Social Media Strategy: What Will Stay the Same in Social Media?

Social Media Strategy: What Will Stay the Same in Social Media?
By Mike Brown

I participated in a panel discussion last month with a sizeable group of Kansas Citians exploring ideas on current and future trends shaping social media strategy and integrated marketing communications. The recap of the entire conversation is in the October 2013 edition of Ingram’s Magazine.

Social Media Strategy Changes

The first question, which went to each participant, seemed sensible enough to start a social media strategy conversation: “What do you see as the most significant changes in social media technologies, applications, and uses over the next one to two years?”

Maybe surprisingly, those types of future looking, change predicting questions aren’t ones I spend much time thinking about on a regular basis.

In developing a strategy (social media strategy or otherwise), our initial perspective is typically not what the next change or new big thing will be. Instead, in developing a solid strategic foundation, we begin by addressing what WON’T change in the near term.

While you need to anticipate changes (and, based on your business, actually create changes), we find it makes the most strategic sense to start with what you can depend on, plan for, and know you can implement successfully for an extended period of time. This is especially true for many of the clients we work with on social media strategy. Most aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be) chasing the newest thing. Many organizations simply need to get started sharing stories and valuable insights through social channels without worrying about implementing a presence on the newest social network.

The Place of Sameness and Change in Social Media Strategy

So how did I answer the opening question?

I answered “abstractly,” at least according to discussion moderator Neal Sharma. My answer addressed both something that I don’t think will change AND a point of change brands, organizations, and governments should pay attention to in social networks.

My answer was to watch “borders” for changes and new developments.

I referenced the impact in Egypt several years ago of Twitter. With Twitter becoming a significant communication channel in the Egyptian revolution, it was the first time that many in the public became aware of the potential impact of social networks. In the instance of Egypt, political borders were breached because of social networks. The result was that people outside Egypt who might never have any idea about what people in Egypt were thinking or doing now had vital insights into the issues and sentiment of the people inside the country’s borders.

This isn’t the only type of border social networks can change dramatically. Social networks also have the potential to profoundly change familial, organizational, supply chain, societal, geographic, philosophical, intellectual, and many other types of borders as well.

As I answered Neal’s question, the key is looking at any situation where someone can say, “We’re over here, and you are over there.” Wherever this type of definitive separation is in place, consider yourself warned: social networks have the potential to change, blow up, rearrange, revisit, and re-establish (or not) the borders that exist between two groups.

And while that dynamic won’t change in the next 18 to 24 months, its constancy means you’ll see many changes across borders during this same time period.

I guess it was kind of an abstract answer.

Your thoughts on what will change in social media strategy?

What do you think will be the changes in social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.