Keeping up with the Joness is none too rewarding for companies, especially when it comes to social media adoption.
Most companies look at their peer group to identify what the nearest competitor is up to and then everyone is eventually following suit buoyed by the earliest adopters.
Many of the businesses that jumped in whole hog bright and early earned the most attention from consumers who wanted to engage with smart brands. Companies slower to adopt are finding it more of a challenge to tally likes, RTs, plusses, or followers.
But, all is not lost for the smartest and savviest social media adopters.
In 2012, users on the Interwebz grew 19.2 percent over 2011, according to eMarketer. There were 1.43 billion users on social networks, and we all know that Facebook boasts the first billion.
As adoption levels taper off, users are going to branch out into smaller networks that are more manageable. Inc. magazine shares a story about the pending 2013 backlash in social media adoption and the “emergence of smaller-scale, niche networks.“
Here are ways your company can benefit from the expected 2013 trend:
1. Shore up the big four or five channels and determine which few are the most beneficial relating to the strongest return on investment of money, time, team, and sales.
2. Stay the course with these, and begin to look around for smaller channels that are ripe for brands to engage with.
3. Understand your customers’ behavior and how they use social media. What do you know about consumer behavior patterns?
4. Study up on online behavior; there is a burgeoning field addressing human interactions online. Companies can benefit from this knowledge.
5. Develop programs that reward customers for their loyalty. Imagine a loyalty program on steroids. How many ways can customers be rewarded with simple recognition that ultimately costs the company pennies?
With loyal brand evangelists, companies can reward with a badge for a Facebook page or other profile page. Simple? Loyalty costs only as much as the creativity around implementing the program.
In the Inc. story, several mentions about smaller, niche apps becoming popular showcase where users are heading to get out from the clutter of 1 billion Facebook users:
Also in the story, companies were advised to watch, listen and participate with a non-sales approach. The goal for companies is to jump to the next phase of relationship marketing and reap the benefits of the ever-changing online community.