By adaptive - December 17th, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, how has corporate social media developed over the last year?

For corporate marketers 2014 was the year where social media took on an altogether more tactile face. Until this year social media had been somewhat of an unquantifiable space that corporations knew was important, but remained somewhat sceptical about its real value to their businesses. In 2014 this view has radically changed, as social media networks have become clear commercial spaces that will only expand and mature over the next few years.

Social commerce

Visual content continued its meteoric rise to dominance. The art of visual shopping increased and expanded over 2014. The king here was Pinterest that clearly showed that visual commerce is a force that no corporation can ignore. 
Research from Curalate concluded that 95% of Pinterest users have made a purchase. Curalate said: “Earned campaigns represented 82% of interactions. Owned campaigns only represented 18%, so it’s clear Pinterest is a fair market in which to earn your audience. More brands were using pin buttons on product pages (72%) as opposed to on their home pages (56%).”
Pinterest Purchases
Video of course continued to expand across social media networks. Unruly found that ‘super-sharers’ account for 82% of all video shares. Olly Smith, EMEA MD at Unruly, said: “Using the right mix of emotional and social triggers, social video campaigns can cross geographical and linguistic borders and be used to kick-start global conversations. However, local activation is the key to success and this is where data-driven insight, revealing the subtle differences in sharing habits by market and by demographic, can propel campaigns to global success and protect brands from making a cultural faux pas.”
And recent news that Instagram has reached 300 million users compounds the trend for visual content to be at the heart of all corporate social media marketing. As the company stated: “We’re proud to announce that there are now more than 300 million Instagrammers. Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day.” 
With its purchase by Facebook in 2012, there was a risk that the platform would lose its independence, but it seems that it is going from strength-to-strength, as social media users continue their love affair with visual media.

12 months with Facebook

Facebook the behemoth of social media continued its expansion but the company also paid attention to how its users were leveraging – or not – the channel to support their businesses. 
With ‘like baiting’ expanding, Facebook made changes to its systems to combat this in order to deliver on its promise to provide quality content that was actually wanted by users. And with the arrival of the trending feature, it also wanted to become the place for current news that is often at the heart of how social media content is shared.
The stand out purchase this year was clearly the $2 billion that Facebook paid for Oculus Rift – the virtual reality company that has yet to release what it claims is its game changing headset that will transport users into a completely emmersive environment. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said: “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever.” The purchase of Oculus however, is insignificant when the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp is considered.
For corporate social media marketers, Facebook’s moves to offer more analytics was a major step forward with the arrival of the company’s research hub that offered insights into the masses of data that the company collects every second of the day.
Facebook has continued to cement its dominance of the social space from a brand’s perspective. As with previous years the naysayers have been vocal in their criticism of Facebook and research has indicated that the profile of users may be changing with younger consumers switching to new social platforms that supports their desire to adopt the latest technologies and be part of current trends. For corporations though, Facebook continues be the cornerstone of their social media marketing.


Social connections

Twitter continued to the social media network of choice for many with more than 500 million tweets being sent each day during 2014. Twitter has also become somewhat of a double-edged sword when it comes to corporations that have used it successfully to connect with their consumers, but who have also used the network to voice their criticisms when things go wrong. If you would like to relive the last year as Twitter saw it, head over to the All Moments site.
Corporations have also this year put much more effort into content marketing and have cut back their use of overt marketing messages. This is a reaction to the fact that social media users continue to use the social media networks as sources of information and not simply to receive marketing communications. Ads have their place, but well-crafted content can bring legions of potential customers to a brand that no amount of ad spend can buy.
The ‘social business’ continued to develop across 2014, as corporations realised that social is a multifaceted animal that their organisations cannot silo in their marketing or PR departments. A more holistic approach is now being taken, with social businesses bringing their customer services and even IT teams into the social mix, as these departments have a clear and tangible contribution to make to the social health of all businesses.
Corporate marketers across 2014 sustained their development of social media especially across mobile channels. Indeed, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92% of marketers state that the social media campaigns they have mounted this year raised the overall exposure of their business, its products and services across a wider customer base.

social media examiner marketing trends infographic

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