Social media marketing is so full of hype that you’re about to dump it from your repertoire. You’re sure you’ve dumped at least a quarter of this year’s profits down the drain. There’s just no more benefits to be squeezed out of it, right? Not so fast. There are some important changes (improvements) coming that will affect how you market your business. Looking at some current social media marketing trends and who is using it well, you’ll see there are a few reasons not to ditch social media just yet.

Learn From The Greats

Chipotle, Pinkberry, Sunda, and Tao are all examples of companies that know how to do social media the right way. Is it easy? No way. Chipotle’s social media team is really social and interacts with its fan base regularly. It’s nothing more than fingers to the keyboard and hours logged actually reading and responding to customers.

Aside from that, they integrate their “food with integrity” theme into their social media marketing. Have you ever seen the company’s epic commercial, called, “The Scarecrow,” that went viral? If more restaurants did this kind of advertising, ads would actually be entertaining to watch instead of creepy or cheesy and annoying.

Seriously, if you haven’t watched it, check it out. It’s one of a kind – an ad you would actually want to share with your friends and family.

But, maybe you don’t have the kind of budget it takes to create a video like that. That’s fine. Pinkberry is a frozen yogurt chain that has adopted a conversational approach to its Twitter account that you can easily replicate. The company has 42,000 followers and it talks to them every day. It’s used Twitter to deploy a successful loyalty program.

Sunda uses Foursquare to entice customers back to its Asian cuisine, and Tao has nailed the visual element of Facebook. Stunning photos of its food draw people from the virtual world to the restaurant.

Social TV

The new wave in T.V. is a spin on an old-school story format: choose your own adventure. Remember those books? Maybe not (if you do, it seriously dates you). There was a time, in ancient history, when storybooks would allow you to choose how the story unfolded.

You would read up to a certain page, and then it would say “If you want Billy to go into the basement, skip to page 50. If you want Billy to walk into the dining room, go to page 25” or something like that.

You drove the story. It was cool, and the story had multiple different ending depending on the choices you made during the story.

This kind “choose your own adventure” is coming to TV, and it’s called “social TV.” Basically, users will drive television show results. We’re already seeing that in the American version of The Voice, where users could vote on Twitter who to save out of the bottom three in the competition.

How does this apply to your company? Simple – what if you used a site like YouTube to put together an Internet TV series. At the end of each episode, you use clickable annotations to get users to participate (i.e. vote on the video). All of the clicks generated by users can be used to create other videos based on user-demand. You could then use this information to run special promotions for your restaurant or offer discounts for extended stays at your resort.

Social Media Advertising Gets a Facelift

Social media advertising isn’t dead. It’s actually being given a facelift. And, for local marketing companies, like Yodle, it’s going to revolutionize the local marketing niche. Social is trending towards more local marketing, and it makes sense. When you’re on Facebook, and chatting with your friends, they may be scattered all over the place. But, the products and services you’re likely to buy will be local.

What’s the most difficult thing for local restaurants to do online? Answer: advertise locally. That’s where companies like Yodle come into play. It’s a company that basically designs your marketing from the ground up – even taking the reigns on website design.

This kind of comprehensive approach to marketing is going to be essential in 2014 as Facebook starts using more and more in-feed ads, Twitter ramps up its promoted tweets, and Google+ and Pinterest hop on the advertising bandwagon.

SoLoMo

Social Location Mobile, or SoLoMo, is not going anywhere. There will be 1.4 billion smartphones in the world by the end of this year. That means one out of every nine people will own a smartphone. We, as a society, are extremely attached to our phones. Not only does this affect social habits, it affects buying ones.

It’s already known that most individuals who use a smartphone use it to access the Internet, and they buy from their mobile device. Many hotels and restaurants are already offering discounts for things like customer check-ins. That’s an opportunity for you – especially if you’re already plugged into the social sphere.

This article was contributed by Nathan Salmons. With a keen eye for innovation and modern trends, he especially enjoys sharing his insights into online marketing strategies and how today’s businesses can use them.

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