5 social media trends to watch

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Creative Commons License photo credit: cycle60

There are some social and digital trends which seem to hit like an avalanche, and others that build quietly and don’t go away. I wanted to share this list, as a bit of a combination of both types,  originally written for The Communications Council of Australia. You can substitute “social” with “digital” because there’s not much happening in the digital world without social integration of some sort.
  1. Geo-locations.
    Since November 2009 geo location aware social services are hotting up. Foursquare, launched 50 cities (including Australia) outside of the US, it’s mobile app makes geo location social a fun game. Twitter has had a tweet your location also since Nov 09 and Facebook’s soon to launch “Places” tab has been described as a Foursquare killer Google is trying to catch up with Latitude while SimpleGeo rakes in the venture capital, describing itself as “iTunes for geodata”
  2. Social shopping.
    Facebook reworked Facebook Connect into a super simple to implement Open Graph and its already changing the way most destination sites interact with their users. The biggest innovations will be in “socialising” the online shopping experience – seeing what your friends like and buy. A great version can be seen at Levis US store.
  3. Using a Facebook Page instead of a microsite.
    After the launch of the the new logo and look in Australia and the success of Hit Refresh,  Pepsi Australia dispensed with their website and now run the Pepsi Australia Facebook Page as a customer engagement hub.
  4. Blogs are everywhere
    Blogspot, WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr, the blogging platforms just keep getting easier and more flexible. The amount of blogs increase every year as brands, companies and individuals are using blogs to optimise their SEO and express their opinions. Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009 describes 4% of blogs as “corporate” while BlogPulse has indexed more than 126 million blogs.
  5. Would you like an app with that? iPhone and iPad apps go from strength to strength.
    The phone game changer is now the “tablet” device game changer. Magazine and newspaper publishers like WIRED magazine, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and GQ are hoping iPad and iPhone subscriptions will keep people engaged on new platforms, and boost interest in content that’s flagging in a printed format. So far, the initial edition of WIRED for iPad is outselling the print edition. iPads will change the way people consume content, whereas iPhone will continue to influence the way people create social content on the go. The most popular camera on Flickr is still the iPhone 3G
What do you think the other digital trends we should be watching?
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  • servantofchaos

    I can see the usefulness of running a Facebook page as your customer experience hub. I could be completely wrong (it has happened before), but for me this is still a risk. This is not a situation of handing your brand over to your customers or fans, it's putting it into the hands of Facebook. That is something else altogether. Still – swings and roundabouts – microsites will become the flavour of the month again in a couple of years and we'll be dealing with yet another social network.

  • Thanks for your comment Gavin. I was surprised myself when Pepsi Australia took the initiative to remove their corporate site. Having said that, its not that they had a huge amount of content on the site, and most of the queries are customer service ones which relates to a phone number rather than web. The technical aspect of Facebook “owning” the content on its platform is a risk they were willing to live with. It is a very active community of fans on Pepsi Australia and growing exponentially based on engaging promotions such as Money or Mates. I'm sure that if the community moves platforms (like the migration out of MySpace) Pepsi Australia will follow – its because of a genuine interest in their community that they are there.

  • I think the social trend to watch is the use of Facebook Connect, which also goes hand-in-hand with using the Facebook Fan Page as your central customer hub. Though it may seem limiting, we all know that almost everyone and their grandmothers use Facebook., even still despite the privacy concerns. With businesses interacting with Facebook users, it gives the communication a somewhat more human aspect. Also, the Facebook Fan pages give great, usable data for your customer demographic data, such as where they come from and what the male to female ratio is.

    With that being said, what are your thoughts on the differences between retailers that use social shopping methods (i.e. Levis, Amazon), and sites that are mainly dedicated to social shopping (Kaboodle, ThisNext, iliketotallyloveit, Zebo, etc.)?

  • Thanks for your comment Jeremy. Yes Facebook Connect/Facebook Open Graph/The “like” button all help the shopper to share with their existing friend network. Whereas the social shopping sites are all about the community of interest which in this case is shopping or the cool/quirky products themselves. I think both work to facilitate sharing of content and interest and hopefully sales, which is the point in the end