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5 Top Social Media Trends and How To Use Them For Your Business

We are seeing the social web continue to evolve as the access and interface to the internet moves from geeky, private and desk bound to intuitive, social and mobile.

Facebook’s web traffic has now surpassed Google, the Apple iPad provided a mobile computer that is always on and easy to use and Apple iPhone apps have started to become ubiquitous and even available for online shopping on the go while you commute to work. Tradesmen are even taking iPads onto work sites to source information and products rather than wait till they get home. People want “Lord Internet” on the job and on the go, they want it now in real time.

What are some of the major trends in social media and technology that will be felt with more impact through 2011 and beyond that you need to be aware of so that you can take your life and business to the next level and not become an extinct species that is struggling for relevance and survival.

1. Mobile

Mobile phones were something that you used for making a phone call and sending an SMS…. that was it but no longer! The smart phones have now become the web in you hand. This has emerged in just the last 3 years with the introduction of the Apple iPhone leading the charge with a design that took technology from the geeks by designing interfaces that are natural and intuitive with a usable interface that put technology power in the hands of the masses. The high speed mobile and wireless networks have also evolved to provide the backbone to distribute the data including video and images. It is transforming industries such as music, book publishing, online shopping and newspapers. Mobile makes it even easier to share with your friends with Facebook and Twitter apps at your fingertips.

Actions to take advantage of this trend

  • Develop an iPhone app for your business that makes your customers lives easier and provides information quickly and easily. Domino’s developed an iPhone app that made it easy for it’s customers to order resulting in $2 million in sales in just 3 months.
  • Start planning now to create a iPad app that provides interactive and rich interactive content that is compelling and addictive so your customers keep coming back. iPad apps will move on from being just fun to a serious productivity platform.
  • Develop an iPhone app for your online store to make it easy for customers to buy on the go with a few easy clicks.

2. Social Media Integration

Integration of the social web into everything we do online is continuing to develop and mature. The silos of private and public data that were hidden from view are now being made public and shared instantly and seamlessly in real time. Websites and blogs are including Facebook share and Twitter retweet buttons. Comments are now being accepted as normal and vital for feedback and crowd sourcing of ideas and problem solving. YouTube videos are being embedded in websites providing both instruction and education as well as entertainment. In essence you need to be constantly thinking about how you can continue to integrate your social media channels into your website.

Actions to take advantage of this trend

  • Create a blog for your website
  • Add Facebook and Twitter share buttons for content areas of your website and blog
  • Set up a video channel on YouTube and think of creative ways you can use video for educating, entertaining and instructing your customers and emed these videos in your website and blog.
  • Integrate social features and functions into your online store

3. Social Web Democracy

Digital trust, democracy and comfort have been created by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. People that were previously afraid of technology are now using it with confident assurance and competence. The technology is easy to use and quick to setup. The aging baby boomers are now Facebook fiends that are adopting technology with glee. This is moving the power into the hands of the individual not the faceless corporation or the nanny state government bureaucracy. The tools now exist for your business or personal brand to not rely on third parties to disseminate and distribute information. The tools, technology and power are available today.

Actions to take advantage of this trend

  • Create a personal brand that provides you with power over your career and business instead of allowing PR, marketing and recruitment agencies to be your only owner of your brand. This doesn’t mean stop using them it means that you need to start the journey where you can talk and communicate directly with your clients instead of through a third party.
  • Start advertising on Facebook with a banner ad that targets your customer demographic and locations. You don’t need to ring a magazine or an Ad agency you can take control of this yourself
  • Start taking control of your own marketing by creating content that is compelling for your customers and start engaging customers with your website and blog.

4. Location

The mobile revolution with its permission based “opt in” location technology is providing businesses with new tools that can provide real time marketing offers and vouchers that will deliver offers to consumers. Foursquare led this and Layar is adding an augmented reality dimension to this landscape but don’t forget Facebook’s “Places” feature as they have the data and the market already in place.

Action to take advantage of this trend

  • Start playing with Foursqare, Layar and Facebook “Places” and start thinking about how you could use this for your business

5. Google’s Social Search

You may not have noticed it but Google is continuing to ensure it is relevant in a social web world as it it continues to refine its search capability. You can now search on Google for Twitter updates including live and archived tweets as well as search blogs and videos. Twitter updates are even appearing in mainstream search along with videos.

Actions to take advantage of this trend

  • Create social media accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that will appear on Google search
  • Actively use the accounts so that Google will start ranking your social media channels in its search engine

So how can you use these trends to your advantage and how are you currently involved?

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