7 Social Media Trends
As part of the promotion for their new social media package, Social Midas, Guy Kawaski and Mari Smith have been talking about the seven most current social media trends.
What is becoming more apparent is that it isn’t all about social media mavens with thousands of followers, we all have an opportunity to establish a platform – even lonelyboy15.
TREND #1- It’s not all about Big Brands The advent of all these new social media platforms means that authors, creators and artists no longer have to give up some of their profits to producers and managers in order to reach the end user.
The buzz word is disintermediation.
They gave the example of a pet photographer who works with rescue dogs and, struggling to make the business commercial, turned to platforms like Pinterest and Etsy to access the end user direct. Sales of her images rocketed, especially when she donated part of the profit towards more rescue facilities for dogs. A publisher would never have advanced her the money for a book because they would have said that there was no market in photographs of rescue dogs. So she gathered her own audience… and proved them wrong.
Having said that, Mari pointed out that there is a saying in social media circles:
when the marketers move in the members move out
It’s really important that you’re not always pushing products, you need to be a member of the platform first. However, entrpreneurs should remember that if they are constantly putting out good content, they earn the right every once in a while to promote their product – but business should not be the majority feature of social media.
TREND #2 – Brandividuals. Brands have become more personal – they are no longer hiding in their glass house and making it all about them and us.
Examples given were Zappos, who epitomise a personality led brand with great customer service and who have embraced the characteristics of an individual.
Guy Kawasaki told the story of how Richard Branson went on his knees to shine Guy’s shoes to try to persuade him to fly Virgin. It was an act that persuaded Guy to give them a try. Acts of human kindness from big business can result in life-time brand loyalty. That personalisation is important.
This was followed up by Mari’s airline story about a plane delay and her flat iphone battery. She tweeted about needing a charger and someone from the airline found her to deliver the vital item. Similarly, Peter Shankman tweeted @mortons – meet me at Newark with a porterhouse. When Peter got off his 2.5 hour flight and went to find his car, a guy stopped him and gave him a steak. He has been an evangelist for the company ever since and, with Peter being an influencer, that’s a lot of PR dollars.
Of course, the problem with this is that all these people are high profile. Does that type of thing ever really happen for us little people? And do all brands give their employees permission to make such gestures?
Apple was highlighted for their anti-social media policy. They disprove everything we know about social media. Open, transparent, engaging – Apple is none of that and yet their fans are evangelists because they have such great products that it overrides everything else, compounded by the saving grace that is the Apple store.
TREND #3 – Cause Based Consumers. As with the rescue dog facility charity mentioned earlier, there is a growing concern for the environment. Consumers ask questions about business ethics before they buy. Nestle was affected by this severely with an issue over palm oil which was linked to problems with the erosion of the habitat of orangutans, resulting in uproar on their Facebook page.
If you are ethically conscious or support a particular charity, you should mention this in the ‘About’, ‘Bio’ or ‘Info’ sections of your business social media profiles.
Having said that, don’t think that because you are donating to a cause, it will automatically make people buy if you have a poor product.
TREND #4 – Super Social Status Klout scores, badges, gimmicks, Foursquare checkins. For some customers, these are very important. For others, they want to unlink their Klout and Twitter accounts because they don’t want their score forever being tweeted.
Having said that, some companies will check your Klout score when you call for customer service and the speed with which they serve you may be dependent upon your level of influence. To be retweeted by an influencer, can result in the Oprah effect – you can get a lot of traffic. If you use social media for customer service, there could be a whole new tier effect in operation.
On Foursquare, it’s important to reward customers who have visited often enough to have been made Mayor of your establishment – they are promoters of your business.
There are two apps that can help you to assess who are your top fans – Boochaka and Ripples. Use it on your competitors so you can get your business in front of their top supporters.
TREND #5 – Awesome vs Flawsome. Consumers are accepting more and more that it’s ok to be flawed.
68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad and 30% actually suspect censorship or fake reviews if there are no negatives. It has even been seen that shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert better than those who don’t.
An example was given of video which showed a Fedex man throwing a computer monitor over the fence – it went viral. Fedex responded with a blog post which explained that this was positively unacceptable. And they now use the images as a training video about what not to do.
Whilst you should not deliberately screw up, people love rags to riches stories, overcoming adversity.
TREND #6 – Mad for Mobile. Mobile device usage outnumbers PCs 5 to 1 worldwide. Why wouldn’t they? We can do everything on our mobiles. They’re faster, easier, available on the go and always in the hand.
Buying decisions are made in the aisle with smart phone in hand. Consumers ask their friends on Facebook to choose between pictures of two products. However, mention was also made of an Amazon app which will then tell you how much more cheaply you can buy this from them online. Sometimes, if you want to take it home straightaway, you can use that information to negotiate a better deal with the bricks and mortar retailer.
Proximity based marketing means that you can be tracked using GPS and when you’re walking past a product display in an aisle, a message can pop up on your phone encouraging you to buy.
An SMS text marketing example was given of a restaurant who invite people to tweet ahead to make a reservation for that evening.
People are embracing mobile more and more. They are ambassadors for the store with smartphone in hand, potential evangelists who should be treated like royalty. If customers want to take pictures, businesses should encourage them. What’s to lose unless you do not want new customers or you have something to hide. Small businesses need these potential influencers spreading the word about their establishments.
Websites and blogs have to have mobile friendly versions
TREND #7 – Privacy Paranoia. Facebook is in the news a lot currently for pushing the boundaries of privacy with problems over tracking movements after people have logged out. Mobiles are under scrutiny because of suspicions that contact information is being accessed without permission and concerns over geo location tracking to the point that some people consider having two phones – one for text and pms, another for apps and the internet. And then there was the report about employers asking staff for social media passwords.
If you are concerned about privacy, don’t share anything you would not want to see on the front page of The Times at your mother’s breakfast table.
The interest is written in ink, not pencil. It’s much harder to erase things.
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Tags: social media trends