With the recent IPO of LinkedIn, to be IPO of Groupon and chatter of the maybe IPOs of the rest, I started to ponder where social media is taking us. From a day to day outlook, it feels as chaotic as the pre-biotic earth. And like that world, we’re on the cusp of an explosion of digital chemistry where the internet, social media, mobile communication and new technologies begin to converge. The combination and reaction of different elements can bring us transformative products that we never would have imagined. As alchemists, we are mixing social into all aspects of our lives and finding new ways to do every day things. A cup of social with a splash of internet brings us Bing Social. Social and mobile combine into Foursquare. Social plus buying begets Facebook Deals.
But where can all of these social compounds go? One of the future paths of social may be the hyper-personalization of our consumer lifestyles—hyper local, hyper relevant and hyper instantaneous… if instantaneous isn’t hyper enough as it is. For example, if I were to sign up for Google Wallet, my mobile device will be armed with three important pieces of information: my current purchase, my current location, and my interests as expressed through my own social activity. A quick mashup of information could send me a recommendation of other products to buy. Extend that a little further, and an offering can be delivered to my phone to encourage that purchase while I’m in a buying mood. With a hop, skip and a jump, I could even push out my purchase to my friends and encourage others to do the same. And with a little analytics, I can look around and find all the top selling products in the near vicinity that I may want to go grab next.
At the core of this scenario is the need for relevant information. And that’s what social is bringing to search, to marketing and to the real world through digital channels. Social media has dropped the barrier of expression by consumers, along with the barrier to understanding intent for brands. Every social interaction in the digital world has become my digital footprint, containing a representation of me and taken everywhere I am or will be. Engagement and messaging is only the first stage in use of Social—one that is necessary for the humanization of the brand. We’re evolving into a new world where the digital conversations will be constant, contextual and compelling, allowing us to engage just in time and just as desired.
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