Three social media marketing trends from the crowd at #smmuk10

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Today’s Social Media Marketing 2010 conference (search for #smmuk10 on Twitter) was a great mix of theory and case studies, presentations and debates, clients and the odd social media agency. We presented on why ongoing engagement is worth more than buzz and showcased our work in the retail industry with T.M.Lewin and Jimmy Choo.

In the final session of the day, I took part in a panel discussion on trends in social media and the areas where social media marketing will develop in the next 12 to 18 months. The panel debated and sourced ideas and then used the audience to vote for the ideas that the collective wisdom of clients and agencies in the room thought were the important trends to watch. The top three trends are below (and I’m rather pleased that my suggestion about geolocation tools made it to the top spot!)

Trend 1: Geolocation tools and the convergence of online and offline experiences

We’ve written before that we think 2010 is the year of location-based social media tools and geolocation is certainly becoming a much talked about issue at conferences and with clients. At this conference we presented our own case study of CatchAChoo, the trainer-hunt we developed and ran for Jimmy Choo using Foursquare and Twitter. There is also a lot of benefit that businesses can gain from working with Foursquare and other tools as they develop (even small businesses as this case study shows).

Geolocation is an interesting development. There is a much-recounted (but rarely-cited) statistic that says that 80% of all data 0nline has a geolocational element to it. But in most cases this data isn’t used. The steady rise of smart-phones (with their in-built GPS systems) will make this data more useful to users and easier for people to add to. It’s a trend to watch and for brands to capitalise on where relevant for their social media strategy. Geolocation tools are growing, and brands can benefit hugely from them.

Trend 2: Increased focus on ROI

There was a prediction that clients will increasingly focus on (and have to prove) the value or ROI of the work they do in social media. And so they should. Brands should not be using social media unless they have a clear view of what they want to achieve - the business aims that social media can contribute to. And when they start to use social media tools they should be ruthless in their measurement of success. This is critical because it shows that brands are thinking about social media in the right way and for the right reasons. Success and ROI is rarely a measure of how many people ‘Like’ you on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. Real ROI comes from showing the impact your work has had against real business aims - increased sales, reduced cost of new customer acquisition, new ideas into the business. Real needs, real measures and a real focus on ROI.T

Trend 3: Consumer resistance to brands on social media

An emerging trend, associated to the privacy debate, was thought to be increasing resistance from consumers about brands engaging with them in social media. The real trend here is a need for brands to use social media and engage people in the right way. Trying to engage people in Facebook is often not the right answer. Infact Facebook is a place where people are often talking and sharing with friends and connections and don’t want to be interrupted by a brand. Better to choose the right place to engage in the right way. If not then consumers may start to filter out brands and brand messages and exert more control over their own experiences online.

What are your thoughts on these trends? Is Geolocation the next (or current) big thing?

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15 Comments

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  3. Olivia Landolt:

    Thanks for sharing this Matt. From what I was able to tell on Twitter there was some great discussion around this yesterday.

    I do think that Geolocation will grow exponentially regardless of whether it will rely more heavily on promotional incentives from businesses or not. Both social currency: like badges, standings, etc. and monetary value: such as discounts and gifts for repeat customers are things that resonate and I think have the potential to attract a bigger crowd – interesting to see how this will play out and which of the two will have more meaning for users.

    With regards to ROI I look forward to seeing social media measurement and metrics becoming more integrated in existing tools and mechanism for measuring success, something which I think is inevitable

    Olivia Landolt
    Marketing and Community Manager
    @6Consulting

    6Consulting is the authorised Radian6 partner in the UK

  4. Ian Cleary:

    I think Geo Location is the next big thing. And it will be interesting to see what happens in this space. Twitter (twitter places) are starting down this route and Facebook are currently talking to Foursquare (rumour). Facebook will either acquire Foursquare or replace their functionality. We’ll wait and see!

  5. Robert Pickstone:

    Geolocation tools and ROI were trends I expected many to recommend keeping an eye out for but consumer resistance to brands is a really interesting one.

    If a consumer states that he or she supports a brand, then that brand should be able to attempt engagement without much too resistance, if done in the correct way.

    Engagement needs to: offer value, use relevant language and tone, and be done at the right time.

    If I state that I am interested in a brand by liking their page on Facebook or by following their account on Twitter, then I won’t show resistance if their attempt to engage really offers me value, is done in a way that makes me feel comfortable and is not done on a frequent basis.

    On the other hand, if their communications turn into spam, or if a brand I have never stated an interest in is trying to contact me, then my general resistance may grow.

    Consumer understanding of what supporting a brand online may result in, and then the standards shown in marketing activity by those brands, will have a major effect on levels of resistence moving forward.

    Did I hear someone say something about universal understanding of best practice and privacy online… :-)

  6. @robynevansSSAT:

    I can see why geolocation has alot of appeal commercially and why there may be a big push from corporates to develop it but I’m not sure I get the user benefit. To me it seems gimmicky rather than having intrinsic value and I think they privacy questions around it may have an impact on wide adoption. But then I had to be persuaded about Twitter…

    The last two taken together are very interesting: if we can crack the ROI and manage engagement in the social media sphere in a way consumers engage with, I can see a huge shift in media spend towards social and away from traditional channels simply because it will be more measurable.

  7. Matt Rhodes:

    Olivia

    I agree that geolocation is interesting and something to watch although I think the real success may not be badges but using location to share and filter information. On a very simple level allowing me to find reviews of restaurants near me when I’m in a strange city would be incredibly useful. Or finding the cheapest place to buy something.

    Matt

  8. Matt Rhodes:

    Ian,

    Thanks for the comment. You’re right that Twitter and Facebook are making interesting moves in this area. How they use their reach to compete with Foursquare Gowalla and the like will be interesting to follow. Not everybody wants the people they share information with (on Twitter for example) to be the same people they share their location with (on Foursquare).

    Matt

  9. Matt Rhodes:

    Hi Robyn,

    Thanks for commenting! I think I can see user benefit from geolocation tools. On a very simple level to help me find things near me based on other people’s reviews or interests. For example: can I find a bar near me that people like me have enjoyed and reviewed, and can my phone then take me there! It feels like a real natural extension of how people might act anyway. The barrier is obviously smart-phone penetration, which is still very low, and so growth and developments in this area will be steady for the time being.

    Matt

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  11. Olivia Landolt:

    Hi Matt,

    Absolutely if it’s not useful or functional it probably won’t go anywhere. I’m really just being philosophical and thinking in addition to functionality what will users find more meaning in - keeping in mind that amongst some of my friends any mayorship is a real contest.

    Olivia

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  15. Anna thomas:

    Three top market trends of the social media marketing will definitely increase the consumer resistance in social media. Thanks for sharing this informative content.

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