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Written by Shari Monnes | Boston
on January 15, 2013

2012 was a banner year for social media…literally. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook added all new banner headlines to user pages, as well as a number of other significant changes. Notably Facebook bought Instagram, bringing the two applications closer, and Linked In and Twitter parted ways. Now you have expanded opportunities for targeting and brand positioning, but must approach each of them separately.

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Instagram and Pintrest both added business applications. Google+ became more integrated into Search results. As a result, the lines between SEO and Social Media continue to become more blurred.

With all of these changes, it’s time to get serious about Social Media. If your company hasn’t already taken the leap into Social Media marketing…now’s the time to get jumping.

Here are six New Year’s Resolutions for marketers in 2013.

1. Be more targeted. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have added more granular targeting options for posts, feeds and advertising. If you haven’t tried sponsored posts on Facebook yet, you’re missing out on an effective and affordable way to grow your audience in a highly targeted way. One huge Facebook change last year was the release of Global Brand pages that let you target all audiences from a single Facebook Page (instead of having different pages for each country), as well as measure results and get metrics from a single dashboard.

Plus, expanded demographic targeting on both Facebook and LinkedIn let you post messages to specific audiences based on age, gender, college, company, etc., thereby increasing the relevance of your posts and the likelihood of a good response. On LinkedIn, your updates get published right to the home page of users who meet your criteria. Facebook , Twitter and other social media networks use response rates (shares and links) to determine which pots should appear in a person’s news feed, so targeting increases your chances.

2. Use more pictures. People love pictures, and it’s one of the most common ways your audience is using social media themselves. Photos (and videos) on sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are the type of content most likely to go viral. Don’t think you need perfectly composed product photography in order to share it. Social media is about the story behind the story. Share images of your workplace, your employees, your daily business. Keep it interesting and relevant and your audience will tune in.

With Facebook’s purchase of Instagram last year, sharing from Instagram to Facebook is now easier, and the two applications are further integrated with photos being more prominent now on Facebook timelines. Pinterest launched “Business Accounts” last year, allowing marketers to promote their content on one of the world’s most high traffic social media networks.

3. Update your cover photos. If you haven’t paid much attention to your Facebook Page, LinkedIn Page or Twitter page in a while…you may have missed the changes that added larger banner photos to the top of each site. Make use of this opportunity to include a brand statement at the forefront of your social media outlets 

4. Be promoted. Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare have all added new ways to target and promote your messages to specific audiences. On LinkedIn, you can now segment updates based on company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography, and even include/exclude individual employees. Your updates get published right to a user’s homepage. On Foursquare, your company’s “promoted updates” appear in people’s “Explore” tab even if they have never been to your store/location. You could promote a special, share photos, or post a message encouraging users to visit your establishment. 

5. Get into Google+. Google+ is now fully integrated into Google search results. So when people search on a topic, the “likes” and shares from Google+ are taken into account when delivering results to them. In addition, if you have a profile on Google+, you can set up Google Authorship, which means that when someone searches for your blog posts, your headshot appears alongside the post you authored. Research shows that more people click on listings with images than without.

6. Use YouTube. Other than photos, the only type of social media content more likely to go viral is videos. But even beyond that, there is real marketing value in having content on YouTube. You don’t need to have the funniest video ever to make YouTube work for you. Changes in YouTube have made it easier for businesses to make their content found. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, getting one is a first step. New features such as video annotation let you upload basic videos (taken from your iphone!) and overlay text that contains keywords and important content for your audiences. In addition, the “interactive transcript” provides an automatic text translation of your content, and ensures viewers see your call to action.

Get started!

 

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