There are some great blogs around at the moment about trends in social media. I have shared these with you below. But, what I wanted to do here is talk about the underlying trends in social media in business that are less obvious.
First, the blogs that are worth reading:
- The Emarsys blog: the 5 Social Media Trends Dominating 2016
- Jennifer Beese with her 6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016
- Social Media Trends That Will Transform Your Business in 2016 by Rebekah Radice
1. Business leaders are finally taking to social media
I am more interested in the B2B than consumer markets, and it has taken a long time for us all to figure out how to use social media as a relationship tool. This is partly because to have a relationship, you need two people in it! It’s taken the professions and senior people a long time to understand or start using social media. So if you want to engage online with a potential client, it’s hard to do if they aren’t there!
But, my first trend is that 2016 is the year when I have seen mainstream partners in law and accountancy firms really starting to impress with their social media habits. I think I predicted this would happen in 2010, so I have been waiting a long time!
2. Blogs are less advisory and more engaging
The second trend is that blogs are starting to become more about storytelling and vulnerable. They still have a long way to go, but leaders are trying to write more engagingly and less like a legal briefing or sales pitch for their company.
3. LinkedIn can replace websites
Once, if you wanted to be influential and a ‘thought leader’, you would publish a book. Then, blogs opened up a whole new world and you no longer needed to be an author. Now, you don’t even need your own blog site. You can just publish a blog directly to LinkedIn.
I was interested to see Tim Overfield, chief executive of Zetechtics, an oil and gas company who posted his first ever blog on LinkedIn a few weeks ago. He is new to social media and doesn’t have many connections on LinkedIn.
Yet the subject he wrote about ‘Why is There a Deafening Silence from Aberdeen?’ clearly hit home with an audience. He had nearly 3,000 views in the first day or so and 23 comments. For a first foray this is pretty impressive! What he had here is a topic that a lot of people are concerned about and no-one is highlighting. And social media is great of making the most of these thought leadership ideas.
I recently wrote a blog ‘Can You Network Too Much?’ talking about the problem of people kindly introducing you to people they think you will like – but when you don’t have time. Should you meet them or not? But in discussing this, I mentioned that I have noticed numerous times that blogs are actually doing my networking for me!
I gave two examples, which I repeat here because they were such eye-openers for me:
- I met a professional on the platform of a London train station and he said to me, ‘we aren’t too old for social media are we?’ I looked at him blankly for a minute and then realized I had written a blog weeks previously on this (Are You too Old at 50 for Social Media) and without my knowing it, he had read it and had some kind of a conversation in his head with me about this. So when I met him at the station, he was talking to me as if we’d chatted the previous week when actually, I hadn’t seen or talked to him for several years.
- And earlier this year I was back at a former client’s for a meeting, in their atrium, and their marketing manager passed and said hi. He then immediately started talking about whether LinkedIn should be in the first or third person – and again I realized this was a blog I had written on First or Third person for LinkedIn. He remembered far more about what I had said (slightly embarrassing) but chatted enthusiastically about it for five minutes. Again, I realized this had been a really strong networking ‘touch’ without my ever realizing it.
So, those are four trends in social media I have seen this year. I am not going to mention the obvious one about video becoming king because yes, it’s important, but I think most ‘ordinary’ businesses are still struggling to capitalize this the way they want and should.
And I include our own business in that!
What trends have you seen, and do you agree with these?