I was invited to help design and participate on a panel on “trends in social marketing” last week for the first ever Real Magnet User Group Conference.
No matter what the status of your organization’s social program, you need to know what’s coming over the horizon. Join us for a panel discussion of social marketing experts – from across industries – to discuss what’s next in social marketing and how they’re positioning for it. The panel will address topics like the implications of exploding mobile usage rates, how social is integrated and leverages with other marketing mediums, important technology and behavioral trends and much more.
Each of us had a five minute presentation with three trends each, covering topics like big data, personalization, information overload, and lots more. So I wanted to share my three trends with you. As you know, my work with Lindy is all about helping organizations build the long term capacity for the work of social media management. We’ve seen substantive changes in how organizations are thinking about and implementing social media in the last few years, and I see some very important trends coming down the pike.
1. Convergence and integration.
By convergence, I mean that even though we traditionally come into an organization through one department, whether it’s communications, meetings, marketing, government relations, IT, or anything else (you name it), it becomes very obvious right from the beginning that social media management can’t remain in one silo. But where in the past, we slowly built and worked through centralized processes in order to figure out how to open the doors of communication between departments, we’re now seeing more and more organizations wanting to more proactively decentralize the work from day one. From a marketing perspective, all of your marketing content HAS to come from multiple areas of the organization (every department has a product or service to market or share or communicate about) – and that convergence is where content strategy becomes, well, strategic, and holistic, and everyone is aware of what everyone else wants to communicate. One association we work with has set up what they call a “leveraging committee”, whose job it is to collect information (stories, communications) from multiple departments and figure out how to best leverage it throughout their social media sites but ALSO through their email marketing and main website and print and any other traditional communications vehicles they have.
Integration is my word for the technology side of this coin, the social CRM piece if you will (to use another buzzword) – if organizations have their social media management less silo’ed in one department, that means they have the capacity to pay more attention to those business goals that will drive the success of their social efforts. For associations those business goals will almost always fall into one of four categories: retention, recruitment, outreach, and sales. And in order to know whether your social media work is achieving better retention, more members, more reach or more advocacy, or more registrations, you have to track that data. There will never be one tool that tracks everything (social and marketing and other) – but organizations are realizing that the connection points between different kinds of data matter. And that you have to choose the metrics that apply to the goals you’ve set for any one social activity or campaign in order to know if it’s working. And we’re seeing that becoming a more integrated activity.
2. Social business.
Jamie Notter and I write a lot about social business, but in this context, as a trend, what I’m seeing is a growth in all kinds of collaborative technologies that are NOT about marketing, but about management. About human resources, social HR –Jamie’s paper on changing how you do performance reviews has been insanely popular. About collaborative strategy. About tons of new internal communications tools that break down silos. About new ways to communicate an organization’s culture and brand values and have its staff fully participate in sharing and growing that culture. Social business to me is about the human principles that drive social media seeping into the inside guts of an organization, way beyond just external-facing social media marketing.
3. Social leadership.
Here’s another big trend I’m seeing – a lot of interest (and data to support it, including our own) from the C-suite in what it means to be a social leader (and it’s not necessarily having to be all over Twitter all day). It’s also about supporting social principles in your organization, being the champion for the culture changes that becoming a social business requires. I talked about this recently after I did a presentation for a client on the topic, and as a result of demand I’m expanding the talk into a full webinar that Jamie will join me on – more details will be forthcoming. But the bottom line is, once the C-suite starts to take notice, that means something.
Do these resonate? What trends are you seeing?