2011- Where are your Trends?

Happy New Years BRANDEblog readers. Best wishes to all of you, particularly those who have been following us since our first post in 2005.
Lets get trendy, let’s hop on the BRANDwagon and start 2011 off with a trends piece.

In an excellent blog post, Gary Halliwell, the co-founder of NetProspex, spilled his thoughts about the top 6 social media trends to look out for in 2011.

Among the most notable highlighted driving revenue: moving beyond Facebook, flourishing in the world of “word-of-digital,” delivering happiness to both employees and consumers, and operating in real-time.

As I digested his analysis on future social media trends, and some key words, phrases and interpretations stuck out.

Word-of-digital.
When you get a piece of information via email, post, Tweet, blog, etc. did you know that piece of information may have traveled two or three degrees before reaching you? The future of “word-of-mouth”, this phrase relates to the movement of companies using more than just Facebook to get their message out there. When you pass information along in cyber space, it doesn’t stop there. It can get passed onto thousands more people, people you have never spoken to and don’t even know exist. This concept, the notion of “word-of-digital,” is where companies will focus their social media efforts in 2011. The perfect example of word-of-digital: retweets. This is the act of forwarding, spreading and continuing the flow of information indefinitely. Why is this different? When a user retweets a piece of information, he is electing to do so himself. As a result, other users trust this piece of information because a fellow user is recommending it, as opposed to reading it from a company feed.

Employees vs. customers.
Traditionally, customers always come first. Because they are the ones consuming, smart companies have always had good customer service. However, digital times are changing, and company employees are moving up in the rankings. As Halliwell says, “Social is about “we” – a dimension that few companies are used to operating in.” Social is about “we,” meaning everyone involved in the brand, rather than just customers. Good customer service requires good customer service employees, which requires happiness amongst all employees. Think about it: if an employee is not happy where he is working, will he treat the customers he deals with well? Reacting to customer complaints in real-time means employees must be motivated, well-treated, and genuine.

CEO’s will start tweeting.
When you follow a company on Twitter, it is certainly not the CEO that is generating the click-y, SEO-friendly 140-character tweets. It is most likely an employee who has experience in the social realm and knows how to get users to click on their links. However, in 2011, social will begin to make its way toward higher management employees like presidents and CEO’s. (Think Zappos.) What better way to get company insight, direction and empowerment than to be able to follow the thoughts of the CEO? Users, other CEO’s and competitor companies can generate creativity, meaningful brainstorming and empowerment by personally connecting with the management of a company they are interested in. Just because social media is young doesn’t mean it belongs only to people in their twenties and thirties. The more people who us it, the bigger and better it will become.

Where do you see your social going in 2011? Will you be looking out for certain trends?
Those wishing to be featured during my upcoming SHRM speaking engagement, please share.

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