SXSW: How Activity Streams Have an Impact on Inbound Marketing

Kipp Bodnar
Kipp Bodnar

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Fight Club Chris Messina from Google kicked of the Saturday sessions at SXSW Interactive with a scene from the movie Fight Club , in which Ed Norton's character is talking about his Ikea obsession. He stated that the items we buy and the actions we take provide a huge amount of data that is now hitting the social web. The news feed in Facebook is the most classic example of an activity stream, but the future has much more potential. The reason that marketers' activity streams have so much potential in the future is because consumers can get data about their actions from businesses and then interact with them on the Web.
 
Activity streams are powered by technologies like RSS and ATOM feeds to transfer information from one site to another. Sites like Friendfeed were started as a way to improve the way we all get and share information.  The problem with these sites is that in order to support data from hundreds of web services, it takes too much time and money.  Messina suggested that there needs to be a universal format for sharing activity data across the Web.

He pointed out that Foursquare does a great job showing activities and making it easy for people to understand.

He went on to say that people connect on the Web around shared objects. These objects such as brands, places and products are the glue that connects people online. He pointed to Flickr, saying they have done a good job using pictures and creating roles to build online communities. Looking at a page on Flickr, you can quickly see lots of activity options like groups, sets, people and other information that builds relationships.

Messina pointed out that activity streams are a way to show and document time and even allow us to look to the future. He talked about an example from Kevin Rose, who talked about how his children, 10 years from now, will likely go back and look at his Foursquare checkins to see what he used to be like and where he liked to go. Messina also used FitBit as an example of emerging data sources for activity streams.

Activities online are about helping people better understand their lives and how events in life have caused changes in behavior. Messina suggested that we add more information to ATOM feeds to create robust activity streams across the Web, which will make it easier for everyone to understand data.

Inbound Marketing Takeaway

While the social web is about people, the catalyst for social connections are made through actions and objects. Marketers have an opportunity to, instead of advertise and interrupt potential customers, create objects and content that cause desired actions that facilitate communities that drive leads and support business opportunities.  It also means that user-generated content that drives interactions and recommendations is an important factor for companies looking to scale online marketing and word-of-mouth. Activity streams mean that having a compelling content strategy with clear points of engagement for potential and current customers is critical for inbound marketing .

If you are attending SXSW, be sure to check-in to HubSpot's Virtual Booth and check out our full SXSW content feed at http://blog.hubspot.com/sxsw .

 

 

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