The Social Media MBA: Key Trends for 2012

What are the key B2C/B2B trends within social media that companies must address in 2012 to stay ahead? This was one of the questions that representatives from global and local brands that utilise social media strategies tried to address at the First Tuesday event at the Soho Hotel in London.

The evening started with a welcome ‘freebie’ – Christer Holloman’s new book ‘The Social Media MBA’ which has been out for 2 weeks and is already slated for a release in Spanish.

The influencers who contributed to Holloman’s book were also present to discuss their thoughts on trends and learnings:

1. Will Lockie, Online Marketing Manager @ Evans Cycles

2. Kerry McGuire-Balanza, VP New Business Ventures, Corporate Strategy @ARM

3. Stuart Handley, Director of Communications EMA @ Dell

4. Madlen Nicolaus, Social Media Manager EAMER @ Kodak

Two approaches became clear as the keynotes and panel discussion came to an end:

For B2B companies and brands it’s important when trying to reach partners to put out thought leadership (according to Kerry McGuire) and to establish themselves as a source of valuable information (according to Madlen Nicolaus). For B2C, the approach is more about listening and responding appropriately (Madlen’s take) and giving your audience something to talk about (according to Will Lockie).

Other interesting trends emerging:

  • Video is very important for brands – they find that it provides them with an increased conversion rate (Evans Cycles) and helps them tell their story even if it’s through their partners (ARM).
  • Mobile access is very important, i.e. mobile is how people use Twitter (Dell).
  • The future is about engaging globally – partner/own communities and consumers alike (Kodak and ARM)
  • Pay attention to the audience you want to engage (ARM) – that includes your own workforce; the consumer-isation of social media is infiltrating the workplace (Dell).

All in all, a very interesting discussion with some insight into the strategy of different brands. Undoubtedly, Madlen from Kodak stole the show talking about crisis management on social media and explaining their concept of the ‘Chief Listener’ in New York that analyses all the information coming from social networks worldwide. Quite the workload for the ‘Air Traffic Controller’ of Kodak who has to shift through more than 300K online mentions a month and last week was faced with 55 thousand mentions on January 19th alone!

- Eleni-Paraskevi Sardi