If you want to get a glimpse of the economic future, focus on the emerging trends driven by those defining the evolution of the social Web.
Social media is not only democratizing influence and upsetting the traditional media ecosystem, it is now an indicator for a potential economic resurgence. Leading metrics firm, comScore, released its Q1 U.S E-Commerce Spending Report recently, finding that online retail spending approached $34 billion in Q1 2010, which represents a 10 percent boost compared to last year. The surge also symbolizes the first time that growth rates hit double-digits since the second quarter of 2008.
I recently hosted a discussion on the need to lessen, not eliminate, the emphasis we place on the social media case studies and “how to” posts that are now universal, as they won’t apply to the specific circumstances or context of our challenges, opportunities, and market dynamics. I believe that we should use them solely for inspiration, but not as templates for our work. The best advice that I or anyone for that matter, can offer, lies in our ability to help you define the questions you must ask and answer yourself.
Social Media is often misconstrued as a medium for business-to-consumer or B2C engagement and discounted as a viable communications network for those companies focused on business-to-business transactions. However, B2B, as in any other field impacted by online activity, is faced with a prime opportunity to not only cultivate communities in social networks and other social channels, but also amplify awareness, increase lead generation, reduce sales cycles, and perhaps most importantly, learn and adapt to market dynamics in real-time.
Following is an abbreviated excerpt from Engage, a new book that helps businesses build, cultivate, and measure success in social media.
Last year, Forbes magazine assembled a visual list for its Top 21 Twitter Tips to showcase business examples on how to use Twitter for marketing, service, sales, and ideation. The original compilation served as inspiration for a new list, one that helps businesses of all shapes, sizes, and focus embrace not only Twitter, but all social networks of relevance.
While many of the examples and quotes remain the same, the list is modified based on my observations and personal experiences.
As you may or may not know, I am, among many other things, a contributing data analyst at PeopleBrowsr, a leading provider of social search and conversation mining tools and services.
While PeopleBrowsr receives the activity feeds of many prominent social networks, among the most fascinating to analyze, is of course, the real-time micro conversations that populate Twitter and the passionate people who tweet towards significance. In the past, we gawked at Twitter’s Most Engaging Celebrities and also boarded Twitter’s Most Engaging Airlines. Now let’s take a look at the very place that catapulted Twitter into the spotlight, our beloved SXSW Film, Interactive and Music Festival.
Trending topics reveal much more than the objects that captivate the hearts, minds, and keyboards of Twitter users around the world. Twitter’s trends is a cultural mirror that reflects the state of attention and intention. And as such, Tweets then offer an MRI that visualizes the minds of consumers and more importantly, serve as a crystal ball that reveals the future of products and services before and soon after they’re released.
In July 2009, Twitter debuted a new home page to appeal to the early market majority who were suddenly introduced to the popular microblog, but not quite sure what to make of it. Version 2.0 of the home page spotlighted popular themes and conversations through trending topics and real-time search to lure new users into the service through context rather than technology. Almost nine months later, Twitter continues its race towards mainstream ubiquity with the release of a new home page, version 3.0.
In September 2008 at Web 2.0 Expo in New York, I shared something that many, to this day, believe to the contrary, “There is no such thing as viral marketing.”
The declaration was empathetic in its direction to those marketers who have been on the receiving end of directives instructing them to create and unleash viral content. In parallel, the statement was aimed at those decision makers who assign such projects.
Guest post by Mark Drapeau
For a good part of my career, I was a scientist researching how animal behavior is controlled by genes and neurons. Desiring something more, I got a terrific fellowship from the scientific society AAAS in 2006 and was able to conduct science and technology policy research at the Department of Defense for a few years. That experience opened my eyes to everything from the inner workings of the military, to how the government purchases goods and services, to how social technology is changing how the government conducts its operations.
Online video continues to capture the attention of producers and viewers, with the market as well as industry leaders, leading us into a more pervasive form of video entertainment, communication and education.
With YouTube quickly transforming from a user-generated video network into an invaluable repository for content, the associated behavior for creating, uploading, discovering, and watching online videos is evolving. What many have yet to realize are the effects YouTube has aroused. It is where many online experiences begin and end.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.