Today’s technology, tomorrow’s social media

Rick Stoner is a social media strategist and practice leader at Bader Rutter, a Brookfield-based integrated marketing agency.

The 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival marked another mind-melting trip to Austin, Texas. Home to the early buzz of Twitter in 2007 and the launch of Foursquare in 2009, SXSW is a fun, weird and culture-infused look at the future of how we use technology to communicate.

Here are three takeaways and tips from this year’s SXSW Interactive on how tech will change social media:

Takeaway 1: Smartphone GPS will have us in super SoLoMo. SoLoMo (combining social, local and mobile platforms) is fast becoming a user experience that nearly every social media channel is adopting. Today’s users expect relevancy and convenience, which are needs that local targeting and mobile-friendly content can meet.

Tip: Understand how your audiences use social media and how a SoLoMo brand experience can reach them more effectively. This is especially true for niche, local audiences.

Takeaway 2: Social media for connecting on-screen, meeting off-screen. Nextdoor, a year-old startup whose founder spoke at SXSW, offers a private social network for neighborhood communities. Neighbors connect through Nextdoor’s online social network to coordinate offline activities such as play dates for kids and neighborhood watch programs. Another example is LinkedIn, which is evolving from an online resume into a haven for sales leads and offline business relationships.

Tip: Don’t stop at the connection. Bring your brand’s followers together. Nothing will change the power, credibility and value of face-to-face contact.

Takeaway 3: “Likes” are not the goal; rather, a vehicle for influencing behavior. With big data and targeted advertising options, it’s easier to attain “fans.” A telling stat from digital entrepreneur Jeff Dachis at SXSW: brand fans spend $72 more on products than non-fans.

Tip: Use the Einstein-esque algorithms behind hyper-targeted social media ads to find your target audience. Once you get their “likes,” find the balance with your content by entertaining, educating, incentivizing and selling your fans. Change how they interact with your brand.

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