Social Media Wisdom From The Field
Anyone in touch with what is going on in the Internet marketing and social media industries knows of the constant changes do to the ever increasing evolution. During 2009, we saw Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn just blow away the competition in their respective niche markets. Twitter has become so much of an insider, that Microsoft's Bing and Google recently announced that they will be providing real-time search engine update of tweets (Twitter messages). This will net Twitter a cool $25 million. Not bad for a company only a couple years old.
All of the social media-related companies and bloggers have seemed to come out with their own predictions for what they believe will happen within the industry in 2010. In light of this, I have asked my Army of Social Media insiders to provide me with their predications. Here they are:
Danielle Beauparlant Moser of Blended Learning Team, LLC, thinks, "Social media is forever-changing the face of job search and career management, and doing so in ways unlike the ways in Monsters and CareerBuilders have had an impact. If you watch employment trends, employers are still relying on networking contacts/connections (i.e. relationships, who-knows-who, etc.) to hire, but how they’re finding those people is changing. They’re using tools like LinkedIn to find contacts that match their ideal candidate profile … searching not only for skills and expertise, but also getting a sense of “who you are by who you know,” in addition to searching out hobbies, community-related activities, and the like. Controlling what gets found when your name is Googled or Binged in today’s world is essential. Within the next five years, the employment market will include those that have a strong online presence and are considered relevant and employable … and those that are not. She hears many folks say they don’t have the time to learn about social media and how to leverage it. In today’s global work environment, they can’t afford not to anymore.”
Rob Jones, CMO of Venus Pest Company based in College Station, TX, says "our number of new customers attained from social media efforts grew over 500% in 2009 and I expect a growth figure higher than that in 2010. This segment of new customers from social media outlets, including blogs and forums, now far outnumber those coming in from all our print and radio advertising programs combined. Plus, it's much more affordable to reach the people that actually use our services!"
Nate Bagley, Social Media Manager at Mindshare Technologies thinks, "As social media continues to become more and more popular, companies are going to find that it's absolutely essential to have a presence and a strategy in the social sphere. Building relationships by listening and communicating back to customers is going to be a key factor that separates average businesses from the great ones, regardless of the industry."
Jim Schuett, Co-Founder/President, PR-Pros thinks, "It is only a matter of time until the social media streams in use today merge into one comprehensive collection. Already businesses are struggling with managing multiple Social Media Outlets. The next logical step is to introduce a Social Media Management system. One log in, One dashboard, Control all your social media sources from one place."
Doyle Albee, President, Metzger Associates thinks "I believe 2010 will be a year of maturation and some consolidation within social media circles. "Just as Facebook purchased Friendfeed in 2009, we'll see more consolidation corresponding with continuing increased usage. In the end, however, the average person doesn't want 10 or even five usernames and passwords. We'll see more popular sites either integrate with others (like LinkedIn and Twitter) or add similar functionality to their own platforms to accommodate the many different ways users are using these tools."
Tim Latham of Prefio, thinks, "During 2010 social media pundits and “experts” will still be proclaiming that social media is at a tipping point and just about to change the business world; but real world users will start to lose interest in all but a small number of really value adding social media networks. Which is not to say that social media isn’t important but that the hype and expert opinion will as normal outstrip reality”
Steve Hampton, Search Marketing Specialist for BIGLocal.ca thinks, "Search engines will adopt real-time search more than ever. Look to see Twitter AND Facebook results becoming a large part of the search engine results page in 2010, and beyond."
Sally Falkow, of PRESSfeed predicts, "As the media landscape continues to shift online, journalists and bloggers will be under even more pressure. They’ll be looking for content that’s easy to find and republish. Companies must publish and syndicate their news in social media format with embed codes."
Shel Horowitz,of Frugal Marketing thinks, "Having used social media since 1995, I'll predict:
* Movement back toward forms of social media that allow a business to be consistently in front of the same people over and over (unlike the fairly random audience connection of Facebook and Twitter)--but these will have more interactive components than e.g., the e-mail newsletters of the past
* Growing selective and voluntary integration of different channels, so that you can post one place and optionally have it show up several others (something that's been around for a few years). The simple
feed of one place into another isn't good enough. For instance, people on Facebook don't want the @ replies in your tweetstream.
* Increasing difficulty getting through on the most popular channels, both because of bandwidth limitations and because too many clueless "marketers" are clogging the channels with junk * And most "out there" of all, a major increase in the role of social media in actually creating and fostering transformative change, particularly on the environmental front.
Wendy Soucie, President, Wendy Soucie Consulting & End Result Marketing, thinks that social relationship management software will be the next focus for the business to business markets. While the enterprise level companies have already begun social media efforts, improvements on tracking the social media engagements will be front and center. Return on investment measurement is the biggest question companies have when considering social media as a tactical channel to achieve business goals. We must be able to track our activity with social media outside of the business firewall. I think the best thought and product leader in this area is Xeesm.com who has a strong Beta program going.
Chris Reimer, Founder and Owner of Rizzo Tees , says "Social Media is quickly becoming the #1 way that businesses can listen to and care about their customers. More and more of your customers are joining Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Be there with them, or they alone will shape the conversation about your business."
Jen Dwyer, Social Media Coordinator, Parent Media Group Inc and TheCuteKid.com, thinks, “In 2010, social media will be an extremely powerful tool in an organization’s credibility as well as customer retention and customer service. It’s the most personal and viral way to reach people now because it’s not the one way street of the past. People are talking about you whether or not you have a presence there; it’s better to be a part of the conversation than a victim of it.”
