Lightspan’s Social Media Year in Review and Wishes for 2014

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Those who are close to me know I love to talk and tell stories. This year, I had lots of thoughts and feelings about the social media year past and the year to come. Most of them made it in my year-letter to our clients.

Here is a copy:

Dear friend,

As 2013 comes to a close I wanted to extend a gigantic thanks to you. My heart is filled with gratitude for the work we’ve done together and for the opportunities ahead of us.

2013 was a tough digital marketing year. The volume of “rules” changes was the perfect roller coaster ride. We stayed strong. We tested, we learned and we conquered. Here’s my take on this year, and a few quick heartfelt notes to bid a “great” digital new year to 2014.

Google changed search algorithms, and luckily for us, our focus on genuine and valuable content won big and gives us a strong start for 2014. With the change Google also re-set the rules of web dominance. The publishers of valuable content will rise to the top. Content became the rule, no longer just a wish-list item. In 2014 you will have to produce and publish original content to win the SEO race.

Facebook made changes monthly – introduced a new wall, new ads features and a new post display algorithm. 2013 was the year where Facebook moved away from being a network for friends, and became a news distribution and ads network. And it’s just the beginning. In 2014 you will have to have an ads budget to win on Facebook.

Twitter went into the visual game, trying to compete, unsuccessfully with Instagram. Twitter still offers the best targeting capabilities, so thanks to our methodology we didn’t get sidetracked by the noise. The network still dominates as the best outreach channel  – the place to find the right customers.

Google+ offered a tough game -it requires a combination of personal and business accounts, and personalized content touches similar to what Twitter requires. To be effective on Google+ it takes time.  Google made Google+ part of the SEO rules so once again, publishing and engaging with other users through the network is not a nice-to-have any longer. It’s a must-do. So plan to increase your time or other investments to tackle this beast of a platform in 2014.

Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc etc. We spent obnoxious amounts of time this year testing these networks. They’re lovely. I can’t imagine wasting time in a more beautiful way. The data doesn’t show the value of these networks, even for highly visual products such as jewelry. We will continue testing and we hope 2014 will prove me wrong.

LinkedIn was the big positive surprise of the year. If you’re not personally involved on LinkedIn don’t wait another minute. The volume of traffic we “squeezed” out of LinkedIn has doubled across B2B industries in 2013. LinkedIn made it clear this year that it’s no longer just a resume and recruiting space. It’s a mature space for business networking. So get your LinkedIn on!

Last, but not least, the MOST important social network, your website. The joke at Lightspan is that I should get vanity plates that say FIX UR SITE. Ah, the opportunities that were wasted this year because of websites that were not built to convert. The biggest gift you can give your businesses in 2014 will be the discipline to take a step back, and look critically at your website and make a decision to help your customers get what they came to your website for, with the least frustration possible.

We dominated this year. We’ve been growing and had the honor of working with over 40 clients. Some of our clients are with us for the long-term, others came to us for training. Budgets small or big we put our heart into it and applied smart and original methods to build traffic to your websites. We continued with our strong analytical focus and have collected more outstanding data and case studies than we have time to publish. We made mistakes too, and have and continue to take full responsibility for our failures. They humbled us and made us smarter. We dusted ourselves off and carried on with the same determination and the touch of sassiness that defines the Lightbugs.

In parallel I had the opportunity to speak at over 40 events. We got over 20 press mentions and I made my radio and TV debut on WBEZ Afternoon Shift and WICU the U. I nailed an expert contributor role with Entrepreneur Magazine, and wrote more articles than I can count, for varied publications. And, we had our first baby Lightbug born to our VP of Operations Candice Powers.

The day James Powers was born I cried a little. I felt the responsibility and love like never before. It was like graduation day. We’re a fully-grown business now.

We enter 2014 tall and strong. Our strength is your strength. I hope you will continue to work and laugh with us.

And talking about laughs, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with animal memes this year, and I can confidently say they work at making content more interesting. So when all else fails, put a smiley on it… or a cat meme.  So I leave you with my gratitude and the cat video that spiced up many of my social media presentations this year.

May you have a warm, peaceful and love-abundant year-end and a fulfilling 2014.

Kelly Clarkson – My Grown Up Christmas List

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Since founding Lightspan, Mana has quickly established herself as one of Chicago's leading voices in social media and digital marketing. A decisive problem-solver fluent in five languages, Mana believes in clear objectives, simple solutions and the power of purpose in marketing. Credos: "No excuses" and "Find a way!"
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  • Thanks for sharing the article, really interesting piece