Technology is constantly changing. At no other time in history has innovation been so prevalent in society. What is new and cool today can be– as the cool kids like to say—so last year, tomorrow. Creative destruction will continue. Technology is going to constantly reinvent itself. These are all things we can be certain about in the coming future. However, the debate that has been raging for years now is whether or not Social Media will still be relevant as the years go by. It is a fair question, but at this point we already KNOW what social media is, the real question is where it will evolve into?
As of right now, any large brand or company can justify social media simply as an extension for customer service. The savings a company can achieve by pushing customers to use social media instead of their call lines can be clearly and justifiably shown. For that reason alone, social media will be around in the business ecosystem. However there are shifts going on that companies need to be aware of in the future in regards to their social media strategy.
The first one is that the relationships matter more than the technology. Never before have people been able to and have a need to voice their opinions. That won’t change. Whether it will be on Facebook today or the brand new social network of the future, the freedom that social networks offer people to voice their thoughts will continue. As one of my favorite authors that talks about social media, Charlene Li says in her groundbreaking book, Groundswell, “it’s not the technology that matters, but the relationship that the technology allows” (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 19). That is something that every company needs to understand, social media has given people an outlet to share their opinions. So regardless of which social network will be relevant in the future, companies must craft their social media strategy in a way that will continue to foster this kind of two way communication.
The second thing that companies need to watch out for is the emergence of smart phones. I know that people have been saying it is the year of mobile for a few years now, but the truth is that facts don’t lie. In a 2013 study conducted by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, KPCB Internet Trends 2013, states that mobile use of the internet will take over land use of the internet by next year. Other take a ways from the reports are that usage in Vine is also increasing, combine with the fact that Instagram reached 100 million users in just 26 months, nearly a year faster than it took Facebook, it is easy to see why companies have to start strategizing their social media to target and convert users on their mobile phone. Whether it is clothing companies creating 6 second clips of new outfits using Vine or companies using Instagram for hashtag contests, companies must figure out how to properly engage these users. As smart phones continue to advance, there may come a day when everyone’s computer may just be there cell phone.
Let me know if you agree or disagree below!
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social
technologies. Forrester Research Inc.