It’s been interesting to see the flurry of activity among Web 2.0 consultants and gurus who are attending technology conferences. From CES to MacWorld to DEMO, blogs are nearly bursting with information and updates. Twitter has been on fire resulting in recruiting new users but also contributing to unfortunate downtime.
Social media’s appeal as a great way to share information at those conferences is its live, direct to the constituent delivery. More and more corporations are turning to it as a solution for creating much needed community interaction. The New York Times reported that blogs focusing on business travel are on the rise, seeking a new market of users.
This proves the users themselves are changing, becoming more corporate. By catering to an older, more professional demographic (like business travel or even religious interests), companies can capitalize on loyal readers who are engaging and provide value.
Finding the correct older audience gives you not only readers who care about a topic (as opposed to teenagers who tend to be fickle), but ones who have solid backgrounds, knowledge and expertise. Gauging this loyalty is very valuable in determining the true success of a product or brand.
This is more than a cultural phenomenon, I think social media will soon become something that is integrated into our everyday life, as much as browsing the web or writing an email. As professionals, we must recognize this shift and develop our skills to stay relevant and close the gap between younger social media marketers and older PR pros.
Citizen journalism and the fifth estate is creating an environment that pushes everyday people into roles as market influencers. Fast Company came out with an article interviewing Duncan Watts who states that targeting influencers doesn’t make sense and can be seen as a “wasted effort”, even though (according to the article):
…more than $1 billion is spent a year on word-of-mouth campaigns targeting Influentials, an amount growing at 36% a year, faster than any other part of marketing and advertising. That’s on top of billions more in PR and ads leveled at the cognoscenti.
Certainly, there could be some truth to his critique, however other evidence points to the contrary. Social media has behind it the power of links, word of mouth and the ability to create relationships that push people together to become an interactive, engaging community. It gives power back to the masses and provides something that traditional media can’t compete with. A voice.