2011 Marketing Trends: Social Technology

In General, Trends on December 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Definitely agree with Dave Evans, Digital Voodoo co-founder, in regards to one of the MAIN marketing trends in 2011 will still be social technology…though, it will spread to include/involve the whole business – all departments and aspects, not just ‘marketing.’   How is your business embedding social media into various aspects of your business?

As social media has firmly established itself–whether in interest or actual practice–within the marketing and promotional disciplines that power small businesses, a burning issue has emerged: “What happens if the social web turns against me? What if one customer has a bad experience, creates a video, and that video goes viral?” The first part of the answer is found easily by searching the web or consulting any of a number of great social media books or online resources: As a small business, develop a plan to actively listen, to participate and the respond to both the positive and negative conversations that involve your product or service.

logoThat sounds simple in theory, and in many cases it is: Using Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or…whichever of the social media channels and platforms are applicable given your business objectives and customers your marketing team can craft a plan to promote and protect your brand through participation on the social web. The real challenge–and the indicator of the next big trend–arrives with the realization that you can’t directly control conversations on the social web. When they turn negative, it takes more than a response from marketing (alone) to adequately respond.

This reality is the driver of the next big trend: Leading from marketing, it’s the spread of social technology across the entire business so that the entire business acts in support of the marketing-led effort to respond to negative conversations. In my newest book, “Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business Engagement” I re-define engagement as a collaborative effort between customers, with the business drawing in employees, suppliers and partners in response to what customers are doing and saying. Customers can and do say some very nice things, but conversations can just as easily turn negative, and for many reasons: One of the most effective techniques in turning negative conversations around is involving these customers directly in the business. When customers have a say in the experience they are less likely to adopt or hold onto a negative view.

The next big trend is therefore using social technology–platforms for customer collaboration, Twitter-like messaging services connecting employees inside the organization, customer-driven support forums, communities that link suppliers, partners and customers together with each other–to improve the core customer experiences and thereby head-off or manage negative conversations, all the while boosting and amplifying the beneficial ones. The technologies involved are all themselves examples of the same sorts of underlying technologies that are now familiar to members of Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, social technologies that have been re-cast and deployed across the larger business organization toward the end goal of creating better outcomes.

Search the web for “social media business engagement” to get an idea of just how real–and just how close–this next trend is.


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