On March 23rd, Mark and Kendall of CurlyRed presented on the Future of Social Media at Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, sponsored by the Baltimore Business Journal.
If you weren't able to join us, we wanted to give you some of the highlights of our talk:
We begun our presentation by reviewing the history of social media, starting with chat rooms, instant messaging, and MySpace. We feel that the future is actually going to return to using social media as a way of really connecting with other people, instead of being "sold to" or using social media as a soapbox to complain about politics, etc.
We addressed the current social media platforms, and the different audiences they address.
We then spoke about how advertising within platforms (especially Facebook) has become more invasive. What used to be advertising on a sidebar, has now become sponsored posts and suggested content, designed to "trick" the viewer. This, plus the recent data breach, has left a lot of folks with a bad taste in their mouth. People no longer want to be "sold to," or have their privacy compromised.
Mark and Kendall then gave these three points on how to be successful in using social media and marketing moving forward:
1. Building brands through relationships. Social media should always be a 2-way street, an on-going conversation between two entities. If a business has a social media presence, then when customers ask questions, make comments, or voice concerns, the business needs to be prompt in addresses those comments and concerns. Customers want to feel heard and valued.
2. Provide value through relevant content. People have the option of paying attention to your business or organization. If your business or organization is adding value to someone's social media feed or daily experience, they are more likely to engage and ask for more. It's time to move away from traditional selling, and discover new ways to connect with potential customers.
3. Create brand ambassadors. Take your best customers or clients and make them organic salespeople for your brand. Empower them, both through tangible gifts and digital resources to talk about about how great you are, so you don't don't have to do all of the bragging! This can be an extremely profitable return on investment, and it often an underutilized marketing strategy.