FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (7/31/09)--Within the next four to five years, the social web is expected to morph through several stages that will change the way brands are marketed, according to a Forrester Research white paper. The paper, “The Future of the Social Web,” explains several ways that marketers should prepare for the changes. Credit unions may be interested in these changes as they continue to attract new and young members. “Today’s social experience is disjointed because consumers have separate identities in each social network they visit,” says the paper’s author, Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research. “A simple set of technologies that enable a portable identity could soon empower consumers to bring their identities with them” (LoneStar Leaguer
July 24). In the future:
* Social networks will aggregate member activities and preferences, and leverage this data with brands; * Consumers will be able to expose all or portions of their personal and network information to the websites they visit; * Websites will be able to use the personal information to personalize consumers’ Web experiences; * Consumers will visit websites and know their communities’ usage, likes and dislikes, views of products or services; and * Social communities will feed data and insights about websites, brand experiences, product and services, and more to members on an as-wanted basis. The future social web will make “portable” the opinions, insights and knowledge of friends, which all research shows is much more trusted than any other information source.
Marketers should note that:
* Segmentation potentially will move from traditional schemes to social networks. This will be an aggregated set of individuals who tend to be like them based on habits, practices and preferences; * Influencers, or amplifiers, will become more important because they will be omnipresent. They will become portable and lead their non-amplifier friends and inform them as they travel the Web. Marketers must identify these amplifiers and develop programs to interact with and influence them; * Consumers will be able to see what their social network--either their immediate network or people like them--think of a given store, product or service, wherever they go on the Web. Marketing organizations will need to develop new tools to influence and monitor this new content; and * Consumers will come to a website, with information about themselves and their network. Brands can use this data to personalize the experience and recommend products.