Social marketing trends, predictions and new skills
In the past few weeks the interwebs were flooded with social media and social marketing trends and predictions for 2011. (Let me Google that for you, if you haven’t seen one of the 837467382904 posts on the topic.) What will happen in the social media space in 2011? A lot of exciting things: from average users experiencing social media schizophrenia which will lead to increased consumer content curation, to brands acting more like media companies, to the move from slacktivism to hyper citizen activism, to full integration, although that was a prediction for 2009 and 2010 and still hasn’t happened. Maybe.
But what do all these predictions mean for advertising agencies? What do they mean for people who have social marketing in their titles or college graduates trying to get a job as social media something something?
The traditional requirements for that position still remain relevant. We must (yes, I did say must) know the difference between social media and social marketing. We all should be self-motivated, innovative, business savvy and strategic content creators and curators. But with the changes that have occurred in the past year, we, and the agencies that hire us, should strive for more.
Besides knowing the tools and their capabilities, social marketing managers should also know how people use these tools. We think that everyone is a social butterfly and people engage with strangers on Twitter just because that is what we do. Let’s quit projecting and learn how exactly clients’ audiences use these tools. We should examine how people engage with brands online, which is a very different behavior from how they engage with their niche communities.
We should continue our search for the right measurement systems and approaches. We’ve talked about going beyond clicks, RTs, likes, etc. Let’s refocus from measuring social activity to measuring the success of an integrated effort. Instead of having a social marketing measurement report, we should have measurement reports that give the numbers as they relate to a business goal: sales, awareness, etc. even if that means measuring offline.
Since even ordinary people will get fatigue from social media, everyone would be much pickier about the content we consume, which makes quality content more important than ever. Utilitainment will be a responsibility of every social/community manager and that means we will have to produce valuable (valuable for our clients’ audiences, not for us or for the clients) content for each selected platform. Regardless of the format, content strategy that leads engaging and involving content will be a must. Let’s put our efforts in mastering content strategy instead of producing content just to say we are publishers or media companies.
Most importantly, we should become even better at teaching. Teaching everyone: from clients to account people to creatives to planners. If we do our job well, we will be obsolute in a year or two because social media should be everyone’s job. Instead of having social media managers, gurus, strategists, etc, we should just have community managers. The New York Times eliminating its social media editor position is a good thing. And the same should be true for agencies, even if that means that I won’t have a job.
Scary? Yes! Exciting? Even more so!
What will you change in 2011? How will all trends and predictions change your job, responsibilities and skills?
P.S. Happy holidays!