Sunday, August 9, 2009

Interesting Social Media Trends - A Study

Social media trends indicate that online marketing is set to undergo a dramatic makeover. Businesses are increasingly integrating social networking websites into their marketing strategy. A recent study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (a representative body of American marketers) revealed that 26% of marketers found trends in social media taking it towards further growth.

Recession has called for accountability and efforts are being made towards innovating measurement techniques. This would help in calculating the ROI from marketing through social media. The Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2009 (conducted by Econsultancy in combination with Lynchpin) recorded that the proportion of firms looking at social media metrics has doubled during the course of a year from 21% to 40%.

The popularity of tools monitoring the buzz continues to rise. Be it staying alert with Google or inhaling the web on Addictomatic, such tools have become essential to internet marketing. Influence has emerged as a main indicator of success. The authority an account exercises over its followers and the networking activity as a whole are becoming the measurement tools.

# Social Media Engagement Trends
Over 60% of young consumers use social networking sites at least weekly, and about 40% check their networks every day. These young creators grew up in the age of personal computers, graphical user interfaces, and digital social annotations. The social computing boom of the past few years has created an online identity and digital hub, altered as frequently as one's clothes.

Adults are also researching news and creating content online. 22% of adults read blogs at least monthly, and 19% of adults surveyed are members of a social media site. Customer ratings and reviews was the most popular online activity, with about 40% of survey participants utilizing sites such as Amazon to read the thoughts and opinions of peers before making a purchase.

Forrester analysts identified six levels of social media participation in ascending levels of sophistication: inactives, spectators, joiners, collectors, critics, and creators. The categories are not mutually exclusive, as a blog author (a creator) will likely read other blogs (as a spectator), occasionally comment (a critic), and perhaps use web feeds or annotation tools (a collector).

These varied levels of social media participation highlight the need to better engage your audience across the board, easing them into the social media experience. Many social media sites focus on the joiners and creators, setting high barriers of entry and participation. A casual reader might mark a story or video as a personal favorite, or share a collection with friends. A collector might engage more audience members, creating a more focused community for a niche audience. Businesses and websites can engage multiple market segments and open up their community to wider participation.

# Comparative Analysis of Top Social Media Networks

# The Rise of New Business Models?

Frankly, predicting new business models within the media industry is difficult with its complex web of content distribution relationships spanning theaters, international distribution, cable and satellite distribution. However, with the success of industry ratified models like Hulu and the sense of inevitability that content is destined towards freedom, 2009’s recession will force new media models into play because the old models aren’t working any more.

Business Week’s Steven Wildstrom notes that consumers can’t find many great old movies on DVD or online in this era of the long tail retailing.

The battle is between an industry that wants to tightly control who gets to see what when and customers who want to watch what they want wherever and whenever. This clash is slowly being resolved in favor of consumers. Movies are becoming available for download and on DVD more quickly after theatrical release. Director Steven Soderbergh has a deal with Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theatres and HDNet that allows some of his movies to be released on disk and online the same day they show up in theaters. I expect more movies to be launched this way.

The day you can choose to see a new movie in a theater, on your TV, on your laptop, or on your iPhone is still some time off, but it is coming.

# The 2009 Recession will Elevate Social Media Marketing as a Corporate Cost Control Measure

Brand advertising has generally employed one-way messaging to consumers who typically respond to brand commercials as agenda-laden, or even spam. That’s why Tivo fast forwarding of ads is a value proposition. Brand advertising developed in the 1950’s with Madison Avenue’s recognition of the power of the new visual media to branding. It worked because broadcast TV was, at the time, the most optimal means to distribute the message.

Brand advertising is expensive because it employs the vertical professional services of advertising agencies – creative, research and production – to develop “campaigns”, and ad budgets for mass market placement. Social media in part threatens to disintermediate advertising professionals by leveraging “crowdsourcing” to test marketing and advertising concepts more quickly and cheaply.

