Social Media is like the new West. 3 or 4 years ago we were barely calling it “new media”. Last year, I couldn’t use the word “social media” or people would look at me like I was talking French. It was a new frontier, but today, everyone has arrived. Now there are way too many people here. We need to aggregate or suffocate. Here are 5 clear trends I see developing in social media:
The Return of the King: ROI
Growth in usage is just not enough to let budgets increase without a return. Every one of our clients asks one single, but not so simple, thing. Track, measure, improve. Buzz is good, traffic is good. Conversion lies in the conversation (with the client). Brands can understand that social media is the rising star of their investment center. A rising star (social media that is) needs to become a cash cow though time or it will be come a dog.
Billboards have new highways:
Recently, Techcrunch blasted the practices of application developers on Facebook and how people are victims of a new form of infomercials, or even starting to use their own influence to advertise. Let’s go back to square one –move some eye balls and convert them into $. If you were not aware, you can advertise on Twitter. There are many services like it and if you sign up for those services, you can get paid. Joel Comm who wrote Twitter Power was just last week making clear that he is okay with it here, here and here.
All in all, billboards have new highways. Get used to it and be(a)ware.
Communities are the new News-Outlets:
Like my physics teacher in high-school said, “nothing is lost, everything transforms”. We’re losing news outlets by the 100s but we’re also creating fan pages, online niche networks and now Twitter lists at a never recorded speed. These are the new influencers; these are the new trusted-agents. Communities, organized or informal, will dictate trends like old media used to. The Fort Hood disaster today is proving that New-Outlets can be recreated instantly. If your company doesn’t have or belong to a community, your influence is vanishing.
Quality and creativity have never been so important:
Forrester / Josh Bernoff have just released their ‘Groundswell Awards‘ – whether it is Nascar, YarnCraft, Norton or the others, I am fascinated by one thing: each of these creative programs is leveraging the power of the Common Unit of Experience (CUE) as I call it, of those ready to activate communities. Quality of intent and creativity of a social media program can only work if the CUE exists.
Personal branding and corporate brands have to work together:
Jeremiah Owyang last week blogged about social media accounts (e.g. Twitter account) and ownership quoting the Cisco CTO twitter account. It is her account, if she leaves, that digital footprint goes with her. This is a magnified case of Jeremiah’s own case when he recently left Forrester for the Altimeter Group with his own digital footprint. When working on social media project, we advocate the brand’s constituency should be a center of the engagement strategy. A brand has to look at its employees and partners as much as it looks at its customers. Grow them and they’ll grow you.