on it. In 2013, second screen will become even more prevalent; it’s something every consumer brand needs to think about.

Social is as Important as/More Important than SEO

SEO has been the centerpiece of online marketing strategies for years. Ever since it became clear that the brands that appeared highest in search received the most online business the tops of SERPs have become prime real estate. But all that began to change in 2012. Early in the year Google changed the rules with their Panda update. The search giant has begun to shift focus more and more towards quality content, which left a lot of SEO practice in serious need of an update. While companies started to work out how to adapt to Google’s algorithm changes, another trend became apparent. Study after study this year has identified the rise in social over search as users first contact with content. We spend so much time on social these days, and encounter so much recommended content, that we don’t need to do as much searching. It’s becoming possible to be successful through social without huge investment in SEO. It’s becoming clear that quality content and social media engagement can be just as effective.

LinkedIn is Vital for B2B

LinkedIn has been around for a while. Your LinkedIn profile used to be the one you set up and then forgot about. You used it as an online CV, but that was it. But it took a bit of a surge in popularity in 2012 and became the ideal location for B2B social media engagement. With the increased importance of social media, B2B brands needed an outlet. If you sell enterprise solutions, you won’t generate many sales posting pictures of cats on Facebook. LinkedIn offered the ideal opportunity for businesses to engage with potential clients. As we move into 2013 effective use of LinkedIn groups, clever content sharing and active network building will become even more vital.

Mobile is the Future

It’s become a cliché to say that mobile is everywhere, but it’s true. Mobile is literally everywhere; you can’t get away from it. In 2012 mobile Internet usage rose to over 10% of all online activity. That figure continues to increase too. As smartphones, tablets and phablets become more common, more and more people will use them as their main online access. This year demonstrated that mobile is a growing channel and an evolving one too. Developers are just starting to identify the possibilities created by mobile features like NFC, GPS and augmented reality. Alongside those advances, Social media apps will become the main access point for a huge amount of online content. There is no doubt that mobile social media engagement is the future, so we need to be prepared.

Social media is an ever-evolving environment. As marketers our biggest challenge is to take what we’ve learned and use it to grow with the industry. Please let us know what learning you took from social media in 2012. Part 1 of this post can be found here.

Have you taken the time to really get to know social media? There is so much more to it than just creating a profile, adding some photos, and updating your page every so often. Discover the benefits of social media, connect with your customers, engage with prospects, promote your products and services and market your brand. Click here to download our guide on getting to know social media.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here