The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a trend as a line of general direction or movement; and as marketers, we are comfortable connecting ourselves to data, numbers and other mathematically related phenomena. When taking both of these facts into consideration, we know very well how important identifying trends is to success in any industry, so when we have an opportunity to get some “insider information,” we are truly pleased. Social Media Week gave us our latest opportunity to spot online trends to which we should take heed when looking to communicate through what may very well be today’s most popular online channel.
1. FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out
Born out of the old trend of Radical Transparency – the show all, tell all way of living life in the total open and subsequent one-upmanship – the fear of not remaining up-to-date on all that is new keeps people connected to their networks by using social media channels.
2. Life in Real-Time
The proliferation of smartphones has created a society where the stream of information is continually following us. As we create this stream of information, we are becoming hyper-documentarians—not only are we documenting the events, we’re helping drive them.
3. Social Good
Recent history has shown us that social protest, social causes and social activism have all found a communication channel in social media and there’s no sign in this trend stopping.
4. Collaborative Consumption
Social media’s culture of sharing has helped push this trend into the mainstream. Technology has made it where we now live in a Global Village where it’s easier and more acceptable to swap, borrow and share thoughts, goods and services.
5. Data in Droves
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We have now reached a point where social media channels are looking to redefine how to use all of the data that they collect. The age of Big Data, Big Impact in social media has finally arrived.
Now that social media’s collected data is perceived by most as valuable and because these channels continue to collect more data, these channels should become more and more personal. Additionally, as the social graph is applied over this data the creation of the Curated Web, a web that provides people with the ideas and information they are looking for before they even know they are looking for it, is imminent.
7. Social Commerce
There are 845 million people now on Facebook. Forty-seven percent of Facebook users would like more shopping opportunities on Facebook. That’s approximately 397 million people. F-Commerce has been introduced for a reason.
8. Socializing Brick & Mortar
In a step before the proliferation of full Near Field Communications (NFC) adoption, physical stores such as Diesel have started to bring the “Like Button” into their stores.
9. Screened Interactions
If you’ve seen The Kinect Effect commercial you have seen an example of screened interactions—the opportunities to engage and entertain around goods and services. Because of social media’s natural need to engage and entertain, it was only a matter of time before this type of contact took place.
10. Radical Transparency Remorse
Somehow, even with documented cases and over exaggerated urban legends, some people still divulge entirely too much information without thought. Opening social media channels to more opportunity does also give people more opportunities to do things they shouldn’t.
11. Facebook Fatigue
Facebook’s going public can cause an issue because their greatest asset is the information gathered on its 845 million users. The potential problem arises if the shareholder demands do not match the company and, more importantly, the users’ desires—especially since the online culture has become opt-out instead of opt-in.
12. Reengineering Randomness
Although hyper-personalization helps organize the content consumed on social media channels, people are beginning to long for randomness. As with everything in life, people eventually want balance.
13. Serendipitous Socializing
This is the trend that has helped online entities such as Pinterest, Turntable.FM and Meetup succeed. By adding good fortune to the social media mix, people are bound to return to the channels that take advantage of this trend.
In the vein of balance in life, people looking to re-connect with real people again. Studies show that 66 percent of people wish they could spend more time face-to-face rather than “Facebook-to-Facebook.” This does not mean people are looking to leave the social media channels they constantly use; it simply means they need to see people in real life again.
The significance of recognizing these trends fully supports the necessity of something we marketers know must precede any campaign, but at times is overlooked—a strategy. By taking each applicable trend into account, it is easier to pinpoint which steps to take in your online communications.