Social is a feeling that comes from within. That feeling creates a connection. That connection can be targeted and optimized to a sale. But it starts with a feeling that "this is worth it!"
You have probably already read some of the many articles that have been posted in the past month predicting what 2012 would be about. Some were interesting, some not so much, and most were just written to get more page views.
One of the big problems that we see today is that people don't dig into the real trends. They are just reacting instead of asking why. It sounds a bit like:
Oh, people are talking about red things. 2012 will be all red.
Then the next day.
Oh, people also like blue. You should definitely make something in blue too.
It's just not that useful. So instead of predicting what 2012 will be about, let us focus on some of the things that will give you the edge.
If you have been reading the many social media studies made in 2011 about why people follow brands, you would notice they all came to the same conclusion:
There are minor variations but this is the overall gist of things. So, my question to you is:
"What should your social strategy focus be in 2012?"
If you're a social media "expert", you would say to focus on giving people discounts and free giveaways because that is what the numbers are telling you. But if you do that you are just reacting without knowing why you are doing what you are doing.
You need to ask why people are saying this? What is causing them to decide to follow you for such a shallow thing as a free giveaway? Is that really what's going on here, or is there a larger trend behind it?
Obviously, since people decide to follow you, and thus have your posts fill their news streams, they must have some kind of positive feeling towards your brand. It might be that only 25% say they like your brand as a whole, but the remaining 75% have to like "something" in order to have made that decision.
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