13 Ways to Improve Social Media Marketing in 2013

In advance of OMI’s Social Media Strategy Summit (all sessions are now available through an OMI subscription), I asked our speakers for the best advice they had for amplifying your social media marketing performance in 2013. Here’s what they said:

1. Develop Visual Content

“2013 is the year when we will truly feel the rise of visual marketing. Visuals and video done right are highly effective in cutting through the noise. It is snackable kind of content that resonates with people across the globe and increases engagement across social nets. Brands will need to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well, whether within their current communities or new networks like Pinterest, Instagram, and others.”

- Ekaterina Walter, Social Media Strategist, Intel, and author of Think Like Zuck

2. Create Success Metrics That Clearly Support a Business Goal

Adam Proehl

“I’m a measurement and analysis guy at heart so one of the best pieces of advice I can give to brands would be to have success metrics that very clearly support a business goal. For example, if building your company’s reputation as a thought leader is a business objective, then one of your success metrics should focus on how much of your content is shared and in what social media circles.”

- Adam Proehl, Managing Partner, NordicClick Interactive

3. Develop an Integrated Communications Strategy

“In one word – integration. Social media has exploded and there are multiple ways to connect and engage with customers. The key is to identify your key channels, focus your efforts on those and have an integrated communication strategy for both your social media and traditional vehicles. For example if you are trying to start a conversation on a particular topic have that topic exist in all your key channels but don’t just copy and paste, you will need to mold the conversation for the medium but like advertising if you want the song to stick, every channel has to play the same tune.”

- LaSandra Brill, Senior Manager of Global Social Media, Cisco

4. Become a Smart Editorial Publisher

“2013 is the year smart brands will become smart editorial publishers. Three reminders: 1. Merge your public relations news into your social media content strategy that includes visual story telling. 2. Write like a reporter. 3. Throw out the cream puff press release writing and generic social media messages.”

- Lisa Buyer, CEO, The Buyer Group

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Become a Geek

“Things are changing fast in our industry. As an online marketer, you’ve been used to overcoming new challenges every year. The kind of challenges that did not exist the year before.

But putting together a successful social media plan is a really different type of challenge. It is different because in order to be successful at banner advertising, email or content marketing, you don’t have to understand the technicalities of the media. Who cares how the banners are distributed or how the emails are sent and tracked, a long as it works!

With social media in general (and Facebook in particular), if you don’t understand how the platform, its features, its API and its insights work, you will  probably miss most of the potential this new media can offer you.

Did you know that you can obtain highly qualified data about your Facebook fans using applications? That you can publish a Flash app directly in the newsfeed and collect leads or display interactive demos of your products for free? And finally, are you familiar with all the possibilities that OpenGraph applications can offer to your website?

If you accept to become a little bit more geek with Social Media and dive into some techy stuff, you will learn a lot and be a lot more creative and successful. Go ahead, it’s also fun.”

- Emeric Ernoult, CEO & Founder, AgoraPulse

6. Extend Social Beyond Facebook

“Facebook is no longer just a destination. Thanks to Open Graph which enables developers to embed social into any desktop or mobile experience, Facebook is now a feature. It’s a minimum requirement for engaging consumers online. As a result, social engagement is shifting dramatically. The user experiences of 2013 will be social (on or off Facebook.com), deeply interactive with game mechanics, and accessible from every connected device imaginable. We call it the all-screens era and it’s coming fast in 2013.”

- Matt Simpson, Marketing Director, Bulbstorm

7. Keep it “Light, Bright and Polite”

“When writing, responding or sharing something on social media, always keep it “Light, Bright and Polite.” Let’s break this down:

Light: Keep it short. On social media, that means work hard to keep your messaging under 100 characters. Most adults are consumed in their lives, thus you have a very narrow window to grab their attention.

Bright: Make sure what you’re posting is something helpful to your readers, and perhaps, so valuable that they will forward it on to their friends (without you having to say, “Share this with your friends” or “Spread the word”). This means it will shine on its own and be shared without asking.

Polite: This means you and/or your brand would be proud of the message if it were to be posted on a billboard the next day for thousands of people to see. Your tweets should outlast the week, month and year. Keep them polite so you’re proud of them if they end up on a billboard for your parents to see or your boss finds your posts in the future.”

- Josh Ochs, Founder, MediaLeaders

8. Develop or Hire a Social Media Marketing Evangelist

“In 2013, smart companies will upgrade their social media teams with an Evangelist role. Unlike a Social Media Marketing Manager role steeped in tactical execution, the role of the Social Media Evangelist is that of that of a strategic planner, manager, trainer and facilitator. Essentially, the Evangelist is Chief Brand Officer/CMO/Editor-in-Chief/HR Director all wrapped into one. Instead of being the single voice for the company, the Evangelist manages the overall voice of the company, as created by employees at all levels. Notice the term “Marketing” is dropped from the job title, since the responsibilities of the Evangelist expand well beyond marketing into R&D, customer service and sales. The Evangelist is responsible for the company’s overall presence in social media, and that the brand is accurately represented across all departments/divisions. Read the background article or full job description for details.”

- Kent Lewis, President, Anvil Media

9. Test Every New Facebook Ad Format

“Ever since its IPO, Facebook has been releasing new ad types and targeting at a torrid pace. And there are no signs of things slowing in 2013. The mounting pressure on Facebook to monetize its vast audience is a win for marketers. Whether you’re looking to build your brand or drive direct response results, there’s a Facebook ad strategy that can deliver results. It may take some time to find the right combination so keep testing and tweaking.”

- Aaron Goldman, CMO, Kenshoo

10. Imagine That You Are Communicating Face-to-Face

“Trigger finger syndrome — the compulsiveness we develop from playing videogames or using other applications that call for clicking on the mouse or fire button — makes people type things online that they’d never say to you in person. So the shortcut guidepoint on how to moderate communities online is to at least mentally transform that conversation from static text on a screen to a discussion. As you read what others have written and write your responses, imagine what they sound like. If you’re able to speak them aloud while typing, so much the better, although if you’re doing this work in a cubicle farm, your neighbors might not appreciate listening to you talk to your screen. Think of what you would say to each posting party if you had the chance to talk face to face.”

-  Jackie Cohen, Director of Social Media and Communications Consulting at ticular

11. Get Authentic Recommendations

“In the social media age, the holy grail for marketing leaders is getting customers to authentically recommend you. Advocacy- not ads- is what drives purchase decisions and perceptions in nearly every product category. Smart businesses and marketers aren’t fighting this customer uprising. They’re harnessing it. They’re systematically finding their Advocates and turning them into powerful marketing forces. The question of brand advocacy should go beyond the CMO; it should be at the top of the CEO’s agenda as well. Advocacy is strategic. Advocates drive profits. Companies with happy customers grow faster than those without. It just makes sense. You have to evangelize evangelism.”

- Rob Fuggetta, CEO & Founder, Zuberance

12. Correlate Social Media Marketing to Revenue and Sales

“If you’ve been using fuzzy metrics to justify social media initiatives, 2013 is the year to add sales and revenue impact to your list of social media KPIs. With a slew of new tools, you can now determine which social media marketing channels drive real, meaningful revenue, and which ones fall flat.”

- George Revutsky, Founder, MyNextCustomer

13. Engage and Interact with Your Audience

“There is tremendous untapped potential for you to develop meaningful relationships with your audience. Don’t just post tweets and status updates. Monitor conversations. Connect with people. Reply to their Tweets. You will be amazed how simply interacting with your audience can help build lasting customer relationships.”

- Megan Leap, Director of Marketing, Online Marketing Institute