Monday, January 21, 2013

What's Next in Social Media?

A few years ago when social media was still relatively new (I’m talking about a time when My Space was still the first social media name that came to people’s mind - haha), I was talking to someone in the advertising world asking about what this new social trend was going to do to advertising. I had a gut feeling, even back then, that this social thing was going to get big - fast. The person told me that social media was dangerous to business because a business could not control the content or even the context in which the content was viewed and that the company loses control over its brand image in social. It was for that reason he advised my company to avoid it. 

What a change, hu? Today, social media is marketing/advertising 101 – but no one can deny it is a challenge to maintain the brand image and engage the customer.

In December 2012, Nielsen put out fabulous a report called The State of the Media: Social Media Report. Here are some interesting stats from the report. These stats compare 2011 to 2012:

  • Mobile usage is up and PC usage is down:
    • Mobile Web access increased by 82%
    • Mobile App access increased by 85%
    • PC access decreased by 4%

  • Facebook still dominates as the most accessed social media site regardless of means of access (PC vs. mobile); however, others are catching up

  • 41% of people connect while watching TV and 33% of people Tweet about the TV programs they watch

  • 47% of people use social media to comment, complain, inquire about products or brands and 1 in 3 people prefer this means of business contact over the telephone

  • While 33% of people HATE social media advertising, 26% of people are willing to pay attention to ads posted by friends

  • The funniest stat is by far WHERE people connect: 32% log in to their fav social network in the bathroom. We are a multitasking civilization!

So beside the fact that people love to access social media while on the toilet, what does this mean?
  •      Mobile is very important
  •     Pay attention to Twitter and Pinterest
  •    Word of mouth is bigger than ever!

I don’t think that any of this is too much of a surprise but I want to share one more interesting thing – a conversation I had recently with a few teenagers. I don’t recall how the conversation started, but I asked something about Facebook. The reply I got was a surprise to a dinosaur like me (kidding). They said “No one uses that anymore, it’s old”.

After some additional inquiry I find that amid the teen crowd – the new pop sites are: Twitter, Instagram, Ask.FM, and Tumblr. When I asked why these sites were better, they all agreed that these media allowed for better information exchange, more back-and-forth interaction. They said that people only post comments on Facebook, never questions and replies to comments are empty, meaningless chatter. They described Facebook as an ‘about me’ page – not a place to talk. Further, with regard to business Facebook pages and celebrity pages, there is little interaction and pages are rarely updated. Very interesting!

I firmly believe that if a business wants to stay ahead of the curve, it needs to listen to the opinions of the younger generation. They strongly influence their parents buying decisions and they are the next buyers. This is priceless information.  

In follow up, I researched these sites a little more. While Twitter is nothing new to me, I have never used Instagram, Tumblr or Ask.FM. I can’t say I was overly impressed by Instagram or Tumblr, they seem a little copycat to me (but then others like then – so it they're worth some attention). Ask.FM, however, has some serious potential!  

Ask.FM is a site where people can ask questions and get answers. The concept is not rocket science, but it is highly engaging! Can you imagine the traditional marketing driven webinar being replaced by an engaging QA session? real-time ‘RFP’ answers? While I am still new to Ask.FM and don’t yet know all the ins-and –outs, it seems like this is a great opportunity to engage customers and prospects while having more control over your brand image.

If you aren't familiar, check out Ask.FM. I think that we will be seeing a rise in the popularity of this site in 2013.  


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