Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trend four of five technology trends SXSW 2011.

This is a continuation of my take on five technology trends that emerged from the 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Conference.  You can view all of the trends here.

4. Social media: It’s not just for hipsters.
Businesses more and more are using social media to solve real business challenges, respond to core needs, and even improve profitability.  For all those businesses out there who think that social media is a youthful fad that has nothing to do with the bottom line, you may want to think again.  In one session, Chelsea Marti with TurboTax said that during this tax season they had 80 people (double the number from last year) dedicated to managing their Twitter feed and answering incoming questions from customers.  And 68% of people who asked questions got what they needed to resolve their question.  That's got to be a lot more  affordable than staffing a call center.

Umberto Milletti from InsideView helps corporate sales professionals utilize social media to boost sales.  He notes that sales people can often learn more about prospects through social media than they can in person, helping sales people sell in a more personal way.

There were also companies making a play to be the next big thing to come out of SXSW.  This year, one company that seemed to be leading the way was GroupMe, an app designed to make it easier to send group text messages.  I heard a couple of people that said their company teams at SXSW were using the app to more easily communicate to the entire group.  I downloaded the app to my phone in exchange for a free grilled sandwich. (Yes those crazy event promotions really do work and I even got interviewed by a reporter from Ad Age while I was standing in line.) I can see how GroupMe could prove useful in both personal and business settings.

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