New media has changed the way businesses function, increasing the amount of power consumers hold. This shift is evident in the way consumers use, socialize and interact with brands on the Web. Let’s face it: We are now, all—like it or not—immersed in a socially driven society, where the need to share every move, want, or purchase is apparent via our Google+ circles, Foursquare and Facebook check-ins, and instantaneous Twitter updates.
Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT in New York, set out Monday to inform brands how they can take advantage of social media at the opening of Social Media Week, showcasing some top consumer trends and the various ways customers interact with them. See what four trends brands should pay close attention to this year–and beyond. –Noni Cavaliere
Life in Real Time
While there’s an advantage to sharing information online by way of status updates, brands must determine how they can profit from this. According to a survey conducted by JWT last month, 73% of people use social media to brag about their lives. A user’s desire to share what he/she sees, wants, feels and believes on social media creates a great deal of data, which companies can tap into.
By having a real-time look at what consumers are engaging in– “liking” and sharing–brands can communicate with their clients directly, as well as log instantaneous feedback on company services. This can quell any issues simmering before they boil over.
Rise in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
No one likes to be left out or simply not in on the conversation. Social media’s 24-hour news cycle has users consuming content around the clock. This 24-hour “mall environment” promotes a shop-anytime-anywhere mentality. FOMO is what drives blogs, social media sites and advertising. While this information overload can have a negative effect on the general public, causing them to shut down mentally when digital content appears, brands can look on the bright side. It drives spending and heightens one’s use of social platforms. Sharing motivates consumers to do more. Brands can help the consumer ease FOMO, escalate it, make light of it or turn it into a positive. (Think Pinterest’s “pinning” feature.)
Implementing Social Good
Social media can be a tool used to help spread information and connect people mobilizing to create change. Within the last year, we’ve seen an increase in “social good”-based actions. Large-scale movements, from uprisings and protests to public celebrations and fundraising efforts, all spread and heightened via social media and real-time conversations happening globally.
Brands big and small can get great value from connecting beyond our country’s borders.
“Brands can tap into the spirit of social good by creating movements around their CSR [corporate social responsibility] efforts and calling people for ideas. They should enable hands-on consumers to show passion for and engagement with the relevant cause or campaign –providing them with tools for involvement,” says Mack.
Personalizing for the Masses
What’s going to drive people to your brand? Most social media users are looking to have a personalized experience, so brands should expect to begin tailoring content, messaging and recommendations to the individual user. It’s an easy way brands can establish themselves in the digital arena. Where users once relied on SEO and metrics for search, now, they are clicking on content based on what their friends, family and larger digital community are recommending.
A great example is Microsoft’s newly announced advertising solution People Powered Stories. It marries brand messaging, real stories and real-time user reviews into advertising. The partnership with Bazaarvoice allows advertisers to deliver customizable and relevant ads to audiences across multiple screens. The synergy will change the way social advertising is practiced today.