We’ve all been there. As a hotbed for startups, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of networking events to attend in DC. However, as many a young professional will lament, a fair amount of these events take the form of networking breakfasts. As in before work. And because I am familiar with the angst that accompanies having to set one’s alarm clock an hour earlier than usual, I think it’s worth sharing when these events turn out to be well worth the effort.
One such event took place this past Tuesday at the Gannett/USA Today corporate headquarters in McLean–Potomac TechWire’s Social Media Outlook 2013. As GMG’s resident social media maven I was hopeful that I would be able to take away some useful trend predictions, tactics and opinions on the future of the most talked about, but arguably least understood, aspect of marketing in the digital age.
So, where is social media going in 2013? Independent marketing expert, author and blogger Rohit Bhargava kicked off the event by laying out what he sees as the top seven social media trends in 2013:
- Shoptimization: Technology and apps will make shopping easier and more personalized.
- Partnership publishing: Somewhere in between DIY print on demand publishing and traditional publishing houses is DIT–do it together. Content creators can build customized teams for publishing and distribution.
- Human banking: Have you used Mint.com? Or heard of parents being able to set up online “allowance accounts” for kids to learn how to manage their money? Apps like these will humanize banking and make it easier for people to understand what’s going on with their money.
- Mefunding: Crowdfunding gets über-personal by giving individuals the ability to more easily raise money for their personal causes.
- Hyper-local commerce: Local commerce is nothing new, but new social networks and services will make commerce super localized, connecting consumers with local business and vice versa.
- Friend-sourced travel: Who knows what you’d like to do on vacation better than your friends? New apps allow your friends to curate your travel experience with their recommendations.
- Degree-free learning: It’s no longer necessary to be physically present in a classroom for four years, with sites like creativeLIVE and UnCollege.
Noticing a trend here? It’s all about the individual. So, what does this mean for marketing and PR peeps looking to make the most of social media in 2013? Be a social business rather than just a business that does social media. Co-create content with consumers rather than pushing marketing messages, which are largely unwelcome in the social realm. Think about the underlying message a brand represents and encourage consumers to talk about that (see Coca-Cola and Oreo for some great examples). Connecting with the individual is difficult, but is the way for any brand to succeed with social. Are you up to the challenge?