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#SMMW18: Looking into the Future with Brian Solis

Sharmin Kent February 7, 2018

Social Media Marketing World might be the biggest marketing conference I will have attended in my professional life. With four full days of breakout sessions, structured extracurricular activities and heavy-hitter keynotes, it’s an experience that promises virtually endless opportunities to learn new things, meet new people and think beyond my own approach to social media marketing.

Brian Solis is delivering one of the keynotes at #SMMW18 this year. He’s an expert in the speed-of-light transformation of business. He’s written more than a dozen books on business and technology, is principal analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company, and has a long career in branding and marketing strategy. With tectonic shifts constantly moving the digital advertising landscape, hearing Solis offer his predictions for social media is sure to be instructive.

But I’m almost as intrigued by Solis’ ideas from the history of social media. Based on a blog post Solis wrote in 2007, The Social Media Manifesto, we can observe how his predictions have shaped the state of today’s social media. It’s a long and detailed post, but he identified two trends–podcasts and live video–that are fast becoming the new foundation on which successful social advertising is built.

The Power of Podcasts

Apple lucked out when the non-iOS world adopted “podcast” as a common noun. Ten years ago, podcasts were just emerging as a popular format, usually consumed by iPod owners and covering more technical subjects. In 2007, Solis believed this method of content distribution could be used to share “company milestones, executive interviews, customer success stories, how to’s, and anything else that may be worthy.”

It turns out the rise of new media now includes at least a dozen different methods of content distribution and, right now, podcasts rule the media roost. Massive multinationals like GE use podcasts to educate audiences about digital twin technology through a riveting sci-fi love story; newspapers use them to engage previously underserved audiences; artists use them to weave strange stories and deliver them to the masses. It will be fascinating to get Solis’ take on how podcasts have become medium, message and marketable commodity. And the shareability of podcasts makes them an ideal vehicle to spread brand awareness.

Investing in Social Video

Solis’ prediction about video was spot-on, despite being written before the ubiquity of hi-res smartphone cameras. In fact, he mentions “livecasts on the Web and through mobile appliances.” Video is currently upending the strategies and budgets of brands the world over, estimated to be a $135 billion industry in the U.S. alone. But what’s more important to today’s audiences: production value or informational value?

When identifying video blogs along with podcasts as the future of social marketing, Solis refers to how easy it can be to produce them. Even today’s Facebook Live events have varying degrees of production value–and depending on the target audience, high production is unnecessary. Solis’ assertion that live video would become popular came just two years after YouTube was founded, and although Alphabet doesn’t release YouTube revenue, the Google parent company saw a 29% rise in quarterly profit in April of last year. That boost is credited in no small part to YouTube. Not only can video deliver a brand’s message directly to a consumer, but YouTube’s pre-roll is tailored for target audiences as well.

Brian Solis has a wide base of experience and knowledge about digital marketing, and he uses it to mark the beginnings of new media trends, even new industries. His keynote at Social Media Marketing World should be worth the cost of admission on its own.

Want to chat with us at this year’s Social Media Marketing World? Find us in the Networking Plaza or schedule some time to meet with us in San Diego.