2009 was a phenomenal year for social media, with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube becoming part and parcel of everyday life. This development has been driven by the unprecedented growth of these and other online channels, resulting in the acknowledgement of social media as more than just a socializing tool.
Social Media provides business value
Despite the number of users engaged with social media, up until now it has been viewed primarily as a social tool. As the online audience continues to mature and develop this will change. Business will finally begin to understand the value of social media and how it can apply to their line of work, whether they are B2B or B2C.
One factor that has limited the uptake of social media in the business sector has been its perceived lack of tangible value. Unlike traditional media like print where value is based on editorial space and circulation figures, social media relies on 100’s of potential factors which vary in importance depending on the site. For some companies pageviews on their blog are the most important factor, while on Facebook the number of fans may be the key differentiator.
Although still in its infancy more and more companies dealing with social media monitoring are coming to the fore. There is a definite gap in the market and it is surely only a matter of time before companies are able to translate return on investment from social media.
As social media continues to gain credibility in 2010, there will be a move away from one off isolated campaigns. Online/social media campaigns will become part of everyday operations. There will be a greater understanding of the way the web works, and the importance of controlling/guiding your brand in the public space.
Having a great website will no longer cut it. To ensure value, business will need to make use of various social media channels. Each channel will act as an extension of the other and will form part of an integrated strategic campaign.
The days where the company admin person was tasked with managing the entire businesses web presence are gone. Online departments in PR and marketing agencies will become the norm and will focus on a full spectrum of services including; Social Media, SEO, Online Advertising, Online PR, Blogging etc. For those companies who can’t afford to employ three or four people to manage the online space, they will be forced to improve efficiencies by cutting other departments dealing with more traditional services.
Increase in interactive channels
As users get inundated with more and more content via the web, interactive channels such as video will continue to gain prominence. With the arrival of various cables across South Africa, viewing video content will become a reality as broadband speeds increase and costs continue to drop.
According to Judith Middleton CEO of DUO Marketing + Communications, transparency and candour are fundamental to the impact of any online campaign. Customers need to know that they can trust your offering. Build credibility by being real. The online space is fast; you have less time than ever to impress your customers.