Jarred Alexandrov, of Real Estate Inner Circle predicts, "You will continue to see a huge momentum swing towards blogs and other free distribution platforms. More and more people will get their every-day news and entertainment from book-marked blogs or daily feeds straight to their inbox. Further, as businesses continue to embrace on to the trend, you will see more sophisticated marketing techniques being used to engage customers and prospects. One thing to definitely look for in 2010 is the explosion of E-Books, as well as www.ustream.tv and Blog Talk Radio. Through either a written, video, or audio platform, an individual, business owner, or marketing exec can now produce and distribute content easily to legions of fans, customers, and peers FOR FREE. Quite simply, the middle-man is no longer needed in the marketplace of ideas."
Gillian Seely, PR Coordinator, Hollister thinks, "Social media has become the new frontier for recruiting and HR, and that in spite of tough economic times, more candidates than ever before will find jobs through its forums in 2010."
Caleb Gardner of Flrrsh Consulting thinks, "2010 will be the year successful new business models will be built around social networks, instead of just plugging into them to do their marketing. We saw a little bit of this in 2009, when social media really went mainstream, but I think this is the year new, exciting business models will arise that will take advantage of the social Web in a huge way."
Neal Schaffer, of Windmill Networking believes "2010 will be the year where all businesses will realize that they need to have a social media presence, just like they need to have a web presence."
Jordan Shaw, Recruiting Manager, Global Recruiters of Seattle Eastside predicts, "With a well orchestrated social media campaign I can recruit and headhunt the exact match for your company's next mission critical hire."
Arlen J Gerritson, Founding Partner of 451marketing shares, “I think companies will continue to realize the value in social media. Every brand will establish, at minimum, an online listening strategy in 2010; most will set up a social media protocol. In 2010, we will see businesses listening, interacting and engaging on social media outlets on a much larger scale. Those that take the time to develop a sound strategy that is tied to business objectives will garner the highest returns.”
Taylor Ellwood of Imagine Your Reality Business and Social Media Coaching predicts, "Psychology and behavior of how to use social media properly will become more important in developing effective social media strategy in 2010."
Brent Hieggelke, President Second Porch Inc. predicts, "We will see a dramatic acceleration of people trying to friend source purchase and commerce recommendations instead of crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing is tapping into the wisdom of the crowds, friend sourcing is the wisdom of your friends. There is no more powerful advice than that from people you know and trust, and since social connections are reaching into the triple digits for most people who participate, its now viable to be able to source advice, recommendations and purchases for many items from those friends. Second Porch is leading the way in this regard for vacation rentals and home trading where trust is paramount when giving up keys to a highly valued home is involved. Expect to see this trend move into other areas as well.
Maureen Toribio of The Inglenook Decor believes, "ye who doubts the power of social media marketing is committing self-destruction for their industry."
Mark Amtower, Founding Partner, Amtower & Company predicts that "LinkedIn will have 90,000,000 members before the end of 2010. LinkedIn is currently at 53,000,000."
Zanade Mann of Online & Off Marketing and PR thinks, "Social Media will continue to flourish as more brands begin to utilize the tools available to them for both free and paid services. Larger companies will focus on social media being a huge and necessary part of their marketing plans for 2010 and beyond!"
Peter Geisheker, CEO of The Geisheker Group Marketing Firm states, “In 2010 social media marketing will gain in popularity as a legitimate marketing channel as more businesses realize its power as the most powerful word of mouth marketing platform ever developed.”
Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com predicts, "Social media identity theft will increase dramatically and criminal hackers will lend significant focus on user accounts. They will access these accounts and scam the users "friends and followers"."
Bill Corbett, President of Corbett Public Relations predicts "To be successful using social media for business the business must have a social media plan, budget and goals. Without this in place and
clear marketing messages the effort will be a colossal waste of time and effort. Everyone may use social media but many don't use it effectively and even fewer will have the creativity and energy to keep
it going long enough to see results.
Bob Lugowe, Director of Promotions / Advertising of Relapse Records thinks, "Social media offers businesses a heightened level of customer engagement and real-time communication along with the opportunity to build stronger, richer client relationships via personal attention and increased influence in an open environment."
Meghan Stinton, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce predicts, "Best practices, regulations and social software applications for social media will not be out of the ordinary and companies will realize this is an innovative business trend rather than a generational fad.
Dan Beldowicz, Senior Marketing Consultant with Single Throw Internet thinks "While social media will continue to grow and evolve you will see some backlash and people denouncing the value of social media as a business tool because they are looking for immediate results. Social Media is not a Direct Response channel like Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click, social media is about the long lasting relationship you build your with your network. This is a Dale Carnegie tactic! Maybe it's "How To Win Followers and Influence Tweeple" Social media is about getting people to know, like and trust you and your company...NOT Advertising to them."
Shashank Nigam of SimpliFlying Pte. Ltd., HQ in Singapore, states "I'm heading SImpliFlying, an airline branding consulting company out of Singapore, for just over a year now. Our total go-to-market
strategy is based on a blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I believe that social media platforms likes LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress will form the backbone of the social media strategic plan for companies who will use social media for branding their business. We blog regularly, which is then syndicated on selected LinkedIn groups and discussed live on Twitter. This helps us then
connect with key executives in airlines the world over who are our main clients, even though we're headquartered out of Singapore."
Terri Brooks, President of Tasting The Internet One Byte at a Time predicts, "Video will continue to grow in strength as a top social media marketing tool in 2010. Also, I see mobile marketing claiming its place as the conduit for all social media sites."
As you blaze trails and spread the word about your mission, there’s no doubt that social media should continue to play an important role.
If you are out to attract prospective customers and develop your online presence and exposure, you owe it to yourself and the financial future of your business to learn everything you can about social media.
Do you want to learn more about Social Media?
If so, read about and download my brand new free industry research white paper Social Media: A Primer