Social media grows bigger and bigger each day, and as it does so, fans and followers seem to become more demanding with the brands they follow, requesting more interaction, better content, and quicker responses in return for their loyalty. The following are ten social media marketing trends that can help you grow your social media audience.

The Details:

  • Making your brand look more personal. Brands are dropping the formal tone across social media sites and focusing instead on establishing a personal relationship with their fans and followers by trying to become a part of their daily lives.

  • Pushing charismatic employees into the social spotlight. Connections on social sites are personal, even when they are between a brand and a customer, and fans and followers are more likely to react to a likeable company employee’s message than to an anonymous poster bearing the company logo.

  • Focusing on quality rather than quantity. Just because marketers can post as many Facebook updates and as many tweets a day as they like, it doesn’t mean that they should spam their fans and followers—although social sites are all about freshness, quality attracts more likes and shares than quantity, and marketers who wish to be successful online will keep this in mind.

  • Hosting contests that offer popular brand products as rewards. Contests are a great way to attract new fans and followers, consolidate your relation with existing customers, and promote your best products.

  • Creating and scheduling content in advance so that it goes live when your customers are most active. Facebook business pages seem to get most activity between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

  • Interacting with customers on your social media pages, but also on theirs. If you engage with your fans and followers, you establish stronger ties with them and you take up more space in their “social media memory.” They will then be more likely to return to your profile, click Like and Share and Tweet, visit your website, and buy your products or services. 80% of customers prefer to connect with brands on Facebook.

  • Providing customer support directly through your social media profile. More and more customers ask questions about products and services on the seller’s or provider’s social pages hoping to get more exposure and a faster response, and brands that respect their customers answer those questions as fast and as best as they can. Studies have shown that as little as seven negative comments on your social page will make a customer form an unfavorable opinion of your brand. 47% of social media users seek customer service through companies’ social pages.

  • Being transparent, especially when it comes to acknowledging your mistakes. More brands apologized for their mistakes through their social media profiles in 2012 than in any year before, and because of the speed and reach that social media sites have, they keep using it for this purpose.

  • Going mobile. More people log in to social sites through smartphones and tablets than personal computers; therefore, marketers who optimize their profiles for mobile devices, create mobile ads, and offer mobile-only offers, discounts, and contests have only to gain. Facebook has hundreds of millions of active mobile users every month.

  • Giving away insider’s information that your competitors sell. Loading your fans and followers with valuable tips and advice before directly marketing anything to them boosts your reputation and builds trust, and ultimately makes your future marketing campaigns more effective.

The Bottom Line:

Social media is going to keep growing, and as social sites grow, fans and followers will demand more and more social interaction from the brands they follow. Marketers who will be wise enough to give their audience what it wants will get great rewards in return … likes, shares, follows, traffic, and purchases.