Though social media has been around for several years, it’s still
considered to be in an “evolving” state. Social media has
transformed in the last couple of years and more changes are on the
horizon as we go further into 2011. From a business perspective, it’s
exciting as well as crucial to keep pace with the latest changes on
the social media front.
I believe that 2010 was a milestone year for social media as it was
embraced on a mass-scale in the business world. It was rather
uncommon for businesses to have Twitter profiles and Facebook fan
pages till two years back, and now – it’s a norm rather than an
However, using social media for business gains is no walk in the
park. There are challenges which need to be dealt with and
opportunities which need to be capitalized upon. IMO, businesses
will face the following five challenges for social media adoption
for the rest of 2011.
Mention the word ‘Privacy’ and Facebook comes to mind
instantaneously. It may rank on top the world’s most popular
websites, but it sill leaves a lot to be desired as far as
simplifying privacy is concerned. In fact, I strongly believe that
Facebook has lost a massive share to Twitter, especially amongst
the business fraternity, owing to its privacy blues.
While Zuckerberg and co. have done a decent job of fixing
Facebook’s privacy flaws, it needs to be further “simplified” to
appeal to the common man. IMO, creating a set of new privacy
controls for business users is a good option as well. After all,
businesses have other things to worry about in 2011 rather than
spend valuable time fixing their privacy settings.
I see 2011 as the year of social convergence. I’m not saying that
Facebook will buy Twitter or vice-versa. I believe that an
increasing number of business users would be interested in
exploring tools which offer them a convergent view of all their
social media networks. While several such tools (e.g. Ping.fm)
already exist, their popularity is limited.
Imagine a business searching for suitable candidates for a job
opening on LinkedIn. They would not only be interested in going
through a candidate’s professional profile (LinkedIn) but would
also be keen to explore his/ her social habits (Facebook, Twitter).
Smartphones are expected to outsell computer in 2012. A large
proportion of social media fraternity already uses smartphones
rather than computers to access Facebook, Twitter and other leading
social media networks.
Businesses will need to consider “mobile” as one of the key
differentiating factors as part of their social media strategy. For
example, creating an iPhone/ Android promotional mobile app for
your business which uses your Facebook or Twitter credentials is
likely to gain good traction. Tapping the keenly contested “social
media on mobile” segment will be a challenge for businesses in 2011.
Facebook overtook Google as the most popular site in the Unites
States earlier in 2010. Twitter was amongst the most sought after
sites during the FIFA 2010 world cup and encouraged Google to
include tweets in its search results. In general, businesses will
focus more on the “social search” aspect in 2011. While SEO would
still be important, social search would provide the added value
from much-needed “sharing” components.
Social Analytics (aka Socialytics) has been one of the most
overlooked aspects of social media in the business world. And it
will pose yet another stiff challenge for businesses in 2011.
Measuring the ROI on social media efforts is no rocket science, but
it does require a well-planned social media strategy, coupled with
right tools and efficient execution.
CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF THAT SAYS, “IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP”;
IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP ONLY WHEN YOU FAIL TO TAKE OTHERS ALONG.