Gini Dietrich

Five Social Media Trends

By: Gini Dietrich | June 15, 2010 | 

On this week’s InsidePR, our co-host, Joe Thornley, was on his way to Regina for CPRS and was unable to make the recording time. So you get Martin Waxman and me this week while we discuss five social media trends. Martin and Joe spoke at the conference on Monday about the same topic so, if you happened to see them (neither one of them in jeans, I hope!), this may be repetitive. Or, perhaps, I add a different slant that wasn’t covered during their presentation.

Regardless, I know a lot of you are not in Canada so you can listen to the podcast here (make sure you hit the June 16 version). The following five social media trends are what we discussed, but is not a regurgitation of the podcast, as these are solely my views on the trends.


Most of you know I started using video about eight weeks ago, mostly just to see what would happen to our traffic (and there was a small part of me that wanted to say, “See. Video doesn’t work for service businesses.”). I really fought vlogging. Mr. D. always jokes that I can watch a movie 12 times because I don’t retain anything I view, but put something in writing in front of me, and my mind is like an elephant’s. So I was being stubborn in realizing that not everyone learns by reading. Let’s put it this way: Our traffic quadruples when I post a video. ‘Nuff said.


I spoke at PR + MKTG Camp last week and one of the things we discussed, as PR professionals, is what we need to understand in order to maintain our budgets and our seat at the proverbial table. Search, marketing, search, marketing, and, oh yeah, search. I think people get scared by search because they don’t understand how it works, how or what the spiders crawl, or that they don’t know programming. But search is really as simple as learning how people look for things online. As soon as you figure that out, you’ll become invaluable to your team.


I love Foursquare and not because it’s just another social media platform, but because of the infinite customer loyalty applications. I love that Starbucks is getting in the game, but I really wish they’d figure out that offering the mayor of each store a free frappucino, once, is targeting a very small number of people. What if, instead, they worked with Foursquare to target me, specifically? They already have access to the data that I go into the same Starbucks at 8:15 every morning, I order the same grande skim latte with two Splendas, and they have all of my demographic information. Even though I’m already loyal, I’d become that much more if they offered me a free grande skim latte with two Splendas every 10th time I checked in. You’ll see location applications really change our purchasing behaviors.


I recently downloaded the CardBank application (thanks, Nat, for introducing me to it) and I now keep all of my customer loyalty numbers in there. No more carrying the cards around – the store just scans my phone and I get credit. But add on top of that, Starbucks (again) now allows you to pay for your coffee with your phone in Seattle and Chicago. I have my Starbucks card set up on my phone, I go into Starbucks, they scan my number and it deducts the amount from my checking account. I love this idea and can’t wait for other companies to begin offering this. Soon we’ll be able to pay for things with a fingerprint.

Social Media Policies

Every, single company should have a social media policy that is given to employees as part of their handbook and code of conduct. Just like you have guidelines around how to answer the phone, what your email signature should say, and how employees behave when traveling for work, there needs to be a one page document that describes how people should behave in social media. I have collected a bunch of social media policies, which you can find on our Delicious page. But, from my perspective, the policy just really needs to include the following:

* Our social media purpose

* Be responsible

* Be authentic

* Consider the audience

* Exercise good judgment

* Understand community

* Respect copyrights

* Protect confidential information

* Bring value

* Be productive

What trends are you seeing that aren’t mentioned here?

Image courtesy of Cartoon Stock

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Great Post Gini!

    I am glad that you cam around to video! I am a very visual person, and love to both learn and share via video. I know it is not for everyone, but I agree that mixing up content and interaction methods is great to keep people engaged. I have also noticed that video posts increases traffic on my blog.

    As for location, I couldn’t agree more. This is a great tool, and I am waiting for more businesses to embrace it, and realize the potential it has to increase brand loyalty, and provide consumer based positive promotion.

    Lastly, love the promotion of Social Media Policies! This is so key, and is important to organizations accepting Social Media into their environment, and promoting effective, and open usage.

  • I loved this! Thank you!!! Trying to find the time to vlog has been my challenge… getting there though. : )

  • I suspect that your vlogging is successful because:

    A.) You have a fun laugh that people love to hear, it’s just not the same as an LOL on Twitter.

    and, even more importantly,

    B.) You featured Sparty in one of them and people love Sparty!

  • Dave- Its not only Sparty…it’s the amazing hat!

  • Gini, Good list. Can’t remember where, but I’ve read that the second most popular search engine is YouTube. Video, and its searching, are only going to get bigger. Time to step up, take notice. I’ll probably be retiring my dumb phone soon, but even I know that location and mobile go hand and hand, especially for retailers.

    For social media policies, it’ll continue to vary greatly. Some companies will limit it to a chosen few, block any site that threatens productivity, or even just overloads their network with IT and security concerns. Over time I think some organizations will see this as counterproductive, when the ROI from social really starts driving sales, building brand loyalty and boosting the bottom line. FWIW.

  • Sarah

    Hi Gini and other followers,

    Gini you have some fantastic ideas and tips about using social media effectively.

    Recently I have been investigating using social media to promote a product or a personality. I have found it interesting that video has been a commonly used tool. I think this is most likely due to the fact that people online still like to see a face amidst all the chatter. It helps to build a relationship where two-way communication can take place.

    Does anyone agree?

  • Thanks for a post that is simple and to the point. The outline of social media policies certainly hits all the high points.

    I still wonder when we will all become overloaded with social media and it no longer works, like email marketing worked 10 years ago before spam took it over. What will be next? See my post on the topic. Is Social Media a Ponzi Scheme?

    I’m going to try more video but have still not discovered the best combination of tools to produce them. Plus, not everyone is meant to be a video star! There is a lot of scary-bad stuff out there. Present company excluded, of course. 🙂

  • Gini Dietrich

    Sarah, I definitely agree with you about video! Even my family watches the business videos because they feel like they’re just sitting in a room chatting with me. It definitely leaves people feeling like they know you even better when they can see and hear you.

    Lisa, I’m going to read your blog post, but a few of us have been talking about this very topic a lot lately. Just like the phone and email, social media is going to be incorporated into everything we do in our business and personal lives…and you won’t have social media experts. So I tend to agree it’s falling the way of a Ponzi Scheme.

  • kelly

    I am thrilled with the use of social media in the workplace. I have been following the debate closely. The balance of productivity and working like employees live is a tricky one with social media. Blog, blog, blog or block, block, block??? I thought this whitepaper had some real teeth –