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Social Media Trends

I had the fun of introducing our hot digital trends event last night.

Have a look at the presentation here the central arrow in the bottom tool bar at the bottom to go through the presentation and view the embedded videos)

1 Social media trends overview

We kick started the session with some statements by Jeff Jarvis author of "what would Google do?" and linked to some very useful video summarising the exponential growth of social media

  • "Markets are conversations. That means the key skill in any organisation today is no longer marketing but conversing"
  • "The mass market is dead, replaced by a mass of niches"
  • "Customers are now in charge, . They can be heard around the goble and have an impact on institutions in an instant"
  • "People can find each other anywhere and coalesce around you, or against you"

2 "Old" New media

I then suggested there is a range of "old" new media which travel organistions are getting to grips with such as Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, YouTube, Trip Advisor, Linked In and so forth. Organisations are putting their own platforms in place here - just as in the 1990s companies began to develop their own websites.

3 "New" new media

I think there is a danger that companies only look at what is popular and proven now and aren't looking around the corner at new media trends ahead. Some potential future new social media trends to be aware of are as follows

- Location based games - Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places. These are games where you can say where you are and check in to earn badges and points. So if someone logs onto Foursquare and says they are in a particular hotel - that hotel could offer them a particular deal or tips about what to do. Newspapers like the Eastern Daily Press are adding their tips on Foursquare. An astronaut even checked in from space recently on Foursquare.

We've audited Foursquare comments for clients and found travellers complaining about the quality of wifi or checkin services. So any travel company out there should make sure it's aware of these conversations and provide information and responses to people engaged in these discussions. In May. Foursquare had 1 million users. It now has four million. That's a long way off Facebook's 500 million but keep watching and see what develops. Foursquare recently started working with a fitness company to allow people to earn badges and points as they reached certain training levels, rather than just being physically present somewhere. That's a hugely interesting idea for any travel company or destination.

- Aggregation services for social media.  I confess to thinking that Google Wave would solve a consumer dilemma. How do I keep up with all my social media plaforms? I was wrong. Google Wave was launched with much fanfare last year and has quietly sunk. However there are new services emerging which might tackle this issue. Take a  look at Flipboard as one example. This is an app which takes social media feeds such as Twitter and Facebook and presents them in a dynamic magazine format. If I'm reading a twitter feed from my Flipboard I don't have to click on a link within 140 characters to see the full article - it's all displayed in Flipboard together with any video or graphics. It's a great service.

-New media platforms. The social media world is huge and anything that helps us to streamline it is going to be big news in the future. I love platforms like Pulse and Newsy which allow me to tailor the news I watch, or which provides an edited summary of one news story from multiple sources

- Magazines becoming websites/digital. It's probably my age but when I see a magazine like Wired on my ipad come to life with videos and moving graphics I absolutely love it. Conde Nast has been leading the field in magazine publishing for new ways of presenting their content. Esquire is now live and Conde Nast Traveller will have a digital edition next year. Check out the Conde Nast cruise guide and Gold List apps that are already out there.

- Google TV. It's amazing. I'm going to allow myself to be seduced by Google marketing and hope I'm not as misled as I was by Google Wave. Google TV means we won't need to group around a laptop to watch iplayer programmes. But it also means we can use our TVs to search videos and websites from our TV sets. It appears to be mind-blowingly elegant and, as new sets with Google TV embedded within them become the norm this could change the way people use TV and laptops/mobiles in the home.

4 Top tips to prepare now

As you can tell I'm excited by the changes and potential ahead. But a few simple practical tips for travel companies so they are set up to take advantage of these new technologies now

1. Listen.  Make sure you're listening to every element of social media. There are new platforms emerging and developing and you need to be aware of conversations in all of them

2. Invest in video. Don't just wait for the media to report on you. Youtube yourself now. Be prepared for the explosion of need for video in the future. In my presentation this week I linked to three videos which had been created to show how new technology can work. Why not create a video to demonstrate a new hotel, a new attraction a new airline route. Embed this in your website and use it to reach out to potential travellers, media and bloggers

3. Develop conversations as well as words. Press packs and websites just aren't enough. Use that content and offer information to bloggers, to niche Facebook groups, edit your Wikipedia entry, check that Trip Advisor has the right links and information to your organisation

It's a brave new world. Enjoy


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