The Future Of Social Media

On Tuesday last week I went along to the morning session of the NEXT day at Digital Shoreditch, a two week long festival for digital creatives. Speaking was Greg Williams, Executive Editor at Wired, Ben Scott Robinson, Creative Director at We Love Mobile and Matthew Cooke, Founder of Unruly Media... to name a few. Below is a light round up of our possible future, both online and off, as predicted by these speakers. An emphasis on a seamless connections between the digital world and reality, and how new technology can enable this was the key focus for the talks.
Even with the rise of online and mobile advertising spend, TV advertising is still attracting a lot of business. It’s even forecasted for online/mobile advertising to match TV spend by 2014. What is also predicted, is the affect of “second screen” in TV campaigns will evolve their purpose into fueling customer conversation (bring on the Community Manager jobs!) If we look at the recent Prometeus film TV advert as an example and the subsequent Twitter TV advert response (see story #2), we can see evidence of this happening now with forward thinking agencies. Another example of this evolution and the affect online and mobile has on Television is the BBC's conversations during Social Media Week. I attended an event where they discussed the way that “second screen” affects news and current affairs and how they predict this will continue with Olympics. The BBC even toyed with the idea of have a twitter feed open on screen during the games - what would Grandma say?!
“Mobile is the saviour of TV advertising; it's a platform to get people engaging and to allow you to gauge success.”
Ben Scott Robinson, We Love Mobile
With the possibility of measuring engagement on both mobile and web, you can see the affect of advertising instantly - sshhh, don't tell advertisers, they'll ask for the ROI again. It's this and the decline of spend in print media which is foreseeable to continue in the upcoming years, that will result in management changing their business model to accommodate it.
It’s reported that a massive 80% of the world has access to a mobile phone (that’s more than the number of people with access to clean water!) – this not only changes the way we advertise but also has an affect on other industries such as retail and banking. The importance of a “mobile wallet” is increasingly evident in countries where access to a mobile phone is more common that people having a bank account. As voice use declines, mobile providers now concentrate on data. From mobile content to access to social networks - users want it all. Just looking at the range of businesses that rely on Facebook is huge – which begs us to ask if it has reached saturation? As well as, “beyond the walled gardens, beyond app stores, beyond the social networks, there is more waiting to happen”?

The affect of social media and the companies that have spawned from it.

Another take away from the day was the importance of reviews and recommendations when purchasing, and not only from our peers - 80% people research a product before they buy. This is further evidence of the importance of connecting the real world with digital to push through purchases as well as encouraging loyalty through rich engagement on digital platforms. Advances in technology from companies like Connecthings help can bridge the physical and digital worlds. From shopper’s reviews, to live bus updates and translations of signs for foreign visitors, the possibilities seem limitless using NFC to bring together contextual information for users with location based software. It was explained that all this engagement is data rich that can be used with a CMS platform that has the ability to manage both content and network, as well pull out key insights for the brands involved. 
Finally, it was the importance of storytelling and the cognitive affects of narrative on human behavior that is predicted to change the face of brand advertising and PR in the next few years. In 140 characters, throughout the day millions of people across the globe share the stories from their lives on Twitter, with photos on Instagram and with video on YouTube. Like design, storytelling has become key for businesses to define their purpose and create a relationship with their customers. It can even affect how we interact and feel towards brands.  With new technology (tablets and smartphones) we now have the ability to share stories without the traditional gatekeepers, which not only give consumers a voice but gives brands the ability to humanise themselves. With this vast amount of content floating around the web it’s easy to say that content is cheap, however, finding meaning within that is not and it is what brands should strive for. As Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder once said, "data is the new oil." 
Lazy take-aways
Couldn't be bothered to read all of this? Don't blame you! Here is a break down of the above... 
·      NFC technology for the everyday person is now a reality, from information uploads to banking; soon we will be connected to everything wirelessly.
·      The “Second screen” affect on advertising - the integration of mobile when creating memorable campaigns and when to consider mobile or TV as that “second screen”.
·      With the increase of social media, storytelling has become an integral part of brand awareness – this will become increasingly important as social platform enable brand to become more “human”.

During the session we saw quite a few case studies and but it was Bing’s particular use of storytelling in association with the launch of Jay Z’s autobiography ‘De Code’ which was highly impressive.
Anyway, it it was an interesting morning and I wish I could be more indulgent and attend more of these but... I have to work for a living.