As social media matures, apps proliferate and new enterprise platforms appear everyday, it’s almost impossible to track with all the changes let alone integrate them into your company. With that in mind I felt it might be useful to distill and isolate ten trends that are reshaping the social business marketplace as we speak.
2. Consumers now expect real time, personalized and seamless engagement.
3. The amount of information consumers can access is increasing exponentially (as a function of auto-publishing).
4. All this information and all our relationships will be available everywhere (as a function of tablets, smart phones, and the cloud).4. Competition for consumer attention is increasing exponentially diminishing the impact of traditional advertising.
5. All this information and all our relationships will be available everywhere (as a function of tablets, smartphones, and the cloud).
6. Leader brands are being distinguished by the quality of their social listening and response to consumer needs and demands.
7. Social technology is changing at an increasing pace and being adopted and adapted by consumers before brands.
8. Consumer activism is rising.
9. Co-creative brand/consumer marketing campaigns are becoming the new standard.
10. Social technology is becoming increasing fractured, crowded, and niche every day.
In the face of such blistering speed and complexity of engagement, the wisest thing a brand can do is to serve as its own compass. It does this by defining what it stands for, and its core values, and then bringing those to life in a consistent and creative way across new technologies and platforms. To do otherwise is to chase the tireless tail of technological innovation only to broadcast your schizophrenia and confuse your customers.
Brands must know themselves before they can expect others can talk about them and so as counter-intuitive as it seems, the most valuable investment of time you can make as a brand is looking inward towards self-definition, rather than chasing the latests social technology.
Do you think the pace of social technology is helping or hurting brands trying to define themselves?
Yesterday it was announced that Karma, Facebook’s new gift app, will be instrumental in its e-commerce success. No doubt social data is an incredibly powerful e-commerce tool yet there are many reasons both for and against for arguing that Facebook will become the dominant e-commerce force.
First off, here are 5 reasons that Facebook will dominate e-commerce.
1. Captive Audience: Facebook already owns the lion’s share of social media eyeballs and as platforms proliferate, more and more users will buy through the social network they know.
2. Social Search: As consumers become increasingly overwhelmed by amount of information and advertising available to them, they are turning to their peers (as opposed to Google Search) for purchasing recommendations, choices, and sharing.
3. Seamlessness: The ability to find, buy, share and be rewarded for what you buy is being baked ever deeper into the Facebook platform reducing the need to ever leave.
4. Real + Virtual: Facebook’s ability to sell both virtual goods and physical products using virtual and real world currencies creates a stranglehold on the growing merger of the on and offline world.
5. Targeting: While advertisers clamor for great and more dynamic advertising real estate within the platform, Facebook remains true to the wishes of its users by designing the size of the ads and leveraging data driven targeting.
Yet, with all this great opportunity, Facebook faces 5 equally compelling challenges:
1. Saturation: With almost every imaginable intersection between a person and product now covered within a single platform, users may tire of Facebook once advertising overwhelms the experience.
3. Competition: Rest assured there are dozens of platforms designed purely for mobile consumers that are currently in stealth mode and primed to be the next Facebook.
4. Pollution: Shopping is an important but small part of the relatedness between people and the more that Facebook co-opts that relatedness for commerce, the greater the risk that the connective tissue it rely on will atrophy.
5. Shareholders: It is one thing to reinvent the way commerce is practiced and another to balance the competing demands of users and shareholders.
Stacked side by side, it’s easy to see why the jury is out on the future of Facebook especially in a mobile-centric marketplace. But their dominance and iterative business strategy bode well for continued success, as long as they never lose site of the fact that they must serve their users first.
Do you think Facebook will become the dominant e-commerce force? Or will too much advertising be its undoing?
When you look at this rather frightening infographic of social media landscape from Buddy Media/Luma, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. And it’s true that each day presents new opportunities and complexities for social media engagement and management. Yet this infographic also provides a rare chance to see the largers social media landscape and examine where your business or brand fits in.
Here are several key questions to ask:
1. Which of the categories, strategies or tools listed above are you not using and why?
2. What platforms, tools or apps could you use to unlock new customers or engagement around your product and services?
3. Is your business and its strategies well-suited to benefit from the broader landscape of social media?
4. What platforms or tools could you use to lighten your load or establish systems to help you manage real-time engagement with your community?
5. How engaged are you with the latest in social media or are you falling behind the technology and your customers?
It’s true that social technology is a hard and tireless master but each new platform or tool unlocks new business opportunities for those that apply them to your business. So take a seat, take a tour, and take a few minutes to identify technologies, platforms or tools that might be just what your business needs.
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Simon Mainwaring is founder of We First, a social branding consulting firm that helps companies, non-profits and individuals use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact.