Had your fill of Social Media Predictions? Some say this is the age of advocacy and experience marketing. Others say it’s the year of proprietary audience, content purpose, content quality and SoLoMoPro. One thing is for certain. This is the year of the oxymoron.
If you assume that most social media experts are correct in their predictions, then we are likely entering a year of:
- Open Secrets
- Personalized Anonymity
- Erasable Relationships
- Paid Trust
- Unwinding Fatigue
- Longer but Shorter-Form Content
- Smaller Use of Big Data
- Interrupting Permission Marketing
- More Exact Estimates
- Social Technology
- Acting Naturally
- A Pretty Ugly Facebook
In summary brands should focus on building lasting, but ephemeral relationships using outbound techniques for inbound marketing in an anonymous, but highly personal media. What’s wrong with this picture?
Call it social privacy, the term itself is a contradiction. But consider this paradox in objectives. Organizations today are arguably more concerned about data security than ever before. From Edward Snodan’s Big Brother NSA revelations to HealthCare.gov’s security concerns and Target’s massive data leaks, security breaches have made more brands sensitive to their domain privacy.
At the same time, they are embracing cloud resources more than ever to help scale their social media participation. It sounds like they are taking measures for their public space to be private and their private space to go public?
Following the Weinergate saga and other public snafus, consumers are also getting sensitive to their social privacy. The early successes of Snapchat and Whisper are testimony to the rising popularity among Millennials to erase any potential of wrongdoing or less than desirable make-up.
At the same time, we expect high-context content to reach these audiences with hyper-targeted precision that is now possible from knowing what they like, where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. So are we trying to find out as much as we can about anonymous fans?
And don’t forget to build lasting relationships and lifetime value with these folks before the media expires. You have 6 seconds to make that happen on Vine. If they are using ephemeral media, you better hit the resend over and over and over.
Most agree we now have to pay-to-play for fans to notice our posts in their News Feeds. But wasn’t the purpose for maximizing organic reach to reward routine engagement of communities with relevant content? In return, these brands would be rewarded high exposure from those that supposedly know, like and trust the brand. So doesn’t ”pay-to-play” imply “buy my trust?”
A common complaint cited in many 2014 social media predictions relates to social media fatigue. The reduced attention span of consumers is pressuring brands to consider shorter bursts of video based content.
But wait. Don’t forget to pack more into our audience’s decompression time. Podcasting and wearable computer technologies are expected to rise in popularity as burned out content users seek more ways to cram in content at the gym, in the car and on the couch.
Do you remember the early definitions of inbound marketing or permission-based marketing? We were avoiding the use of interrupting and non-permissive advertising techniques which were more about “telling us” rather than “inviting us.” The concept relied on the use of social media and content marketing to earn the attention of prospective customers.
This contrasted to the more interrupted style of broadcasted, outbound marketing. But with a deluge of competing content, many brands are quickly resorting to the promotion of links and social ads to their content. i.e., we are using outbound approaches to trigger our inbound marketing.
Longer but Shorter Content
Many experts predict 2014 will be the year where attention span deterioration forces a greater consumption of short-form, video content. Consumers will expect 15-second Instagram videos and other micro-content. And many experts agree that short-form will trump long-form in viewership and engagement.
At the same time, top social media forecasters are predicting an inordinate rise in longer-form content as brand publishers response to what Google’s search algorithms prefer in their high quality content assessments. So the long and short of it is: ”Tweet a teaser to your richer media experience and more complete brand story where and when Google’s Hummingbird and a more available audience will give you the time of the day.”
Smaller Use of Big Data
Big data is the arguably the most cited trend in 2014 social media predictions. We have reached a point where massive amounts of contextual, historical and real-time data will be married to predictive behavior models for the perfectly hyper-targeted and behaviorally matched content. And all of this will be consumed on a smartphone, wristband or tiny watch.
Marketing in the year 2014 is often referred to as the age of engagement, entertainment and education. So we are being entertained and educated at the same time? How cool is that? Why couldn’t Sister Jolene understand that? We were only disrupting her teaching in response to the entertainment value she apparently didn’t recognize.
More Exact Estimates
Almost every 2014 social media prediction claims this is the year we crack the social ROI code. Really? So through native ad tracking and other big data revelations, we will now know the return on influence?
Granted our measurement methods are far more precise than what we could muster up from traditional advertising. But even the most trackable content marketing program requires a great deal of time to get real data. The most we could probably expect from recent advances in closed loop analytics and big data are more exact estimates.
This is perhaps the ultimate oxymoron. If anything, the emergence of wearable and other social technologies has hijacked relationships and promoted an anti-social atmosphere. If we are truly saddened by the hyper-texting culture witnessed during Thanksgiving dinner, imagine the deterioration of intimacy and conversation when Google glasses hit the market.
With videos taking over content marketing as perhaps the most often cited 2014 prediction, brand publishers will have to develop a personal touch. One way to avoid the often criticized “corporate-speak” demeanor is to make a personal connection through a likeable persona. And to do this effectively, many social video experts suggest that we simply act naturally. Got it?
But aren’t we then acting? Or are we being natural? Or perhaps we are innately acting out our alter egos in a staged enactment of who we really are not but could be in a contrived natural setting. Maybe we should just be ourselves.
Pretty Ugly Facebook
We knew it was a matter of time before the once darling of the social media world lost its luster. Millennials, in particular, are flocking to Tumblr, Snapchat and even Twitter as their distrust and dissatisfaction with Facebook grows. And by earning the lowest score in the business value, marketers have expressed their disappointment in Facebook as well.
And with the recent strides made by Pinterest, a revamped Google+ and a LinkedIn Pulse/Slideshare/Hootsuite make-over, it’s no wonder Snapchat refused to bite on a $3 billion offer from Facebook. Only time will tell if pay-to-play will be the bane of its legacy. But for now, Facebook is looking pretty ugly.
So what can you add to this year’s social media oxymorons?