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A recent article on Forbes.com, by Avi Savar, Founder and CCO of Big Fuel, a social media agency that is part of Publicis Groupe, discusses three trends and tools to watch in 2012 in the ever-evolving landscape of social media.
1. Geo-Gaming – Savar predicts that 2012 will be the year that geo-location technology – which allows consumers to ‘check-in’ on social media sites – goes transactional, while also allowing relationships between brands and consumer to become more personalized:
This is a game-changer for retailers because it enables them to put potential consumers in the context of time and place and more effectively influence purchase intent…The context of the offline world is crucial for marketers so they know what kind of message to deliver and how to interact with a customer at any given time. Is my potential customer in front of a store or on the couch? Is that person with people or alone?
Savar explains that geo-location will transition from a social action to one with monetary value – this will happen as marketers begin to reward users through gamification of loyalty programs and online interactions. For a more in-depth analysis of gamification and how it will be increasingly used in travel brands, read our trend report.
2. Facebook will continue to become our gateway to the entire web. Savar’s assertion here is that marketers will have to be careful in how the connect their commerce to the online social community:
[It’s] imperative that they do not cannibalize them for the sake of transactions… Imagine being at a party with people you know and feel comfortable with, and then suddenly, an outside group of revelers crashes your bash. It’s not the same party anymore. You don’t want to be there. You aren’t going to stick around.
He chronicles multiple examples of brands who have done this wrong, and then one who was able to correct the snafu and restore their image – Starbucks:
[The] brand had to act like a person. The company recognized that relationships are personal and that for a relationship to thrive, some base-line principles must be observed.
3. Brands will need to bring personalization into the social dynamic.
Savar points out that Facebook supplies three different ways for brands do do this – pages, social ads and sponsored stories:
The brand has delivered a story to someone on Facebook, and that person delivers the story to their Facebook friends.The Facebook triad of Pages-Ads-Stories is one example of how to create a loop using paid media dollars to drive earned media.