Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

What's next in the evolution of social media?

Convergence. Flickr CC photo credit: paloetic What will be the next step in the evolution of social media? What is the number one "unique social media marketing tip [I] would give to an intermediate social media marketer?"

These questions were submitted by the 4th and 5th winners of my signed book giveaway! I'm still accepting entries, and all you have to do is ask me an interesting question for a chance to win. OK, on with the show.

Amira Fahoum asks:

As social media continues to evolve and change how we interact with each other--both personally and commercially--what will be the next step in the evolution?

I call it “universal convergence.” Channels, devices, data—these elements of communication are all being woven together. Think single streams, seamless experiences. What we formerly called “In Real Life” (IRL)—the physical world—is increasingly inextricable from the digital world. IRL is now digital, social, and physical rolled into one.

And in a similar way, identities are converging. I’ve worked for people I’ve never met beyond digital channels. I have deep friendships with people I met first on Twitter, and some of those relationships spilled over into face-to-face conversations over barbecue, professional collaborations, etc . I’ve even mourned the deaths of a handful of people whom I only knew through social media, and it felt no less real. At a certain point, we’ll replace phrases like “my Twitter friend” with simply “friend.”

Commercially, we’re seeing a convergence of brands and people. In other words, we’ll be buying from brands because we value the people behind the brands, and a lot of that determination will be based on our encounters with those people on social media. We’re also seeing an intolerance of any disparities between a brand’s social persona and every other part of the brand presence. That’s because the social presence will be decentralized, and not holed up in corporate HQ. If I tweet a hardware question to a hardware store, I want people with hardware knowledge to answer it—not marketing people like me. So, I’m looking forward to systems that put that power (and responsibility) in the hands of select front-line employees.

Whitney Denney asks:

What is the number one unique social media marketing tip you would give to an intermediate social media marketer? Don't tell me something I can find 20 articles on in Google. I need something fresh and motivating!

Oy vey, so demanding, Whitney! OK, I’m game.

Stop trying to make your brand likable. Most people don’t want relationships with most brands, and loyalty is now sustained only by utility. Useful sells. Likable merely amuses. Most money in social media by companies is spent on being likable, while usefulness is neglected.

Reverse the order! Focus on delivering relentless utility through your brand’s social presence to win the wallet.

That’s it for the second batch of book giveaway winners! Remember, you can still enter to win your own signed copy. But if you just can’t wait and you’re into sure things, buy a copy today! If you've read the book, please leave an honest review on Amazon. 




© 2016 Ian Greenleigh