2012 will be the year of the multimedia social network. Photo and video based social interaction will grow. Given that the camera on your smartphone is almost as good as your actual camera, the multimedia driven social networks are here to stay and will be an emerging force for brands in 2012.
Convergence Emergence (Traditional and Social)
Marketing campaigns will increasingly integrate social with real life. For example, as part of a recent campaign, Dominos Pizza posted unfiltered feedback on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source. These types of trans-media experiences are likely to define social in the year to come.
Ideas, opinions, media and status updates are all part of what makes social media a powerful and often disruptive force. The media industry was one of the first to understand this, adding sharing options to content, which led to more page views and better status in search results. What comes next in social sharing is more closely aligned with e-commerce or web transactions. Sharing that holiday that you’ve just booked, or recommending a product, or service from any site to a social network is where sharing goes next.
Outsourcing Content Creation
Content will play a bigger role as social media becomes more mainstream. However, stretched marketing teams will struggle with adding content creation to their already full plates. Marketers will therefore need to find a sustainable model for continually creating new content, which may include more outsourcing. As social media matures, efficiency will become an increasingly important factor.
The Cult of Influence
In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. To some degree everyone now has some digital influence (not just celebrities, academics, policy makers or those who sway public opinion). But for the next year, the cult of influence becomes more about the tools and techniques professionals use to “score” digital influence and actually harness, scale and measure the results of it.
The trend in online games, already popular in the entertainment industry, is set to extend to the travel industry according to recent research. The WTM Global Trends Report 2011 reveals the ‘gamification of travel’ is already taking hold with companies and tourism organisations including Lufthansa and Tourism Ireland using gaming techniques to create brand awareness and build loyalty.
Last year Tourism Ireland unveiled its Ireland Town game on Facebook giving it the potential to engage with more than 62 million people. Campaigns such as ‘Nothing Like Australia’ encouraged Australians to upload a photo and share their holiday experiences with the world. The experiences were than used to create an interactive map. According to Gartner, by 2015 more than 70% of Forbes Global 200 companies will have at least one gamified application.
Convergence of Social and Mobile
Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, the number one way that consumers will be interacting with the internet is via their smartphones and tablets.Companies need to think about how existing core marketing initiatives carry through to the mobile web. It needs to be just as easy for someone on a mobile device not only to access content but also to act on that content in a social manner ie. “Like” it, share it etc.