Customized Conversations: The Future of Social Media

Apr 10, 2012
  |  by Andrew Hamilton

Jesse Stay (BSCS ’05) is a social media consultant specializing in Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other technologies that enable businesses to reach customers and promote their brands through social networks. A well-known social networker, Stay is followed on Twitter by the editor of Mashable.com and was named a “Master of the Tweet” in an article by Entrepreneur magazine. The Strayer University alumnus is also the author of four books, most recently “Google+ for Dummies.”

 

You are an author, consultant and speaker. What is your area of expertise?
I specialize in social technologies and the convergence of marketing and technology. I help companies use social networks to build an online experience that encourages their customers to spend more time on the site, view more pages and become more dedicated users, ultimately building greater awareness of their brand.

How did you become an expert in social media marketing?
I started my career as a computer programmer for an online retailer. I was hired to build IT infrastructure for the site, but I saw an opportunity to automate a lot of their marketing processes. By applying my programming skills to a marketing function, I was able to understand how both sides of the table operate—knowledge that serves me well today as I facilitate the conversation between marketers and programmers. Since then, I have cultivated my social media expertise through consulting roles for companies like Facebook, Ancestry.com and Blogtalkradio.com. I helped Ancestry.com integrate Facebook into one of its microsites, Mundia.com. The app enables Mundia.com users to invite their family members to view and collaborate on family research being done on the site.

How can social networks help build a company’s brand recognition?
Brand awareness is built through social networks when people share links, photos and other information related to your brand. With the launch of Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” program last year, it’s now much easier for people to instantly share what they are reading, listening to or commenting on with their Facebook friends. What they choose to share appears in the news feeds of their friends, along with a link to an article, image, song or other piece of information. From a business standpoint, sharing is important because people see content posted by people they know, making it more likely to be relevant to them, and making your site a more interesting place for them to visit.

What is the most exciting development to come from Facebook in the last year?
One of Facebook’s biggest developments has not been widely covered. It’s the ability for software developers to integrate their apps into the Facebook app on mobile devices. There are 350 million Facebook mobile users and until recently, your app wasn’t available to them unless the user was on a PC.Now, you can create an app that can be installed within the Facebook app on mobile devices, enabling you to reach more people.

Why is Google+ important?
Google is integrating Google+ into every product it owns, so if you are a Google user you will encounter it at some point. The core of Google+ is called “+1-ing,” which is Google’s equivalent of the “like” button on Facebook. It’s important because every time a web page is “+1-ed” by a user, it increases that site’s search engine ranking. Encouraging people to +1 your site is a simple way, from a technological standpoint, to increase your website’s search engine optimization ranking. The future of SEO is social media and Google realizes that. That’s why they built Google+. More and more people are going to be relying on the recommendations of their friends for information, news and products.

What’s next in social media?
Social media is moving more towards mobility—cell phones,tablets and even TVs, making homes more connected. You’ll find it increasingly easier to share everyday things with your friends and family. Technology will continue to build conversations around you, tailor content to you, and help you archive and share your life. In three to five years,technology will be exponentially better at recognizing you as a person and will be able to offer information that is customized to you.

 
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