This time of year, I like to review what people think is in store for us in the coming twelve months. I’ve read through lots of material, so I thought I would summarize a few points about what I hope will change in 2012 as well as a few trends I expect will play out.
First, what I hope evolves from 2011 missteps into greater insight:
- During 2011, I talked with too many social media leaders who were still focused on the ‘media’ and not the ‘social.’ We are in the midst of a significant business disruption, but all too often the discussion centered on ‘should I have a facebook page or not?’ (You may want to see my blog on the top ten signals that indicate your management doesn’t get social media). Yes, this is still an issue. I did a workshop with a client before the holidays. It started out with the Business Gets Social scenario presentation in which Gartner clearly recommends that the choice of technology is the last of the eight building blocks social media leaders need to plan for. So when it came to the discussion of ‘what should we do for social?’ the workshop participants started arguing about whether their social strategy should be built using product A or product B. Hopefully this year the emphasis will be on the necessary behavior change to espouse social and humanize the enterprise.
- Last year, social was still just an add-on to existing business processes, not an integrated, organized effort. Gartner recommends that social media leaders explore how they can augment existing business processes with social. The critical question in my mind is how to use ‘1000 eyes’ (See the blog post). But too many social media initiatives are disconnected from other enterprise activities. Another real-life example ripped from the headlines (or rather my own experience): I got a tweet from a vendor asking if I was going to join their webinar. This is a vendor I’ve worked with for years, one who regularly emails me stuff, so someone in marketing knows I am on their distribution list. When I declined the invite to the webinar, the tweeter asked me to send them my email so they could send me the slides post-event. Ah, well. Hopefully, we will make some progress in this regard, too.
Here are a few social media trends for 2012 to ponder as you develop your plans:
- Emergence of what Gartner calls the nexus for four forces: The convergence of cloud, social, mobile and information into a unified set of forces shaping almost every IT-related decision. They key is that social does not live alone. (Gartner clients may want to read the report Predicts 2012: Four Forces Combine to Transform the IT Landscape)
- Increasing customer expectation for engagement via social channels. Here is the prediction from Jeff Mann and me: By 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls is today. Let me know if you want the entire predicts report and I can send it to you.
- Increased interest in social analytics. This includes not only the collection of social intelligence information but also the organization competency to use the intelligence for more informed decision making. Yes, we’ve been talking about data-driven decision making for years, but now its feasible and there is additional insight to be gleaned from social network interactions.
The cool thing about a new year is that it gives us the chance to start over. I hope you are doing that with a joyful heart and a boatload of enthusiasm.
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