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Eight trends for the future: Social hygiene

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This post is part of an on-again, off-again series of posts about eight trends that I think are shaping things. In this one I wanted to deal with a concept that I call social hygiene.

Social as a channel has become engrained into our lives just like the mobile phone, the web and the telephone directory before it. From a marketers perspective this means that social media channels go from fearful curio to part of the bread-and-butter work done day-in, day-out by agencies and clients alike.

I remember back in 2006 saying that having a social strategy would be as ridiculous as having a phone or email strategy. Both are valuable marketing channels yet strategy as a discipline is unchanged since the works of Sun Tzu. It looks like this viewpoint may finally be starting to break through

social hygiene
Here is a chart from Google Trends, I picked three terms to compare: social media marketing, social business and digital marketing. What’s interesting is that social business as a term seems to be plateauing and social media marketing seems to be slightly less searched for than in the past. Meanwhile digital marketing carries on with a steady progression which seems to have started growing in 2007, around the same time that interest in social media marketing took off. This suggests to me that social is now a hygiene factor, just when the power is out and we are suddenly aware of electricity, or we don’t think about the phone unless we can’t get a signal or a dial tone.

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