Though social media has been around for several years, it’s still considered to be in an “evolving” state. Social media has transformed in the last couple of years and more changes are on the horizon as we enter 2011. From a business perspective, it’s exciting as well as crucial to keep pace with the latest changes on the social media front.
I believe that 2010 was a milestone year for social media as it was embraced on a mass-scale in the business world. It was rather uncommon for businesses to have Twitter profiles and Facebook fan pages till two years back, and now – it’s a norm rather than an exception.
However, using social media for business gains is no walk in the park. There are challenges which need to be dealt with and opportunities which need to be capitalized upon. IMO, businesses will face the following five challenges for social media adoption in 2011.
Mention the word ‘Privacy’ and Facebook comes to mind instantaneously. It may rank on top the world’s most popular websites, but it sill leaves a lot to be desired as far as simplifying privacy is concerned. In fact, I strongly believe that Facebook has lost a massive share to Twitter, especially amongst the business fraternity, owing to its privacy blues.
While Zuckerberg and co. have done a decent job of fixing Facebook’s privacy flaws, it needs to be further “simplified” to appeal to the common man. IMO, creating a set of new privacy controls for business users is a good option as well. After all, businesses have other things to worry about in 2011 rather than spend valuable time fixing their privacy settings.
I see 2011 as the year of social convergence. I’m not saying that Facebook will buy Twitter or vice-versa. I believe that an increasing number of business users would be interested in exploring tools which offer them a convergent view of all their social media networks. While several such tools (e.g. Ping.fm) already exist, their popularity is limited.
Imagine a business searching for suitable candidates for a job opening on LinkedIn. They would not only be interested in going through a candidate’s professional profile (LinkedIn) but would also be keen to explore his/ her social habits (Facebook, Twitter).
Smartphones are expected to outsell computer in 2012. A large proportion of social media fraternity already uses smartphones rather than computers to access Facebook, Twitter and other leading social media networks.
Businesses will need to consider “mobile” as one of the key differentiating factors as part of their social media strategy. For example, creating an iPhone/ Android promotional mobile app for your business which uses your Facebook or Twitter credentials is likely to gain good traction. Tapping the keenly contested “social media on mobile” segment will be a challenge for businesses in 2011.
Facebook overtook Google as the most popular site in the Unites States earlier in 2010. Twitter was amongst the most sought after sites during the FIFA 2010 world cup and encouraged Google to include tweets in its search results. In general, businesses will focus more on the “social search” aspect in 2011. While SEO would still be important, social search would provide the added value from much-needed “sharing” components.
Social Analytics (aka Socialytics) has been one of the most overlooked aspects of social media in the business world. And it will pose yet another stiff challenge for businesses in 2011. Measuring the ROI on social media efforts is no rocket science, but it does require a well-planned social media strategy, coupled with right tools and efficient execution.
Is your business all geared up for these social media challenges of 2011? Do you think there will be any other challenges for adopting social media in the business world next year? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.