Last week, in Amsterdam, I learned a lot more than just how incredibly scenic the historic city is.
Social business trends are constantly changing, and new things pop up virtually every day. When I was speaking at a conference in Amsterdam last week, I took note of a few new social business trends that seem to be emerging.
Let me preface this by saying that while traveling, I have learned a lot about how each market differs considerably in their use of social media and social applications. While there are some overarching trends – like the fast expansion to mobile – there are niche trends that seem to overtake one market or another before going global (if they ever do). In Amsterdam, I was surrounded by some of the best and brightest minds in the world of digital and social business marketing from around Europe and the world, and this is what I took away from these sessions.
Niche Apps are the Future
One major social business trend that was mentioned on multiple occasions was the fact that the day of the broad, multidirectional social network (e.g. Facebook, Google+) is done. That is not to say that these networks will not continue to thrive (or, in some cases, just survive) but the general trend is towards apps that serve a niche. The Snapchats, Tinders and Instagrams of the world are what people are looking forward to, and that’s a pretty exciting thing for developers.
People have quickly realized that with Facebook’s critical mass reached, there really isn’t any room for another network like it. People have a place to talk to their friends, share pictures, articles and posts and waste time. Why would they need another version of it?
North America and Europe have Facebook, China has networks like Pengyou and Renren, Russia has Vkontakte, and there really isn’t any place for more. What there is room for is small apps that serve a very specific purpose. The beauty of these apps is that they can easily fit into other networks arsenals, and there is never a shortage of ideas. Just visit ItsThisForThat for proof!
A Greater Move Towards Understanding Analytics
Don’t get me wrong: this still has not happened to the degree it needs to in order for marketers to stop grinding their teeth. But there is hope. People are starting to become much more aware of the importance of analytics and beginning to take an interest in understanding what their social analytics mean (and how to build off of them).
The key to succeeding with analytics is setting goals. After all, if you don’t know what you’re measuring for, how can you possibly know if you’re doing a good job? Brands are starting to realize that, which makes the design and execution of social business strategies that much easier for people like me.
Tools are No Longer Idolized
At least, they are not idolized by the group of marketers and business people by whom I was surrounded. On every webinar I have attended or hosted, one of the first questions ever asked is, “What tools do you use?” Perhaps the greatest answer I ever heard to a question like that was from Gary Vaynerchuk, who essentially told the individual that it didn’t matter what tools he used because tools are worthless without a strategy. He was right then and he’s right now.
I’m thankful that people are starting to realize that. Throughout the summit, I did not hear a single question pertaining to the use of tools. People are finally starting to understand that it is all about the approach and structure of a program, and less about the magical non-existent tool that completes all of the work for you.
Of course, there are still people out there who care only about the “best tools” and less about the actual content, but during this session in Amsterdam, they weren’t present, and it was pretty refreshing.
Everything Looks Like It’s Out of a Painting
From the dark alleys to the most crowded streets, you’d swear you were walking through a Monet or Degas everywhere you go. It’s a place completely stuck in time, and in the most amazing way. My only recommendation is that the next summit be held on one of those tour boats that traverses the canals – though I think they’ll need a smaller screen.
There is a lot happening in the world of social business and it’s happening quite fast. Again, these social business trends might be unique to some markets, but based on what we have seen in this field, we can expect them to have the global impact I mentioned above. So keep your eyes open and expect to see these trends take shape in the market.
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