You may think you’ve heard all there is to say about social media, but brace yourself. If what commentators say comes true, social media will play an even greater role in our lives in the future. That can mean good things if your business is willing to take a forward position on this issue.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, what gives the loose collection of communications platforms the name social media is its social aspect: the notion that people use those tools to congregate, chat, gripe, compare notes, and otherwise socialize. Businesses that choose to participate have a chance to reach those audiences. They must engage the audience, however, not just promote to them. Traditional advertising venues – print, broadcast, direct mail, and such – still have their place. But today’s marketing is increasingly through social media channels.
A quick Internet search for “social media trends” brings up dozens of pages of articles. I chose two at random to read. Bloggers Bradley Mazeko and David Armano offer their lists of projected trends for 2012, and both predict an enhanced presence of social media as a concept. One big factor is that today’s audiences are using social media while engaged in traditional media (mostly television). Marketers should take note, and adapt their social media strategies accordingly.
In his column, “Social media marketing and the youth,” Mazeko points out the staggering drawing power of these platforms. “Every 60 seconds,” he writes, “over 600 000 Facebook statuses are updated, over 98 000 tweets are sent and over 600 videos are uploaded on YouTube.”
To compete in this “noisy background,” Mazeko implores businesses to create relevant content, lest they drive their younger customers away.
Integrating social media for business
Both writers see increased intregration with television programs. Writing in “Six Social Media Trends for 2012,” Armano sees a natural progression from current strategies. “The X Factor” permits voting by Twitter, he says, adding that some networks use Get Glue to allow viewers to check in on their favorite shows and pass along their comments.
Mazeko echos this notion, and notes the popularity of tweeting and commenting via Facebook during a program. The extent to which TV programmers leverage this activity, he writes, “will play an important role in attracting a somewhat active audience for traditional media.”
Another facet both writers project to grow is what they call “gamification,” though each sees unique ramifications. Mazeko envisions manufacturers creating social media games that are fun and engaging and offer physical rewards that customers can collect.
Armano foresees gamification to expand beyond consumer applications into HR, government, and even business management. “Perhaps negotiating your next raise will be tied to your position on the company’s digital leaderboard,” he writes.
I can only scratch the surface of both these columns, so I encourage you to read them. They are quite fascinating, but more importantly, offer valuable suggestions to businesses that want to compete and grow. There’s no ignoring the power of social media. Instead of fighting it, Mazeko and Armano would tell businesses to embrace the movement and run with it.
For another related column, see “Social media is a two-way street.”
If you liked this column, I’d appreciate it if you passed it along. Please feel free to leave a comment. What are your thoughts on the growing phenomenon known as social media?