# Entertainment Bubble
“Content creators are layering a multitude of media into entertainment for simultaneous consumption and engagement. For example, “LittleBigPlanet” users are gamers, social networkers and content creators, “The Hills” ‘Backchannel’ social networking site is where fans can gather to talk about the show as its happening on TV, and author StephenieMeyer has a playlist that readers can listen to while they’re reading the Twilight series. People are almost in an entertainment bubble of sorts”. -- Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting, JWT (Source:

# On Mobile
Social networks are going mobile. With devices such as the iPhone closely integrating the Web and cell phones, social networks like MySpace are working towards establishing their mobile presence.
“..Next year your media friend might start collecting dust when a mighty mini version takes hold, with the iPhone, the Bold and the Google phone, we’re beginning to truly be able to take our shows on the road. For example, the iPhonecan be a baby monitor and a Google phone, such as the T-Mobile G1, has a bar code scanner which allows you scan any bar code at the store and then immediately compare prices online. People are cutting their Internet service to save money and relying on their phones. After all, an iPhoneis much easier to fit into your pocket than an iBook”.
Mobilize Me
-- Jane Buckingham, President, The Intelligence Group

Companies will continue to place a high priority on mobility initiatives primarily for productivity increases, with mobility activities heating up in emerging markets. In addition, we will see growth in the mobile "wannabe" user segment as employees bring their personal devices, such as the iPhone, into work and expect organizations to develop ways to support these new devices —even with the slowdown expected in consumer mobile device purchases. -- Forrester

# On Engagements
“The recession will put consumers in a more powerful position. Feedback 1.0 was the lone customer posting a review or complaint and companies ignoring him. Feedback 2.0 was when millions posted, with companies largely ignoring them.

Feedback 3.0 finds companies listening and replying. For example, Starbucks lovers can already “help shape the future of Starbucks,” by sharing their ideas online, and hotel managers can respond to complaints and praises posted on TripAdvisor”.
-- ReinierEvers, Founder,

# “How Social Media is helping businesses?”
Facebook Connect, and its social network cousins Google Friend Connect, and the still obscure MySpace ID will facilitate the portability of social networks, or the “social graph”. This will be one of the most powerful applications towards creating a social media business model in 2009, but is hard to explain to social media newbies. What does it mean?

Through Facebook Connect, consumers log into other sites using their Facebook login details. Once inside the site, users can discuss or post their activities in real time to their Facebook network. The effect is to bring in their network of friends into the hosting site. For example, a teenage girl may visit a Facebook Connect – enabled retail fashion site like Forever 21, buy an awesome sweater at a deep discount sale price, and broadcast this fact to her large Facebook network. A few of her Facebook friends do the same thing, and by extension, you can imagine the instant viral marketing power of each new succeeding Facebook network put “into play” for a good sweater deal.

# Crowd sourcing will be a huge social media trend for 2009.

Crowd souring has the potential to take off pretty big, although i don’t see the online movement in that direction. The launch of Predictify suggest such a conclusion. Also, Idea Blob has been fairly successful. There are a number of crowd sourcing creative (graphic design and video) that are bubbling to the surface beyond the e-lance model. This will only continue to increase as the need for outsourcing and budget cutting continues in 2009. The trend known as crowd funding may also see an upward and exciting trajectory.

# Rise of video driven communities
Video driven communities that drive conversation will take off in social media. Winelibrary TV, Epic FU, and The Politico Playbook (aka Kotecki TV) have shown what video can do. Momversation, sponsored by Target, is driving conversation and community around the issues of moms. The video serves as a fantastic differentiator, creates emotional connection, and is potentially truly remarkable content.


Melinda Moses said...

Hi Nishith,
Thank you for pulling content together that collectively provides new ways of looking at social media trends and tactics. I will be following your blog and looking forward to your commentary. I would be interested in your take on how businesses, especially small ones doing B2B, package and price their social media services in a way that enables low-budget clients to get on the social media roller coaster. If you've uncovered any case studies in this regard, please share ... it's a very hot topic and I'm collecting inputs from a variety of sources/resources! Keep it coming and thanks again - great job!

Nishith Srivastava said...

Hi Melinda,

Thank you visiting my blog and posting your comments.

I am also trying to pull together various case examples of how businesses of different sizes are using social media marketing to gain maximum benefits.

In due course of my research I have been able to source several such case studies that you can go through:

Going forward my aim is to come up a framework on these best practices that can universalize various techniques of using social media platforms for specific benefits. You can reach me at

Thanks again for your inputs.

Warm Regards,