Number 9 in our series of Top Social Media Marketing Questions for 2011 as determined by Social Media Examiner: “What are the trends in social media marketing?”
This question comes up a lot. I’ve heard other social media specialists give answers such as: mobile, location-based services, video, etc., but I want to take a different approach to answering this. As I see it, the key trend is a societal shift. Social media fundamentally alters the way in which people communicate. This goes both for their personal interactions as well as for their interactions with companies, organizations, causes and other such entities. This shift is riding on a variety of social media tools currently available, but specific tools will come and go.
Privacy vs. Transparency
Social media is surfacing the question of privacy vs. transparency, both for individuals and for companies. Social media has opened the flood gates of people’s personal lives to the masses. This has had two effects: 1) people are now more comfortable with having an audience to their most trivial tasks, 2) people are beginning to realize the impact and demand more privacy protection. The trend? People becoming willing to share more and more personal information, but demanding more and more control over who they are sharing that information with.
Another major trend is that more and more businesses will become responsive to their customers on social media channels. People now have incredible power to be heard and to spread positive or negative messages about a brand. This trend has already been underway for a few years, but it will continue to grow. Brands can no longer turn a blind eye to their customers’ complaints.
One final trend that is becoming more and more obvious is the integration of tools and platforms. Right now there are thousands of social media sites and social media tools for people to choose from. However, we are seeing that many of the tools and sites are quickly getting bought up and integrating their capabilities. Twitter is buying up analytics tools, tracking tools and posting tools. Google is integrating and rebranding all of its tools and combining functionality and SEO into one universal login for its users. Facebook, Microsoft and Skype are partnering to offer Facebook video chat… do you see the trend? It used to be that Facebook, Twitter and Google each had very unique offerings from one another. Now, they are all competing by becoming more and more similar to one another.