As we approach 2011, we will see new trends and ways in which we can take advantage of using social media to connect, brand and influence. Some of this has been seen in the way in which third party applications have taken advantage of the new commerce infrastructure and community built by facebook or new products and services are evolving as the internet matures.
Companies with simple ideas such as Zynga (games) and Groupon (coupons) have grown up so quickly they have become billion dollary enterprises almost overnight in some ways magnifying the value of central place in which facebook has moved into our lives. What does that mean for you personally and for your new business venture?
My belief it is a time to pause, think, reevaluate if you currently are in business. If you are in a startup mode, the word which we might "borrow" from wall street is "leverage". How can you leverage the multibillion dollar facebook infrastructure and new emerging ones which Bill Gates alway s worried may be created in someone's garage?
Let's distill some of the value of Facebook, social networks and communicaions in 2011 to some areas which will be valuable.
1) Micro-targeting - Utilizing advertising on Facebook to target very select groups of audience based upon their interests, hometown, college, company, industry, and even who their friends are and what their interests are.
2) Event driven marketing - Events are a great way to continue to build your brand or you company by drivng people to a specific event at a specific time. By running events over time you drive new traffic to your store or business.
3) Mobile marketing - One of the emerging trends is that the mobile devices are now as powerful as laptops were just a few years ago. You will see this continue to the point where the primary device for intial contact is on the "phone/pda" versus the computer.
4) Video content - There is an incredible opportunity to be innovative in this area. Video content can be as simple as talking into your computer and recording your though and ideas to creating a film or television show to bring your ideas across. The trend of digital technology has allowed individuals to create and distribute full length feature films for under $10,000.
5) Personal Branding - The trend continues in which our personal and business lives are blending into a brand. What was once the domain of hollywood stars and trend setting ceo's such as Richard Branson and Donald Trump are the hottest area to distinguish yourself. My personal examples are creating personal/business brands such as MediaMensch and The Accidental Actor.
6) Gaming - On-line gaming is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of where people are spending their time. Games are not just a leisure activity, but a way to connect with the world. Whether it is playing online poker, backgammon or scrabble you can meet interesting people from around the world where fromthe start you share a common interest. Whether it is for personal interest or buusiness interest, you can look at ways to reach the gaming community with advertising, product placment, etc.
7) Videoconferencing/Video Chat - A subtle evolution in video chat (Skype, Googletalk) has taken hold over the past few years and this continues to accelerate. Where the phone was just audio it is now becoming prevalent to have one to one or small group video chats where you can integrate not only audio, but text. One benefit of using these services is that you can do a few things you can not do on a regular call..record the conversation, text and share links while you talk, send a file and archive for future reference. In most cases this technology is free.
8) Privacy - If there is ever a collision course with the evolution of social media it is the concerns over privacy and trust. What was much the domain of your best friends and relatives is now on servers at companies such as Facebook and Google. In fact, it can be argued that the trail of information you have left on these services are so personal that even your closest friends or business associates may not know as much or remember as these services know about you. Such things that seem to be innocent or subtle such as linking your best friends or relatives can now be used by marketers and others to see who you associate with and influence.
9) Net Neutrality - This is a term again which is evolving. The internet which basically has evolved a "free" (and we mean that in many ways) platform is now under fire from corporations and media companies who want to be paid for the bandwidth and infrastructure they support. Driving this trend is that areas such as film and television are using exponentially more bandwidth than e-mails or clickthroughs to websites. This can be looked at again as a threat or opportunity depending on where you sit. As we move into 2011 and toward the 2012 election cycle in the US, areas such as government and corporate control of the internet will become a cenral debate with large lobbying from all sides.
10) Geo-locating - New forms of products and services are evolving which allow us to be tracked or personally reporting on where we are in the world. With either sophisticated GPS based devices or services such as FourSquate where you can tell people what restaurant or hotel you have checked into. This is both a great way to meet up with friends or business associates on a spontaneous basis or to let people know of new places to check out. From a business perspective this is a new and subtle form of word of mouth marketing. Friends can see what venues their friends are frequeting whether it is a new cool restaurant or a resort hotel and places in between.
While all these trends emerge, one thing is a constant and that is "change". My thoughts for you my friends for 2011 are for you to find your passion and prosperity and "unplug" once in a while to see the world in simpler terms. If you want to find ways to move forward, please feel free to contact "The Mensch" for coaching or advising your in your personal branding or business endeavors.