Social Media – Avatar in 2010
Last year saw Twitter and Facebook rise to dizzying heights of popularity and the web trying to wrap its collective head around the concept of real-time search and the resulting collaborations between Twitter and traditional search giants like Google and Bing. Yeah, social media really came of age in 2009. So, what changes will be wrought in social media this year? Social media gurus all over the Internet have been frantically making predictions, many have come out with extensive lists of just what changes it will undergo in 2010. Listed below are six likely social media forecasts for this year.
1. Social Media And Real Time Web – We already got a glimpse of the real-time web in 2009, with real-time search rolled out by major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and the consequent deals with Bing and Google. This year we’ll see it come to its own, and social media will be the vehicle that will take it there. Besides being the agent of real-time search, which is already being incorporated into traditional search, social media will also prove to be a trend forecaster that will help spread as well as start trends and fads in matter of seconds.
2. Business of Social Media Marketing – Businesses were already turning hip to the powers of social media in the realm of marketing in 2009 (Dairy Queen, American fast-food chain and a local radio station WUKY are among the few who actively built their social media presence last year), and 2010 will reveal more and more businesses, including small businesses, resorting to the aid of social media marketing. According to industry experts, “Social media in 2010 will cease being the shiny new object and instead become part of the everyday lexicon of business.” And that it will no longer be considered a ‘fad’ used by youngsters and movie stars, but a marketing force to be reckoned with.
3. Social Media to Gain on Email – Even in 2009 with all the social media frenzy, email had reigned as the favorite form of online marketing, as difficult as it is to believe. But all that will change this year as the popularity of social media, social networks to be exact, is set to reach an unprecedented level and marketers will opt to capitalize on the multimedia elements and sharing options of social media.
4. Social Mobility – The popularity of smartphones has steadily increased over the past couple of years. With newer and smarter models available on the market, people, especially the young and the upwardly mobile (no pun intended), prefer to rely on them to conduct all their web-related activities, of which social media-based ones form a major chunk. 2010 will see a surge in the number of users who engage in social media activities through their phones; with the number of iPhone users to hit 1 billion within the year and 46% of all social media users already choosing to connect using their mobile devices, I have no trouble believing this forecast.
5. Corporate Social Media – Even while small business were actively adopting and incorporating social media into their marketing plans, the corporate world, save for a visionary few, remained vary of it. That will change this year, if it hasn’t already started changing, from aggressive marketing efforts to ingenious customer relationship management techniques, the corporate world is opening up to social media and is beginning to employ social media in all possible arenas. It’s all about building a ‘relatable’ profile on the various social media sites. They might not market their products or advertise openly in these profiles, but it will still be important to make their presence felt in the social media sites. This year will see corporate companies “leveraging social technology” and establishing their corporate ‘social’ identities, possibly helping them ‘humanize’ their corporate personas. About time.
6. The Women Of Social Media – Several reports in 2009 revealed that women were the undisputed rulers of social media, be it shopping sites, social networking sites, blogs or even micro blogging platforms (Twitter – 57%, Facebook – 57%, Flickr – 55%, Yelp – 57%), the female population seriously outnumbered the male population. Blogger moms are already recognized as a powerful web demographic and are expected to have more clout in the coming years. It is clear that women are growing to be the stronger sex on the web. This trend is expected to only grow stronger in 2010. The fact that more than 85% of all buying decisions of a household are made by a woman only goes on to reinforce the relevance and importance of this trend. Remains to be seen if this would result in potentially skewed, woman-centric social media that will pander women and women alone. Men, better watch out!
From where I stand, perched on the beginning of this year, this seems the most likely course that social media will adopt. Further down the road, new development may spring to alter its course; but right now, you can decide whether you want to ride the wave and benefit from the emerging social media phenomenon or be washed away by it. Be hip to what social media can offer you this year and make the best use of it.