When you hear the word drone you probably think military first, like the predator drones that have become more commonplace in war and anti-terrorism efforts over the last decade. If that’s the case, you need to adjust your thinking. Because very soon drones will be swarming your town or neighborhood, and they won’t be the government spying on you (at least not all of them).

Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) if you prefer, are already widely available commercially, and now governments are starting to get around to putting some regulations in place. That means we’ll soon be able to receive most of our online shopping booty within hours, but it won’t just be Amazon and Alibaba using them. So will your neighbors, local police and emergency teams, schools, and everyone else who isn’t still convinced that the rotary-dial telephone will make a comeback.

The Good, the Bad, and the Whatever

First of all, the “bad” of this development should be obvious to most: the possibility of 24/7 surveillance from people and organizations we may or may not trust, perverts recording you through a window with pictures or video, let your imagination run wild.

But let it run wild in a good direction, too. Imagine a family stranded in snow in the middle of nowhere. A drone could locate them and lead authorities to the rescue quickly. Finding survivors in all sorts of natural disasters would be greatly improved. Insight for law enforcement in hostage situations, locating people in active shooter situations, identifying damage to structures that would otherwise take very dangerous actions by people. The list is as endless as the bad possibilities or longer.

News has already become one of the primary reasons for social networks to exist, with Twitter leading the way in the breaking news area. Smartphones are usually on scene when something happens, but it doesn’t mean the person can get a good shot of the action. With drones at the ready (they’re already developing drones that attach to and deploy from your wrist like a watch), citizen journalism steps up another notch.

The GoPro camera has become wildly popular with sports and outdoor activities. Imagine how much more popular the drone versions will become. Every kid learning to do a skateboard trick will be filming themselves with drones in a few short years. They’ll be taking dogs for walks, until the dogs figure out they aren’t that strong of course.

Photography and videography aren’t just used in outdoors activities and recreation, though. There are numerous commercial applications you can probably think of off the top of your head. Real estate is a prime example, where still images and videos of homes and property for sale are already heavily used. Drones will allow for better vantages and a more complete picture of the property from all angles.

A resort in Mexico offers wedding packages that include live streaming of the wedding, a dedicated social media director for the event, an interactive wedding painting, and video services that include drone footage. Up to ten hours of video from several cameras is ultimately carved down to a five-minute video of the event from many different angles.

Social Drones

While this term could refer to any number of derogatory ideas, here it’s used in the context of UAVs and social media. From the commercial standpoint again, real estate stands out. Social media is built in a way and works in a way that certain industries, real estate being one, are just meant to be there. It’s the perfect complement to and marketing tool for what agents do.

Don’t think for a second that drone videos and pictures aren’t going to flood your social streams in the near future. Selfie sticks are a fad that will (hopefully) soon be history, but they fill a need that will be filled in the future by personal drones. And they will be instantly relayed to a social network.

We all know those businesses that held out on social media for years (or still are) while waiting for the “fad” to pass. Today they’re struggling to catch up. UAVs are going to be very personal and very widespread very soon, and they’re going to go hand in hand with social media. You would do well to consider right now how this new technology can benefit your own social media marketing efforts. Or you can ignore it as the next fad and once again get lost behind the wave.