You know that social media marketing is here to stay BIG time, right? \u00a0Are you still kind of fighting how essential it has become? \u00a0Do you believe it will do nothing but grow in importance for business success? Consider These Trends According to recent survey findings from SocialMediaToday, in cooperation with SAP and the Pivot Conference, 71% of businesses claim to use social media for customer service, and 87.5% of those have realized a positive impact from doing so. Millennials (aged 18-24) were the most likely age group to say that emotional connections with brands matter\u00a0to them. While Generation C represents 23% of the US population (US Census data), it represented an out-sized portion of online video consumption (27%), social networking and blog sites visits (27%), tablet ownership (33%) and smartphone use (39%), as of February 2012. We engage, convene, share, connect, market, help, research, buy, sell, rant, rave and riff online. It's the other world, the parallel universe we live in when we are not in person and face to face with people. What Does Your Social Brand Say About You? How do you present who you are, what you do, whom you serve and why anyone should care on the web? This is your calling card and\u00a0visual home that people will use to determine why connecting with you is viable and has value. Is your web presence active and relevant? Do you engage regularly on the social platforms where your customers, community and colleagues are congregating? The Illusion of Success It's very easy to create an illusion of success and credibility online. People usually believe what they see if they don't know you. The slick images, buzz words, promises of lot's of followers, leads, sales and quick success are usually phony carrots people dangle online. Be careful, get referrals\u00a0and get to know good people who are trusted in their circles and platforms. Most importantly, be exactly who you say you are. Online Image Your online image will usually get you one chance to make a great first impression. Are your sites and media platforms current, clean, easy to navigate and do all the links work? When someone pulls you up on LinkedIn or goes directly to your sites, are they seeing what you want them to know and see about you now? Online Messaging Check all your online copy and marketing messaging and make sure it is timely. Frequently update your pictures, services, testimonials, awards and activities, which show and tell people who you are in real time. Show people what are you doing NOW! Serving is the New Selling Trendwatching\u00a0started talking about becoming a "Brand Butler" in 2010: "With pragmatic, convenience-loving consumers enjoying instant access to an ever-growing number of supporting services and tools (both offline and online), brands urgently need to hone their 'butlering skills', focusing on assisting consumers to make the most of their daily lives, versus the old model of selling them a lifestyle if not identity." Visual + Visceral = Your Social Brand How you visually present yourself plus how you viscerally describe your who, what and why\u00a0creates your social brand.\u00a0Your social brand should inspire people to want to make an emotional connection to and with you. People need to like what they see and believe what you and others say. Your social brand helps them do that. Check out\u00a0the\u00a05 drivers, when reviewing or creating your social brand from Trendwatching, which talks about the\u00a0 "Expectation Economy: ". . .where consumers want the best, they want it now and first, and they want real, human connection, too. In fact, they demand all that." Are you using these drivers? And what does your social marketing brand say about you now and what do you need to do to make it stand out?