Social Media, Mobile, and Content Marketing: 4 Trends That Rocked 2012

  |  December 10, 2012   |  Comments

Get your 2013 plans on track to succeed with these dominant trends and related actionable marketing tactics.

2012-marketing-highlights2012 was a year of inflection points on social media, mobile, and content marketing. For marketers, this translates to understanding the implications of these changes and what they mean for your 2013 marketing.

Here are four dominant social media, content marketing, and mobile trends with related actionable marketing tactics to get your 2013 plans on track to succeed.

1. Social media's big boys: Pinterest and Google+ became players. Recent research from Nielsen reveals the entrance of Pinterest, the social media darling and meteoric star of 2012, and Google+, last year's social media entrant, into the top social media entities. (Disclaimer: I combined this data from a variety of Nielsen sources. Only the order is shown since specific data points aren't apples-to-apples comparisons.)

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube (Note: Nielsen doesn't consider YouTube a social media entity.)
  3. Blogging (Note: This is based on Blogger and WordPress. It doesn't include blogs that are media sites such as Huffington Post nor does it include blogs that are self-hosted such as HeidiCohen.com, which is a WordPress blog.)
  4. Twitter
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Pinterest
  7. Google+
  8. Tumblr

Marketing implications for 2013:

  • Social media needs a more diverse, multi-platform approach as platforms mature. Despite its high-profile IPO, Facebook traffic was down this year according to Nielsen. The bottom line is that your social media marketing strategy requires more than a Facebook page.
  • Social media requires corporate engagement. Businesses need to be present and engaged on social media beyond building their social media outposts and providing relevant content. To be effective, this means getting your C-suite executives onto social media since it builds trust. Currently, 70 percent of Fortune 500 executives aren't present on social media.
  • Social media ROI is still elusive. While Dan Zarrella of HubSpot started a firestorm with his "How to Calculate the Value of a Like," the reality is that many businesses are challenged to track hard values for social media investments. While promotion is a no-no on social media, most businesses would get further through the consistent use of contextually relevant social media calls-to-action.

2. The rise of content marketing. Content marketing grew exponentially in 2012 due to the fact that it fuels social media, answers customers' questions, and helps search optimization. Based on research by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, over 85 percent of both B2B and B2C marketers use content marketing. More importantly, unlike advertising, consumers trust this non-promotional information. In the process, consumer consumption of content has reached 11.5 hours a day in the U.S.

Marketing implications for 2013:

  • Understand how content is consumed now. We developed four new ways to handle information overload.

  • Format your content to facilitate use. Incorporate your 360-degree brand into your content in terms of colors, fonts, images, videos, audio, and voice. Even more important, make it easy for readers to digest your content quickly with the use of bolding and bulleting. If it looks like an endless block of text, most people will move onto the next article.
  • Include images to attract visitors and improve results. Photographs are glue; they attract attention and are easy.


3. Smartphones outpace PCs. Marketers have to be present across devices. While PCs continue to be an integral part of work activities, smartphones and tablets are an integral part of how we now consume information and communicate including text, email, and voice. BTW, this isn't just a consumer trend!


Marketing implications for 2013:

  • Must have an integrated mobile marketing strategy that provides for tablet use as well. Think in terms of both a mobile website and mobile app since use is relatively evenly divided.

4. Commerce mobilizes. The confluence of increased mobile device ownership and expanded content translates to consumers finding new, more efficient ways to shop. Merchants, both online and offline, ignore these trends at their own peril. Customers seek more information during the entire buying process before, during, and after purchase. If you're not present, your competitors will be. Also, don't underestimate the impact of new methods of mobile payment to support these changes.

Marketing implications for 2013:

  • Mobile commerce. Consumers use their smartphones to find your retail establishment as well as to enhance their in-store experience. It's critical to ensure they can find the information they seek or they'll buy from your competitor without leaving your store!
  • Couch commerce. Tablets are the snuggle-up-and-shop option that consumers use to get inspired to buy and learn how to style. Understand that this doesn't just happen on your website. Think Pinterest and Tumblr.
  • Social commerce. Beyond social media sites, new options continually emerge that blend marketing and shopping. While the trend isn't new, it continues to evolve and at a minimum pushes the big boys of social media to rethink how they support the buying process.

As we approach 2013, it's important to reassess your 2013 plans to ensure that you're positioned to compete effectively. This may mean tweaking your budget to put your efforts where your prospects and customers are spending their time.

What else would you add to this list and what's your rationale?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.

Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.

Her blog, HeidiCohen.com, was nominated as a finalist for Top Social Media Blog of 2012 by Social Media Examiner.

Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.

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