There are a ton of posts around the internet right now speculating on what 2011 will be all about. Predictions are flying everywhere as seers everywhere look into their magical crystal Twitter ball and tell us all the future of Social Media. I’ll get in on that game, but you’ll have to wait for it as my editorial calendar says social media predictions week starts January 10th. Today, rather than talk about what will happen, I’d like to talk about what I’d like to happen.
A brief history
Let’s just start in 2009…
Though the social media big wigs made some pretty spot on predictions, the rest of the world made 2009 into the year of Social Media hype. 2009 was when the early adopters and the new media posers made a lot of noise about how social media would change the world. CNN stopped reporting news and got a giant touch screen and picked their topics via Twitter…over-rotation much?! Excitement filled the air but thankfully that year ended. It was nauseating.
In 2010, things settled down a bit. People were used to the idea of Twitter and Facebook and efforts to monetize these platforms were moving along. Companies tried some things out. BIG companies got involved.
2010 seemed to be the year that everyone predicted mass adoption, which happened, to a certain extent (see Facebook’s user-base of 500 million). In spite of wild predictions about the adoption of geo-location (LBM), it still remains less than 1% of the population is using it, though I suspect Facebook aims to change that. Twitter, though growing, still only penetrates less than 15% of the US population; I suspect people don’t “get it” yet.
Still, most companies were not sold yet, so my job was more about education than anything else. I explained to CEOs and CIOs and small business owners, the importance of and the opportunity present by getting involved in the conversations taking place online. Some got it, some didn’t. Some just weren’t ready.
I don’t expect that to change much this year, however, I do think Social Media is becoming more accepted as the growth and adoption rates have been steadily climbing upwards. This provides the benefit of enough success and failure stories to calm business owners and get more companies “in the game.”
2010 did still make a number of promises that I don’t think could’ve ever been kept. It still was too new. It still had that new site smell. This led to many businesses still looking at it skeptically.
So what is 2011 going to be all about?
Our toes are all wet
This year I’d like to stop hearing, “we’d like to dip our toes in the water.” I’d like to hear “we’re ready!”
What I’ve seen, is that businesses that embrace social in an organic way (i.e. NO OUTSOURCING YOUR TWEETS) are seeing results.
What I’ve seen is that companies that don’t personally and authentically engage to provide value are either rethinking their strategy, doubling down on their budgets OR giving up entirely. Those that give up were likely the ones that didn’t “get it” in the first place, they didn’t bother to learn the etiquette of certain networks, they didn’t bother to research and they certainly didn’t bother to plan.
Companies that produced results opened their eyes and saw a new way to communicate with their customers, a new way to conduct research, or simply an additional channel to keep clients and prospects informed. They’ve seen increased web traffic, and we’ve seen more transparency and we’ve seen (THANKFULLY) a reason for companies to take their products and services to the next level; accountability is at an all time high.
Case in point, mistakes have been made and success stories can be told. We can all learn from them.
What I want in 2011
I want more clients that are amped about getting involved. I want more clients that are willing to set aside 10 hours per month to understand Twitter or blogging or the importance of LinkedIn. I want more clients that can easily see the value in engaging with their clients and prospects but more importantly that can see the value in just being accessible and authentic. This is a big conversation about trust. What I want in 2011 is for business to get over “The FEAR!”
Yes there are liabilities and yes some time will be wasted, but let’s be real. Can I be real for a moment?
YOU WASTE TIME EVERYDAY!
There I said it, someone had to say it. Many meetings are pointless and boring. Some people take WAY too long to research something on the internet. And don’t even get me started on email…UGH.
The point is this, I want social media to just…BE. No more hype, no more it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, stop the presses throw out your Director of Marketing and hire a social media expert. I just want businesses to accept that this…thing, that we now have, is here to stay. Social media is here, and people use it and that means businesses should probably understand it and figure it out.
In 2011 I’m hoping to see that businesses are aware that they should do this in the same way that at some point, all businesses realized they needed a website, or an email address or a telephone. This is how people are communicating now.