Reputation management will become a more recognised discipline around the board table
The more exposure the C-suite have to listening tools like Radian6, Sysomos, Onalytica et al, the more that CEOs will want to influence what they say. So-called ‘soft’ metrics are never going to have the clout of harder, ROI or savings-based metrics, but they will grow in importance.
Measuring influence is so totally dependent of the context, that the one-size-fits-all approach will be shown up. Just as it’s impossible to answer “what’s the most important newspaper” without knowing why the question is being asked, it’s also impossible to answer “who is the most influential person on Twitter?” without knowing why. That won’t stop loads of people peddling ridiculous ‘league tables’ of influence though.
Social media gurus will be found out. If they haven’t been already
They add no value. The people who will add value though, are the ones who can apply social tools to solve business-problems, ranging from cutting call-centre costs (by using more social channels) to increasing website conversions, or reducing staff-churn.
They are therefore likely to have more experience and a broader business perspective than one particular discipline. Already we’re seeing agencies like Dachis, Altimeter and Edelman blend these skills together. We like to think we do the same here.
In a really interesting post (and comments) Jay Bear suggests that PR agencies are not best placed to offer social business advice in this space. Perhaps unsurprisingly I disagree. For me, it’s the breadth of business experience (or capability) which is important, rather than the specific background of the consultant hired. And any PR consultant with a pedigree of crisis comms work can advise on operational/procedural change required to calm situations down…
But having said that – watch IBM as they start to make major inroads into the comms side of social business in 2012. The Lotusphere conference is a fascinating insight into what’s just around the corner – and proves that IBM have beaten both Facebook and Google to building enterprise social business tools.
People will get bored of brands on Facebook
Asking people to click ‘like’ if they’ve had a good weekend, or simply not responding to the hundreds of comments on a question a brand asks is only going to work for so long before people start to realise the shallowness of many of the “relationships” they have. Brands are going to have to work harder than ever before to cut through. This is a massive opportunity for Google+ – a platform where people already have a ‘functional’ relationship with a brand, and where expectations for an ‘emotional’ relationship are close to non-existant.
Google+ will take off slowly but surely
Just before Christmas G+ saw its first page (Britney Spears, natch) clock over 1 million fans. The only way is up. Google will factor G+ pages into search results worldwide, the platform will improve, and more brands (and people) will start to see the potential for two-way targeted (by circle) communications which Facebook will never be able to deliver.
We’re right to be concerned about the monopoly of power Google will have. Facebook will soon roll out ‘frictionless’ contact – the long and short of which is that both companies will shortly be gathering even more data on how we all spend time online. Talking of which…
Just as every year since the start of this social revolution (whenever that was), we’re moving further into an era of radical transparency
Organisations will be more critically judged on how they behave, how they function behind closed doors, and how they treat customers and employees, not just by what they say. Brands cannot spin their way out of a crisis. They have to behave differently. If people like what you’re doing, you’ll be popular and drive repeat business. If they don’t, they won’t. Just look at the Qantas backlash last year…
We’ve all had fun (well, all apart from him), but the party season is now over.
At the same time, social business is now coming of age – and growing up quickly
I know I’ve been a touch quiet on the blogging front recently (mostly due to being extremely busy), but it seems only right to start January by publishing a few predictions about what 2012 might hold for social business/social media.
I’ll be posting a series of social media/social business predictions in total over the next few days, in no particular order, but a few a day. As ever, comments very welcome…
Enterprise versions of Google+ and Facebook will bring social business tools (if not thinking) into the mainstream
People will get more used to sharing information within organisations in a manner which does NOT rely on email – a trend exascerbated by the influx of Gen-Y and beyond employees. Email will not die – far from it, it’s still the document of record for back-coverers everywhere, but the providers of tools for social business – in particular Google+ – will have a very good year. Especially if they can sort out the ugly UI.
Organisations will radically streamline their social media presences
Jeremiah Owyang’s recent research suggested that the average organisation has 178 different social media accounts. These will have to be streamlined, and ownership/management will tend to be brought into the centre of businesses before being devolved to business units again once
The ‘Centre of Excellence’ model/hub-and-spoke leading to ‘dandelion’ approach will become ever more common.
Community Management will rightly start to be seen as a subset of Content Planning.
The more platforms that an organisation is active across, the more thought needs to go into the roles for each of those platforms (including the audiences targeted and communities served). It simply won’t be good enough to replicate your Facebook posts on Google+, Twitter, Path, etc. etc