By Nick Johnson - January 30th, 2013

This week's roundup of social media news from around the web features lessons on user-generated content; six key digital marketing trends for 2013 and new functionality for Facebook and Foursquare

User-generated content: Three examples of how brands use it for better marketing impact

Mashable have just posted a great article looking at how large brands are leveraging user-generated content as part of broader marketing strategy. Highlighting Burberry's 'Art of the Trench' (which has been around for years); Dorito's Super Bowl commercial competion (ditto) and Ray Ban's 'mosaic' billboards, Lauren Drell attempts to pull together the common features of each campaign which have made them work.

Her conclusions? You can see them all here, but the top three are:

  1. Make sure your campaign is emotionally involving - inspire passion in your customers (ideally in a way linked to your product). Lauren highlights Lululemon, a yoga brand, and photos of people doing what lululemon helps them do - work out. Over in the UK, there's a current Ford campaign - the Fiesta Project, which we've highlighted previously as a good way to incite passion and also link the company's product. 

  2. Ensure your product works - and then encourage people to share positive experiences: Rent The Runway is the profile here. Essentially, they allow women to rent expensive designer clothing. By encouraging their consumers to share photos of themselves looking awesome in said clothes, they add credibility to their product, and also functionality (through a newly available 'Find a Woman Like Me' function). Essentially, the company simply encouraged people to post their positive experiences, and then pushed them online for people to see them. Check out Sonos and Kia's marketing campaigns that effectively say "Don't take it from us - read our reviews". If you have an awesome brand or awesome service, ensure you let your customers do your selling for you

  3. Identify influencers and leverage them: PepsiMAX set their fans a series of challenges - like asking for photos of themselves 'in PepsiMAX gear' (bottles?), or writing glowing testimonials for the product, and highlighted the results. Points were awarded, and a winning superfan was found. Not only advocacy marketing, but gamification too - an impressive campaign. Identifying your key influencers is critical - if you don't know who is most likely to shout loudest about your brand - and if you don't ensure they're actually doing the shouting, your job will be a whole lot harder. 

An update on developments at some of the biggest social networks

Over the last week, a few of the big social networks have released new tools and functionality, and they'll impact your role as a social media practitioner:

  1. First, and unofficially, it looks like Facebook is now providing time-specific Facebook ads - Fox's new show 'The Following' popped up on many newsfeeds about an hour before airtime, encouraging people to watch. More here.

  2. Second, and very much officially, Foursquare have launched a 'Foursquare for Business' app. Following from Facebook's own Pages app to enable social managers to manage their network on the move, Foursquare have done the same. Promising to allow you to post photos, view checkins, drive traffic and learn more about customers, it's sure to be of interest to those brands using Foursquare intensively

  3. Twitter has just been announced as the fastest growing social network, according to the Global Web Index. Apparently, 21% of the world's population now have an account on the service, and 59% of them are active on a monthly basis. If you're one of the tiny minority of brands not already involved, these stats might help you secure some budget to get moving..

  4. Is Tumblr the next platform you'll need to use? Hayes Davis certainly thinks so. According to him, it's the network of choice for the 18 - 34 year-old demographic - and big brands like Coca Cola, Adidas and Whole Foods are already involved. Why? To tap into microcommunities, engage with a highly engaged audience, and engender greater virality than Facebook and Twitter offer.

Another opinion on the six key trends you'll face this year

Coming a little late to the party (it's basically February), iMedia have just published their take on the top six trends for digital marketers this year. It features a similar set of issues to those we've highlighted previously, in short:

  1. Marketers will love data even more: New technology, social media and big data mean you get far more tools to identify who your customer is, and what they want. You'll enjoy this. Apparently the growth of data is going to be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009. This is rather an explosion. The savvy marketer will take the energy generated and channel it into their marketing strategy

  2. Marketing will get more personalised and unique: 'Responsive websites' are iMedia's take, but essentially we're talking about ensuring user experience is targetted and relevant to the individual. 

  3. The online and offline worlds will merge: Over the course of 2013, we'll see far more marketing campaigns which link the online and the offline. SoLoMo is a big part of this - and according to our own research, will boom over 2013, moving from something that 25% of corporates use, to something used by 58% of them. It ties into point 2 - you've got to appeal to the customer where they are, and 'join up' your contact with them. If they see a POS display for your brand with one message, and then check out your Facebook page and see something totally different, your campaign will suffer.

Free webinar on how to embed social media throughout your business

As most people working in social media for brands acknowledge, marketing is the primary driver of social media adoption within business. But that's changing. As corporate social media matures, the C-suite is realising that social's power is not simply limited to driving better marketing response. Social helps companies to provide better customer service, get better customer insight, do internal comms better - even design better products.

But evolving your company to take advantage of all these benefits is hard. That's why we've set up a 40 minute webinar giving you the key strategies and tactics you need to get things moving. We've brought together three leading executives who've all been there, and done that. The first is Jennifer Dominiquini, who's the Chief Marketing Officer for Sears, and K-Mart Seasonal Outdoor Living. Second is Kimarie Matthews, VP of Social at Wells Fargo bank, and the third is Jen McClure, who's the senior director of digital and social media at Thomson Reuters. 

If you'd like to find out more about the webinar - or sign up, for free - then head to


Embed social across more than just marketing to ensure transparency, competitiveness and long-term relationships [WEBINAR]

February 2013, Online

Featuring the CMO of Sears; Vice-President of Social at Wells Fargo and Senior Director of Digital at Thomson Reuters

Brochure Programme
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