2009 was arguably the year to characterize social media as the shiny new toy. Excitement and curiosity drove critical mass adoption in many of the public social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Other sites with less notoriety such as Jigsaw and Slideshare aimed to further develop, package and market their value proposition. Niche players, Yammer and Xobni (“Inbox” spelled backwards), emerged with “Twitter-like” micro-blogging within an organization and visual insights from our email transactions.
In 2009, our team researched over 400 of these sites in 22 distinct categories – from LiveCasting to Crowdsourced Content. Although many were great ideas (like SearchMe), they did not become viable products or sustainable companies. At the turn of the 20th century there were over 200 auto manufacturers. Similarly, the social media landscape must also evolve from the shiny new toy to a strategic organizational asset instrumental in delivering quantifiable returns. Just as e-business has become a necessary way to do business, so will social media become an integrated component of our drive to engage, influence, share, store and communicate.
As such, we are highlighting the following top social media trends of 2010:
- Enterprise Social Networking will evolve with more private communities, less clutter than the public social networks and specific social business applications enhancing customer experiences (i.e. Best Buy’s Twelpforce)
- Smartphone GPS will fuel greater personalization and location-sharing services with whereabouts optionally appended to every tweet, blog, photo or video we post (i.e. Foursquares)
- Augmented reality will prove their utility with access to products and services at the point of demand
- Mobile payments will become more prevalent on various social media sites
- OAuth will be used to validate identities on internal and external Twitters
- New interface for ubiquitous status updates across multiple social media sites (i.e. Ping.fm) with the ability to segment my communication to target audiences with contextual relevancy
- Real-time user reviews will heighten fundamental gap between brand promise and brand equity; poor or no customer service will become more expensive to recover from after an incident
- Track & Alert will evolve social search with real-time content; comparative computation knowledge engines (i.e. WolframAlpha) will enhance our ability to discern valuable differentiators between competing brands/options for mindshare and wallet-share
- Brand marketers who invest in value-based content/expertise and conversational marketing will elevate their digital mind- and wallet-share; those who continue to pitch products and services will finally realize that it is dysfunctional online.
- Your ability to engage and influence off-line relationships will be enhanced with real-time social insights (i.e. Chatter from Salesforce.com) further driving a broader adoption of Enterprise 2.0 functionality
- Followers will become fans and buyers as conversion metrics gauge social media’s impact on profitable revenue growth (efficient sales) and brand loyalty (effective marketing)
- Democratized access will drive economic empowerment and political actions (i.e. #IranElection on Twitter)
How will you embrace a social media strategy to grow — as an individual and an institution?