Becky Livingston is the President and Founder of Royal Apple Marketing, a company specializing in social and digital marketing for small business owners, non-profit leaders, and CPAs. Becky has more than twenty years of experience in marketing and communications, as well as a strong background in technology.
What is your prediction about social media in 2012?
- I think geo-gaming and locations-based marketing is going to continue to evolve in America to match that of what's happening currently in the ASPAC and EMA regions.
- Facebook will continue to grow, while continuing to have security issues. As it looks to take on China, it will be faced with some new challenges that could impact Facebook the way we know it today. Also, Timeline will begin to take off in early 2012.
- Company brands will continue to personalize with and for customers. What I mean is they will offer the customer an even more immersive and personalized experience from whatever platform they choose to enter from. Along those same lines, you will continue to see more infiltration of social into the smaller brands.
- Along that same line, businesses will need to reshape the business and infrastructure to accommodate for this huge media shift. They should also be thinking about their business objectives and if social media doesn't play a big role there, they could lose out big in 2012.
- Social ROI will no longer be in question. If you cannot demonstrate it, then you're doing something wrong. There are many ways to demonstrate Social ROI and ensuring that it makes it into your daily/weekly/monthly reporting will be key in 2012.
- Segmentation vs Social Organization will also be huge in 2012. We can no longer rely on how people are entering our social networks, and where they are coming from; we need to focus on what we do with that data and think more along the lines of what Facebook is doing with all their data. Consider how you, as a business owner, can leverage the tremendous amount of data you've been collecting into your lead generation, sales, marketing, and so much more. This will be crucial in 2012.
Are there any new social media sites that will impact us in 2012?
- G+ will have a much greater impact in 2012 as business see the power of the platform.
- Klout, or something like it, will have a big impact on consumer buying power. Think of the movie "Keeping up with the Jones'." This may become a reality if it hasn't already.
- Storenvy will be popular for folks looking to set up quick store fronts to sell products. It goes beyond what you can do in Facebook, or Wordpress or other more mainstream sites. It's very kitch and popularity is growing. It offers a link to Facebook, so the marketing power is pretty cool.
- FourSquare surpassed GoWalla this year in the mainstream. It will continue to grow in 2012 as more businesses recognize the power of scavenger hunts, on-site marketing at conferences, etc. With minimal effort and low cost, you can create a great FourSquare icon (the AICPA considered this for the EDGE conference) and continue to build brand awareness.
- My Yearbook might become popular among students to provide a new resource other than Facebook to communicate. When I recently spoke with some high schoolers in North Carolina, texting was their major form of communication, and few were using Facebook due to the presence of parents and grandparents. So, this might be a strong contender for this generation of people.
Do you think any social media sites will disappear in 2012?
Yes, I believe there will be a bit of house cleaning in 2012 when it comes to social media. There is an influx now, and so much chatter that some are bound to be bought and sold throughout the year.
What are the top three social media activities that CPAs should be doing in 2012?
- If they are not using social media, they need to begin looking at that. And seriously consider working it into the 2012 marketing and business plans.
- Consider the social-cloud-mobile trifecta. There is a tremendous amount of power behind that combination. If you're not working in the cloud, why not? Connecting those three areas will bring a great deal more inbound marketing, lead generation, and flexibility to your business model.
- Consider a mobile app for your clients. It doesn't need to be complex, just something they can use to make their lives easier. Maybe it's weekly tax tips reminders, or if they are a DCAA accountant, tips on how to stay in compliance and avoid or minimize the strain of a DCAA audit. You know, things like that. If you don't want to build an app, consider SMS (text messaging) opportunities with your clients to help keep them up to speed with new regulation in their industry, tips, tools, techniques they can use to stay ahead of the curve.