[Editor’s Note: On Jan. 11, 2014 we published Jessica Oaks’s “The Top Social Media Predictions for 2014”. Teem’d CEO Yves Salama sent us his personal viewpoints on Jessica’s observations, and with Jessica’s agreement, they’re shown below her original text.]
Social Going Fully Mobile
Gone are the days when logging into Facebook meant sitting down at a computer. Cheap cell phone plans with big, or unlimited, data allotments mean people are accessing social media accounts anywhere and anytime. Just half a year ago, Facebook revealed that 78% of US users are accessing the site via mobile devices so that’s nothing new. But it’s still a surprise to see how we’re increasingly turning to phones and tablets to check in with virtual friends even when there’s a computer handy. Expect to see more people curled up on couches with phones in hand in 2014.
Sure, mobile now, but other tools and applications will continue to emerge. So far we have desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and TVs. Cars and appliances maybe next. But let’s not forget good word of mouth.
Tumblr (Possibly) Tanking
At least, that’s the word on the street. The microblogging platform was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013 thanks to a user base of over 150 million strong but, Tumblr recently removed its traffic reports from measurement service Quantcast and that has some people worrying. But before you write off Tumblr as the next MySpace, consider that comScore shows the site’s unique monthly page views holding steady over the year, and its mobile user base may be growing. That said, if Tumblr doesn’t go the way of the dodo in 2014, rest assured that at least one major social site will be the victim of social media Darwinism.
Things will continue to change
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has implied that his brainchild will be around forever, and while that may be true, the landscape is changing fast. Social media managers are seeing their reach and fan engagement dropping with each new day as Facebook pushes its ‘promoted’ (read: paid) posts model. Whether companies and marketers will embrace the new paradigm in 2014 has yet to be seen, but we’ll definitely be logging into a different kind of Facebook. And sharing it with a different kind of audience. The site may still be top dog, but it’s been deemed uncool by the next generation of users, i.e., teens.
Facebook may be changing, but it has it’s audience. Late December, early January every year, mailboxes are jammed with catalogs and mail solicitations. And telemarketers begin to call around 9am. Somebody thinks this is productive. We are also seeing new (some clever) ways to reach us — turnstiles, stairs, Kindle screensaver. Could it be that we are not witnessing the rise and fall of individual channels or media but the proliferation of new ways to communicate and stay in touch.
One size doesn’t fit all. Some people are best reached on Facebook, others Twitter, email, LinkedIn, G+, … This makes it difficult, because each channel demands a different tone — professional, objective, personal, intimate, edgy. It’s not as simple as enhancing image quality to show a movie on HD. Though some tools and venues make it easy (5 Ways to Redistribute and Repurpose Your Content) it isn’t and it’s one of the reasons we are flooded with content. It’s essential to be sensitive to the audience and stay relevant.
Companies and organizations that once had a single dedicated community manager are now requiring social shout outs from customer service reps to finance wizards to IT grunts. Could that mean one trick social pro ponies are going to find themselves sans employment in 2014? Maybe. One sign pointing to yes is that numbers of job listings with ‘social media’ in the title and description are growing more slowly than they once did, and more listings are looking for professionals with skills beyond social. Expect to see demand for social skills go up in every area of the business world, but remember, specialization is for insects.
Jessica Oaks is right to observe that social media is proliferating in organizations, that customer service reps, finance wizards, and IT are getting in on the act.
Over time jobs change. When MySpace and Facebook were emerging, companies and organizations appointed interns, ad agencies and admin assistants to activate the account. Later, when CFO’s asked “why are we spending on conferences, training, consultants” participants started to track their followers, friends and fans, the new buzzword was engagement.
Now company silos are looking to take charge, HR looks to LinkedIn to find new candidates, Account Management listens in to several channels for complaints and negative comments, Sales participate for new prospects. Different locations, offices, agents, are all asking to do the same. Now we are witnessing the proliferation of socia media.
Skillsets have evolved in line with the requirements. Activating social media accounts required a basic understanding of HTML, and the range of opportunities available on the different social media sites. Consultants were advising to add images, tags, links, videos. Engaging with followers required keeping score, comparing with the competition, monitoring conversations.
Now we need to herd cats. On the one hand, bring all contributors on the same page to protect the brand and maintain a consistent message. And on the other to integrate social media with different marketing efforts from different groups.
Universal Innovation and Adoption
If the question is who will be leveraging the power of social in 2014, the answer is everyone. Tweeting in class may be a no-no, but schools are going to adopt the kinds of collaborative tech that is driven by social media. Social advertising will be taking over the spot in our psyches where TV ads used to live. Video sharing and creation is going to hit the big time if Snapchat’s thriving 13-25 year old demo is any indication. People will be using social media in ways that will surprise you.
Yves Salama is CEO of Teem’d, a collaboration tool that allows everybody in the organization to contribute to the social media conversation. Local groups can work together to tailor the message for their local audiences. The platform crowd-sources oversight and the sharing of prepared content. Link to teemd.com and @Teemd_social.