Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Social Media Themes

Kurt Kloeblen (@kcklo63)of Kansas City's KCTV5 asked me if I would discuss Social Media developments for a Top Five of 2009 recap article. A huge thank you to Kurt for asking for my thoughts! When I sat down to my keyboard and contemplated, social web themes came to mind more than actual developments.

You can read the whole KCTV5's Top 5 Of 2009 including Jeff Smith's (@jeffisageek) expert thoughts on the 2009 top gadgets and tech advances.

Here's the social media portion including my thoughts:

Although social media became known by quite a few people in 2009, Zena Weist has been living it far longer than just this year. As a social media strategist, Weist has worked with Sprint, Hallmark and Embarq to implement their social media strategies and many of those have come to the forefront in 2009, the year social media hit the mainstream. Weist regularly blogs and speaks about social media in Kansas City and throughout the country.

Weist's Top 5 Social Media Trends of 2009:

1. Social Goes Mainstream
When your grandma is friending you on Facebook and your boss is on Twitter along with most celebs, you know social media has hit a majority of American households. eMarketer estimated in May that by the end of 2009, 96.6 million US Internet users will be reading blogs. According to a Pew Study, 46 percent of adult Web users are on social networking sites. Of those users, 73 percent have a Facebook account, while 48 percent are on MySpace, 14 percent on LinkedIn and just 6 percent on Twitter. So are we really using the social Web? These stats from Palo Alto Networks show we are:

- Twitter session usage grew more than 250 percent since April 2009.

- Facebook usage increased by 192 percent, surpassing Yahoo! IM and AIM.

- SharePoint collaboration increased bandwidth usage 17-fold since April.

- Blogs and Wiki posting increased by a factor of 39, with bandwidth increasing by 48.

2. Community Sourcing Evolves From Crowd Sourcing
Instead of asking a group of strangers for input, individuals rely more and more on their social Web circle for help. Social media is helping us move away from the notion of crowd sourcing and step up to community sourcing. If you invest your time and energy in your online community, your community will lift you up.

- When Chris Brogan and Julien Smith launched their book, "Trust Agents," they focused on social media word-of-mouth. Their book made the INC magazine's best of, New York Times best of, 's best of, and 800CEORead's best of book lists.
- The #BeatCancer campaign - Over a 24-hour period at Blog World Expo '09, MillerCoors, eBay/PayPal and Genesis Today sponsored a campaign via Twitter that raised over $70,000 for four nonprofit cancer groups.
- Shellie Ross, whose Twitter handle is @military_mom, asked her community to pray for her son after a drowning accident via Twitter. Her tribe not only prayed for her, but also came to her defense when a few Twitterers questioned Shellie's motives for tweeting about her son's death.

3. The Year Companies Stepped Down From The Podium
In 2009, organizations took notice of the successes companies (Zappos, Best Buy, AMC, Sprint, Sharpie, Ford, Dell, etc.) that have been listening online are experiencing. More and more businesses are using social media monitoring tools, as local firms Spiral16 or Infegy offer, to listen to their customers, prospects and competitors online. These companies are analyzing the discussions occurring online about their products and services, then they are finding appropriate ways to join in the conversation to amplify positive brand word-of-mouth. They are walking away from the 100-yard-dash-style pitch monologues and sitting down in front of their laptops for the more marathon-style dialogues.

4. Traditional + Online + Social = Integrated Media
In marketing, the shift from afterthought add-on for social media to a medium that can belly up to the bar with TV, radio, print, outdoor and online display is beginning. Examples:
- H1N1 Awareness: All traditional media, display ads, search engine marketing, several social apps
- Budlight "Check Your Dudeness" campaign: TV, print, display ads, search engine marketing, Facebook application
- Dunkin' Donuts': "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" campaign: Print, display ads, search engine marketing, Facebook and mobile applications

5. Gaming Google for Gold
All content providers want Google Juice (better search engine result page rankings) and some are looking for the easy way out via content farms. In 2009, the divide between free content providers like wikiHow and ad-driven content providers like broadened. Free content providers rely solely on experts passion and depth of topic to answer questions. Ad-driven content providers pay writers to research topics and provide information on it. To me, it's the Big Box Content vs Soloprenuer Content challenge. In 2010, I think we'll see search engine algorithms become more savvy in discerning between the quality of content and the quantity of content.

These themes only touched the surface. What do you think the social media trends were in 2009? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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