Mashable’s Social Media Trends to Watch

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As more and more companies enter the social media fray, Mashable gives us their overview on the most significant trends to keep an eye on:  

1. Location, Location, Location
From Foursquare to Gowalla – it’s all the rage: sharing where you are, where you’re going, where you’ve been – and being able to tell it to your friends…mobilecasting? Competition amongst mobile brands vying for “location mindshare” is heating up. “Checking in” has become second nature, and part of the parlance. Twitter now enables local information to be attached to tweets. Google Latitude lets you update your location automatically in conjunction with privacy settings. Facebook will soon follow suit. And as a marketing opportunity, geolocation is good news for brands of all sizes.[more]

2. Group Buying
Top two sites, Groupon and Living Social, have helped spur consumers to band together to leverage bigger deals and deeper discounts in specific cities. Depending on the number of users who sign on for that day’s deals, everybody can benefit from the offer. But if too few sign up, nobody gets the deal. The local factor plays a key role here and daily deals are an alternate way to reach new customers. Social media as economic leverage?
 
3. Mobile Ads
Perfect for POS (point-of-sale), mobile ads can reach a potential buyer at just the right moment of impulse. Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS, arguably the dominant smartphones in OS and install base, are fertile ground for the proliferation of mobile advertising. Google’s acquisition of AdMob, and Apple’s iAd platform have improved the mobile ad delivery and quality and enable a user to stay within an app to transact.

4. Mobile Payments
PayPal just launched Mobile Express for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry Platforms. Square, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has a ‘dongle’ that attaches to the iPhone’s headphone jack for on-the-spot credit card processing. Visa is gearing up to aggressively enter the mobile payment space, also known as contactless payments. The U.S. is behind in the deployment of mobile payment services. The developing world uses “near field communications” as an alternate in cash-challenged markets. Along with microtransaction purchases, mobile apps are creating a new eco-system for consumers and e-commerce.

5. Social Media Policy
If you don’t have a corporate social media policy, establish one. Get it codified, ratified, and widely disseminated. In the words of Seth Godin: “Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.” So does establishing the ground rules and guidelines for social media marketing and outreach within your ranks.

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