I realize I’m a little late in making my predictions for what is to come in 2011 but, unabashedly, I plan on throwing my hat into the ring.
Social Media Boom of 2010
Technology, innovation, and even business in 2010 were undoubtedly redefined by advances in digital media. Social media has profoundly touched everything from consumer buying and corporate strategy to communication in 3rd world countries and institutional transparency. In today’s world, its expected that any major consumer-facing brand or organization is accessible through Facebook and Twitter, at the very least. Societal weight on social media has bloated valuations of these platforms to obscene levels and left many blinking their eyes as the world incrementally moves online. Social media, though certainly providing a revolution of consumer connectivity, has an unsure future as to which direction its mercurial ascent will take. Here’s a few of my predictions for the possibilities of social media:
Remember when the media entertained us? Told us what to do?
Don Draper! Where are you?
The consumer revolution that came with the inception of social media is incredibly useful for some tasks; however, the whole idea can get arduous after a while. Lets face it, as much as people enjoy the freedom of getting their reviews from their friends and knowing where everyone is at all times, there comes a point when consumers want to pump the breaks. Despite concerted efforts by Facebook, through news feed iterations, and Twitter…well…actually not at all, social media is full of clutter. While advertisers can manipulate you through television ads, they can also entertain you, provide you with easy information, and let you relax for a bit. The societal prescription for complete control over engagement has lost its initial shimmer for many consumers. As companies increasingly compete to be the first movers on new social channels, many forget that, aside from Facebook, no platform has more than 8% of US adults. Even Facebook, with its seemingly endless army of users, only represents just over 40% of the US population; meaning, to my surprise too!, that almost 60% of the US is not on Facebook.
Although the last paragraph is probably overly cynical, its entirely possible that the shift to social media will retain incredible value within some sectors, while others will return to normal. This year’s gear-up to the Superbowl is a great study in value for companies that truly understand consumer outreach. Many brands that have become leaders in social engagement are returning to the Super Bowl to compliment their impressive online engagements. Heck, even Groupon will be advertising during the Super Bowl! None of this is to say that Social Media hasn’t been important or won’t continue to be immensely fundamental to how people around the world communicate, its simply stating that social media could find itself restricted by unforeseen parameters. Once marketers saturate the low-hanging fruit represented by consumers looking to engage with brands online, they’ll undoubtedly turn to focusing their efforts on those who are more difficult to reach.
Digital Media in 2011
2011 has thus far been an exiting continuation from the trends of 2010. I’m fully convinced, despite the skeptical title of this article, that social media is undoubtedly here to stay. As social media loses its new car smell, however, some of the chronic challenges to marketers will become more evident. These include:
- Implementing localized, relevant content into worldwide platforms
- Maintaining consumers’ attention through entertaining yet useful content
- Scaling to unprecedented volumes of users while limiting clutter and white noise
It’s an exciting time to work in marketing, as marketers today face challenges that haven’t been seen since the inception of other forms of advertising that have since become mainstream (you may have heard of them: television, radio, etc.) The paired focus today is to create real, monetized and proven value for brands through social media while also setting up the platform for future success. Sure, we could all create funny viral videos that get your business lots of (mostly irrelevant) attention but how long would it be before people stop treating social media as a legitimate channel? It’s undoubtedly one of the few industries still in its primordial stage and, speaking for myself at least, we’re enjoying the “wild west” nature of it. I’ll work hard to keep you updated throughout 2011 on actual happenings, my thoughts and predictions, and relevant information.
Thanks for reading!