Section One: “World of Mouth™”.
Why is there a need for social media? Why has it become the most popular activity on the Web in less than three years?
Despite fragmentation caused by the Web, people still desire an understanding of what the majority is doing. Social media is that mechanism.
In the future we will no longer look for the news; rather the news will find us or we will create it. That future is now.
Section Two: Macro Behavioral Shift #1 – Preventative.
Two distinct forms of behavior have emerged in this new age. The first one is preventative, e.g., you may hide the alcoholic drink in your hand behind your back, or you may choose to not take that photo with the two waitresses on your next business trip.
Similar constructs apply to corporations. Companies are starting to think hard about actions that could cause a negative reaction in the blogosphere or social graph.
While preventative behavior is somewhat of a downer compared to the socially unaccountable freedom our parents enjoyed in the '60s, it's a good thing on the whole. It's making us adhere to the old adage "live your life as if everyone is watching."
Section Three: Macro Behavioral Shift #2 – Braggadocian.
The second, more exciting behavioral change is that of the braggadocian ilk. As people continue to mirco-blog and update their status on social networks, it soon becomes a competition of who's doing the coolest thing. What once took place only periodically around the water cooler is now happening real-time.
As a society, this is a good thing. It allows people to take stock of their collective lives and what they're doing periodically throughout the day, rather than letting years go by and looking back upon a wasted youth and saying "what did I do with my life?"
Is there any wonder why the television viewing audience is shrinking by the minute? People are actually living their own lives rather than watching others. As a company it’s imperative that you produce products and services that people not only want to be associated with your brand, but also take ownership of it.
Out: Reality TV.
In: Reality Social Media.
Section Four: “Social Media Delivers Obama the White House”.
For an indication of how powerful social media already is, we need to look no further than Barack Obama’s meteoric rise to power.
Section Five: Socialommerce: Buying the right baby seat.
Socialommerce: Social Media will return results to your search queries around products and services of interest indicating what the 181 friends within your network found relevant, researched, purchased, and commented on.
Socialommerce example: “Buying the right baby seat”.
Socialommerce eliminates multiple individual redundancies in society. This is obviously a tremendous benefit in terms of saving people’s time, wasted energy and frustration; but it is also mission critical for companies to understand that the impact of social media shifts their traditional business practices from marketing to recruiting to manufacturing.
Section Six: “Schizophrenia Killer”.
People play various roles in their own lives and take on different personalities depending on whom they are with or where they are interacting. A person has their work persona, which is much different than their nightlife persona, which in turn is different from their family persona, etc.
The same holds true for corporations, on one side they donate millions to the word reserve fund, but on the other hand they are dumping millions of gallons of toxic waste into the clean water supply.
The transparency and speed of information flow caused by social media mitigates this type of Schizophrenic behavior.
Section Seven: “Winners and Losers in a 140 character world”.
What capabilities and characteristics are needed for people, politicians, companies, etc. to be successful in a transparent and sound-bite crazed world? A world in which social media is driving.
Celebrities (e.g. Rick Sanchez of CNN) are twittering with Joe Six Pack because they need Joe Six Pack more than Joe Six Pack needs them. More and more people are getting rid of cable TV altogether and watching their favorite shows, debates and movies online.
Referrals are the most effective form of marketing. Social Media allows referral marketing to go to unforeseen heights. Companies will move dollars from traditional advertising to give incentives to users/buyers to discuss their product within a social media context. This will often occur at the point of purchase.
Conversations with prospects/consumers will occur within the platforms (Facebook, Hi5, YouTube, Eons, etc). Consumers will not allow you to force them into your database and communicate through the traditional marketing channels (phone, direct mail).
What do these recent and violent shifts mean and how can individuals and corporations capitalize on them?
A few case studies will be highlighted in this section. This will range from “Can behavioral search data predict Presidents?” to “Why NBC's record online Olympic viewing was Fools Gold.”