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June 30, 2013

Social Media Day 2013

We're celebrating Mashable's fourth annual Social Media Day today! Mashable launched the event in 2010 as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. To join the conversation, we asked AMP's social media enthusiasts their thoughts.

Why do you consider social media paramount for brands?

The advent of social media has allowed brands to have a real-time dialogue with consumers.  Instead of driving to a website, Facebook and Twitter have enabled brands to push out content as news happens ' and respond to consumer feedback, questions, comments and concerns.  Brands have become more human and social media has provided a platform for them to showcase their personality.

For example, a few years ago during one of the massive New England snowstorms, my cousin ' who owns his own travel agency ' was frantically trying to rebook flights for his client.  Having no luck getting through via phone or the JetBlue website, he took to Twitter and sent a Tweet to JetBlue saying that he needed to talk to someone immediately to rebook his clients.  Within 15 minutes, his phone rang and a JetBlue agent was on the line ready to assist.  After that positive interaction, he then sent word to his entire network about his experience.  And just like that, the social currency for JetBlue grew exponentially.

- Karianne Kraus, VP, Account Management, @karianne115

People don't want to be advertised to anymore. They want brands that are relevant, responsive and provide ongoing value to their lives. Social Media is the vehicle to do just that.

- Erica Melia, SVP, Account Management, @ericamelia

As experiential marketers, we are always looking for ways to engage consumers. Before social media, it was always about offline engagement and interacting with consumers face-to-face. Now with the ability to interact with consumers online via social media, we must consider online engagement when creating experiential marketing campaigns for clients. From an experiential perspective, social media is a way to prolong our engagement with the consumer after our event. It is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have as consumers are expecting to be able to interact with brands via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. A great experiential marketing campaign marries the consumer's offline experience with online or mobile social extensions. Social is therefore paramount in order to continue the conversation with consumers and achieve greater direct and indirect impressions for the brand.

-  Shannon Murphy, Senior Account Executive, @smurphy0613

In addition to communicating with consumers more efficiently, brands that harness the power of social media hold an advantage in their potential to fully saturate consumers with a constant branding experience. Via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, online contests, and microsites, brands can saturate consumers in order to communicate their complete brand identity'social media allows brands to maintain consistency and constant involvement in consumers' lives across a variety of platforms.

- Katherine Klots, Account Management Intern

What are your predictions for social media in the next 3 years?

I think it's difficult to predict what's to come because there are so many next big ideas that are accompanied by 'ah why didn't I think of that'? moments, at least for me. I think visuals will continue to be at the forefront. Additionally, I think users will continue to gain more control in terms of the type of content brands publish and as a result the types of products/offerings.

- Rachel Lawton, Social Media Strategist, @RacheLawton

Just as writing letters and playing board games with friends was commonplace social interaction in previous generations, interacting via Facebook, Twitter, and online gaming systems have become our means of socializing today. In the next three years, I foresee the breadth, reach, and scope of social media to continue to grow and our networks of friends to be less and less limited by geography. In the future, we will befriend individuals from across the globe and bolster these friendships with the help of new social media platforms and innovative technology, without ever physically meeting.

Additionally, we have already started to see Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks transform into platforms for business. For example, Facebook has integrated offers into its newsfeed, allowing other companies to advertise on Facebook and drive conversion for their business. Along these lines, the prevalence of cookies has allowed companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to build comprehensive profiles of our preferences and adjust the products and advertisements that we are exposed to based on this information. Taking both into account, I suspect that Facebook and other major social networks will soon become channels for online shopping, where users can purchase products directly without having to visit a destination site.

And lastly, I predict that the use of mobile technology will continue to grow and ebb the demand for laptops and tabloids. Because we naturally gravitate towards images rather than large bodies of text, it is no wonder that mobile apps such as Instagram and Pinterest have been so successful. Looking forward, emerging social networking sites that utilize an image-based platform and have 100% mobile convertibility will experience the strongest competitive advantage.

 - Gabrielle Heath, Account Management Intern

With word or mouth, referral and friends opinions continuing to be important to shopping behavior, Social commerce will likely continue over the next 3 years and ultimately grow to be well north of 50% of online sales.

- Erica Melia, SVP, Account Management, @ericamelia

Think of an advertising campaign that did not include a social media extension. What is a social extension that would have made that campaign more meaningful, effective and/or buzzworthy?

I still think it's so interesting that Apple doesn't use social media. They're already an extremely successful brand, but I think using social would help a lot when they're introducing a new product, having keynotes, etc.

- Nicole Sorice, Account Executive, @NicoleSorice

It's funny. I can't even think of one'?¦maybe that tells you something.

 - Erica Melia, SVP, Account Management, @ericamelia

How has social media impacted your life over the last 3 years?

Well for starters social media has provided me with a viable career path that spans well beyond just a tweet and a Facebook status update and I think people are starting to respect its role within the marketing mix.

- Rachel Lawton, Social Media Strategist, @RacheLawton

It has basically taken over my life as I use it every day in some aspect or another. It has been my way of staying connected to my friends and family, as well as connecting to brands and current world news. I am able to read the news through Twitter and sometimes even Facebook.

As I'm sure most people would agree, having the time to read an entire article on CNN or Yahoo doesn't often present itself these days, especially when traveling frequently for work. I have found the best way to stay current has been to read through Twitter and receive the short snippets each tweet offers while refraining from being distracted by an entire article. Instagram also allows for a quick update on brands and their contests and giveaways. Social media surrounds us all everyday, and I don't believe it will be changing anytime soon!

- Nicole Merritt, Account Executive

It's made me value in-person relationships more.

- Jason Rivera, Director of Brand Strategy

Fast forwarding three years to today, brands (and individuals) not only have Facebook and Twitter, but usually Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and/or Vine accounts. Instead of finding information on a brand's website, it's second nature to check out their Facebook page. I rarely use the 'contact us'? portion of a website, and instead will tweet the brand. Social media is no longer a last minute addition to a campaign, it is an immediate inclusion, if not the main platform a campaign is built from.

- Brianna Belanger, Senior Account Executive @Belanger87

In terms of my social life, social media helps me keep up with my favorite bands, restaurants, bars and artists. On social channels, I can keep a better pulse of what's going in Boston and find events/happenings to attend.

 - Cara Francis, Account Executive, @cara_francis

How has social media transformed your life? Share with us by leaving a comment in the box below.

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