What’s Next in Social Media

Social media is about conversation not broadcasting.

It’s about geolocation.

It’s about privacy.

And online versus mobile.

It’s about measurement.

Those were the observations several months ago by Jon Newman of the Hodges Partnership as he talked about social media.

What’s he talking about today?

Growing communities, measuring success, multi channeling, mobile, the great platform shakeout.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that content remains king, and PR is the content driver. Without it, you aren’t going to be able to grow your communities online.

At the same time, social media is simply part of the conversation. “In a client meeting you expect to talk social media.”

When Jon asked at the January PRSA Richmond meeting how many people were actively using Twitter only about half the audience raised their hands. Less than a quarter were using geolocation sites, such as FourSquare. When asked about Facebook, every hand in the audience went up. 

“You can do everything on Facebook that you can do on a standalone website,” he noted.

Measuring Facebook success is about measure the fan base and fan engagement – what percent of the fan base is actively engaged? Are they posting a comment? Are they liking the status?

A successful social media strategy is about listening, customer service, advocacy and social commerce, said Sonali Shetty of Hodges Digital Strategies. The first step is establishing a community. Then, Sonali said, you have to cross promote, consistently brand and engage frequently.

And despite what some people say, “It does take money,” Sonali said. “It’s an ecosystem in which you surround your customers with your message.” 

To do that, you must develop a cohesive message and implement it across all devices. It’s about repurposing and recycling.

One of the hot topics was apps. Not surprising since the Apple store has sold its 10 billionth app. To have a successful app, Sonali said to prioritize the must-haves then add one or two bells or whistles. “You have to look for a reason for people to come back to your app every day,” she said.

Mobile will continue to get bigger. Overseas, people conduct most of their banking by cell phones. That hasn’t reached the United States at the same level yet. QR codes are growing in popularity. These codes allow individuals to use their smart phone as a scanner and obtain additional information about a product, brand or company. Some airlines make boarding passes available on mobile devices. Scan your smart phone and you’re boarding the plane. Starbucks lets you create a virtual card on a smart phone. Scan your phone and you’re walking out the door with your latte.

I wonder what we’ll be talking about a year from now….