Two Compelling Social Media Trends for 2012
A new year is bearing down upon us-YIKES how did it get here so fast?
With holiday festivities in full swing, I'd like to spotlight two social media trends I see unfolding with wider breadth in the coming year.
What are they?
Transmedia and the Micro-Economy
As social media goes beyond mere blogging and photo/video/music posts-it's swiftly moving to become a platform to integrate an "experience" into the marketing schema. Transmedia is essentially a means of telling a story by using surrounding context to determine the meaning for a participant.
Take for example what Coca Cola (in collaboration with E-dologic) did last year. They created an amusement park where guests swiped an RFID (radio frequency identification) wristband at kiosks located with the park that instantly uploaded to Facebook what they were doing, where they were doing it and...(here's the important part), how they were enjoying it.
E-dologic chief executive Enon Landenberg said: "We're continuously looking for ways to connect the physical world with the virtual world. The idea behind "The Like machine" is an ultimate solution. It is an innovative and pioneering method, and through it the possibility to involve your Facebook friends in events and experiences that are happening to you around the world becomes a very true reality."
This brings marketing to a 'touchy feely' level not previously attainable. Focus group and survey data, (which usually takes weeks to accumulate, decipher, and analyze), can now be reported-in real time. This trend will accelerate. Consider this scenario:
The Acme Company launches a new line of jeans slated for the "tween" market segment. Located in targeted stores are kiosks where customers can immediately swipe their cellphone's QR reader over a device that allows them to input comments, photos, and ratings of the jeans-then, immediately uploads it to the social media platform of their choice (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc). In a matter of hours, the marketing staff at the Acme Company can "see" what demographics their product is selling to and where it's not.
This will span to restaurants, movie theatres-everywhere. The QR invasion and others like it are coming en masse!
Second, the 'Micro-Economy':
In 1999, Nobel Peace prizewinner Muhammad Yunnus wrote a riveting book called Banker to The Poor. In this book he told the story of how the Grameen Bank was founded. Grameen was the first bank to issue 'mirco-loans' to the impoverished people of India. It revolutionized the world.
In today's white-water economic rapids, the shift is toward a 'micro-economy' where goods and services are brought forth on smaller scales and with a bent towards stratified products.
What's a stratified product?
It's where a product or service is developed based on profiling of a specific taste or feedback message-essentially, personalizing it. This creates a market for entreprenuers that do not possess the herculean manufacturing and distribution resources of conventional companies. Much like the Grameen bank, it opens up opportunities to individuals once snuffed out by "the big boys."
Social media sites such as Pinterest http://pinterest.com/ will bolster this trend. They bring people to products and services via their specificity towards a micro-economy of scale. Pinterest provides a conduit to connect everyone in the world through shared tastes and the "things" they find interesting.
And...social media will play a bigger role in bridging ideas to venture capital. Take for example Kickstarter. http://www.kickstarter.com/. This social media venue affords anyone with a brilliant idea to have that project reviewed for funding. Their tagline?
Kickstarter fosters a platform of connecting monetary resources culled from multiple sources and brings them to innovators in a means not previously possible. If you have what you believe is "the next BIG thing" you apply to Kickstarter and your project will be reviewed provided it meets their specific criteria.
George Orwell once quipped: "Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket." The transmedia and micro-economy thrust will-in my opinion-accelerate in 2012 and rattle the bucket. In a big way. The playing field is being leveled and Madison Avenue will soon become a ghost town...Why? Because the salient truth is that "value" will be determined more from social media experiential exchange than from traditional "push" marketing approaches.
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