Key points from “The 7 Hottest Social Media Business Trends” webinar

Screen grab of the summary page of the 7 Trends webinar by Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki, http://www.marismith.com/7smtrends/

On Wednesday (March 28, 2012), I participated in a webinar called “The 7 Hottest Social Media Business Trends,” which was presented by Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki.

I watched it because I’m interested in marketing and because social media is increasingly being used to share health information.

You can watch the recording and read a summary of the trends, and view related tweets by searching #7smtrends on Twitter.

Overall, the webinar was entertaining and informative, and it was a privilege to hear tips and examples about social media strategies from two people as well-known as Mari and Guy. They said a lot of valuable things and told us to share the content of the webinar with other people, especially via social media, which I think is a great idea. Now, even without viewing it, others are able to benefit from the information.

Social media, Guy said, is “fast, free, and ubiquitous.” As a business, the key is using it correctly. They came up with seven trends they think are the most important.

1. Big Brand Bypass

New platforms are allowing more and more consumers to bypass brands and instead sell or exchange directly with one other. What can you do to show your audience that your business is the obvious choice for them … by being top of mind and in front of them at the crucial moments when they make that decision? (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

The best quote from when they talked about this trend was one from Guy: “Nobodies are the new Somebodies.”

2. Humanize to Monetize

In today’s world, personality means profit. Period. Bland, self-serving and inflexible brands are now incompatible with the public’s expectations. While human brands, or the humanity within big brands, leads to flourishing businesses. Where do you draw the line between capturing your market’s attention with individuality and character … without over-exposing yourself and your family to potential dangers and unnecessary risks of TMI (“too much information”)? (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

A quote from Mari sums up this section nicely: “People are craving that human connection.”

3. Cause-Based Consumers

How can you use the words “business” and “conscience” in the same sentence today … and include short-term profits with your long-term view? Consumers almost have an “addiction” to the NEW when it comes to consuming products. However, there is also a growing concern within consumers for the environment and policies that organizations and individuals stand for beyond “the brand”. If the business ethics don’t meet the consumers’ expectations for social cause, transparency and trust, businesses and individuals will fail completely. (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

They also called this trend “Beyond the Brand,” saying companies need to “Put it out there: What do you stand for?” Consumers want to see social causes, transparency, and trust. However, Guy reminded us that no matter what, a company offering a crappy product or service will not win customers by simply donating money to charity.

Mari also mentioned the Facebook engagement rate, and how to calculate it (number of people talking about that item, divided by number of fans).

4. Super Social Status

How can you use the words “business” and “conscience” in the same sentence today … and include short-term profits with your long-term view? Consumers almost have an “addiction” to the NEW when it comes to consuming products. However, there is also a growing concern within consumers for the environment and policies that organizations and individuals stand for beyond “the brand”. If the business ethics don’t meet the consumers’ expectations for social cause, transparency and trust, businesses and individuals will fail completely. (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

Mari used games, badges, and top scores as examples of this trend, and it was also mentioned (I forget who said it, but I think it was Guy) that it is “no longer about having material possessions,” which can be debated, but was more appropriate in context. They also said “People really crave incentives and rewards.”

To recognize those people who are the top fans on Facebook, Mari recommends using an app like Booshaka.

5. Awesome vs. “Flawesome”

Consumers are accepting that it’s okay for companies to be imperfect (they actually prefer it). The more open about your brands’ flaws the better. Being flawed and open about it can lead to a huge spike in brand sentiment. Consumers are embracing brands that admit to screwing up, that transparently show their shortcomings, and that show empathy through their mistakes. The façade of perfection in business is well and truly buried in the minds’ eye of the 2012 consumer. But, which irresistible morsels of fallibility should you proudly display as proof of your business’ human touch — and how do you decide where to apply the polish? (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

Guy and Mari talked about dealing with flaws. Instead of deleting them, handling them effectively can be more beneficial, since openness can lead to a spike in brand sentiment. They shared statistics: people guess that reviews are faked or censored if they are all positive; the conversion rate is higher for consumers who go out of their way to read negative reviews about a product they are considering.

Despite the quote from The Social Network that they mentioned (“The Internet is in pen, not pencil.”), they both encouraged businesses not to be paranoid, but to embrace flaws.

6. Mad for Mobile

Now that mobile device usage outnumbers computers 5-to-1 worldwide, we’re far beyond the tipping point. We can now do everything in a mobile way: more local information delivered via mobile, and more timely information delivered instantly. Mobile is simply more effortless; everything is easier on the go. But, how do you PROFIT by integrating effortless, instant-access mobile information with your always-on social media strategy? (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

They emphasized the importance of having “fast-loading mobile” versions of websites and blogs, as well as having “frictionless sharing.” Wibiya was given as an example of a useful tool. Other things they mentioned when talking about this trend were QR codes and SMS marketing.

7. Privacy Paranoia

Will 2012 finally tip the scales on a growing privacy backlash, resulting in a revolt against the widespread access to “open & misused information”? For the moment, Facebook, Google and many other services are pushing and pushing the boundaries of acceptability on privacy. At what point do we become uncomfortable and say, “enough is enough”? (Taken from previously mentioned summary)

There were several excellent quotes in this section.

Mari: “Have long cryptic passwords. If you can remember your password it’s not good enough.”

Guy recommended 1Password and says he uses it for everything, because password requirements make things too difficult to remember.

They briefly talked about the controversy over employers asking for employees’/interviewees’ Facebook passwords. Joking about the logic of these employers, Guy said, “It must be an IQ test. Let’s ask them for their password, if they give it, they are too stupid to work for us.”

Questions

After this, they had Q and A, and the topic of spam and spammers came up.

Guy said he hates spammers (He said social media networks are like a swimming pool, and then said, “It’s my pool, and you just put a piece of turd in my pool.”), and goes out of his way to crush them by changing the time he updates and by reporting and blocking spammers. He made the distinction between true advertising and spam: “If it’s advertising that’s relevant, it’s not spam.”

Overall

It was a great webinar and the presenters were fantastic. My favorite parts were the examples and stories they told, as well as participating in the interaction with people from around the world, both in the chat and via the Twitter hashtag (#7smtrends). This was the first time I’d participated in a live chat on Twitter, and will definitely be doing it again. Next time, however, I’ll probably try out TweetChat, something Mari had suggested that will update faster than Hootsuite, which is what I used (and is really more suited to social media management and scheduling than following live chats).

Once again, the recording and summary for this webinar are available online, and I highly recommend viewing it.

What are the social media trends that you’ve noticed? Do you have examples of companies who do it right? Let me know in the comments below.

For more information, please read the about the pros and cons of scheduling tweets.

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Author: Shelly Najjar

MPH in Public Health Nutrition, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist // Freelance Writer, Community Builder // I have a very long Goal List (Bucket List) and I enjoy doing nail art.

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