Jeremiah says it is the year of integration; Drew says it is the year that exposes brand reputations for their social media frailties and there are countless other trends and predictions out there for your reading pleasure. My take? 2011 is the year of prioritisation.
My theme is that as organizations taste the potential of social media, they will want to find new ways to adopt it and put it to use on problems they face which are bigger than simply marketing and communications, although that department will be the interface between the organization and the consumer. So how will this manifest itself?
- Prioritisation. Organizations are using social media for marketing purposes – to various degrees of success. Everything up until now has been, for the majority of organizations, experimentation at generally a low priority level. 2011 will see social media promoted to a high priority not just by marketers but by the business. As a higher priority, clients will move social into one of either the marketing function or the strategy function.
- Collaboration. If social is now a priority, the “strategy” on how to approach it will have many more stakeholders and inputs – which means more and more groups within the business will be exposed to social media and, as we’ve seen countless times, they will find interesting ways to use the medium for their purposes. So more people within the organization are interested in using social which means that the business will have to collaborate with each, with agencies and with consumers where appropriate.
- Evaluation. As a high priority within the organization, social media efforts will be evaluated more stringently and with more vigour – no longer will we be tasked with the soft metrics of Facebook fans or talking to influencers with a high Klout rating. We’ll be asked to look at solving specific business problems and evaluated on how we do.
- Experimentation. That’s not to say that we won’t be able to have fun. In fact, we recently delivered a strategic framework which had the ability to experiment, trial and test baked right in there. While the social media we use is currently consolidating (through acquisition and functionality) the space continues to expand at a rapid pace. What we put into our playbooks today may be either obsolete or ineffective in 12 months time.
- Post-Digitalisation. I only heard the phrase “post-digital” a few weeks ago and I’m already seeing people bemoan its overuse. There is even an apology blog post from the person who coined the phrase. I like it but it is not a new concept. Dave Jones was talking about this years ago in the context of the “digitalization” of the agency – essentially hiring digital natives or making sure other new hires were well versed in and passionate about the digital space to ensure that, long term, the agency had immense depth and bench strength in digital. While there is no immediate need for organizations to be a post-digital player, agencies will continue to hurtle towards this goal. Those clients who assign social media a higher priority within their organization will, as per the above, also be drawn inexorably towards the post-digital era.
That’s me, what about you? What are your thoughts on social media in the next 12 months?