Developing a Digital Strategy 002 – Current trends

The development of ‘Web 2.0’ has changed the way products and information can be delivered with the result that there are many new startup organizations serving an overlapping customer need, whose organizational architecture is radically different to the conventional approach and a threat to existing business and revenue streams (Michael Nielsen, 2009). Often new startups have a cheaper and quicker route to market than more established organizations in the market.

Loss of Brand Control

Connecting with your audience in Web 2.0 terms, an online environment characterized by facilitated communication and communities, inevitably means loss of control from a company branding perspective.  In order to engage, individuals no longer give pre-screened press releases, but engage in an unrehearsed often conversational way. Comments are not vetted at board level. Issues facing companies are

  • Control and obscurity vs perceived loss of control and online presence
  • Company and products praised or complained about publicly in social media
  • Local digital strategies at department level needing approval at board level
  • Employee use of social media at work, for work and personal use
  • Merging of Company and Personal online identities

Nevertheless a strategic use of Social Media can bring increased traffic and returns on investment.

jordan-rules-giving-up-control1

adapted from TheJordanRules, giving up control.

Six Social Media trends

Harvard Business Publishing (David Armano) predicted six social media trends for 2010:

‘In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive’

1. Social media begins to look less social

With groups, lists and niche networks becoming more popular, networks could begin to feel more ‘exclusive’. Not everyone can fit on someone’s newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it’s likely that user behavior such as ‘hiding’ the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common. Perhaps it’s not actually less social, but it might seem that way as we all come to terms with getting value out of our networks — while filtering out the clutter.

2. Corporations look to scale

At the moment there are few large companies that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Custom built systems are beginning to develop as more companies look for cost savings or to serve customers more effectively through using social technology (The WoodWing system being used in publishing is an example). This is a sign of things to come over the next year.

3. Social business becomes serious play

Networked activity is becoming local and mobile, often using game-like qualities.  As businesses look to incentivize activity within their internal or external networks, they may include carrots that encourage a bit of friendly competition with other users.

4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)

If the company you work for doesn’t already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year. From how to conduct yourself as an employee to what’s considered competition, it’s likely that you’ll see something formalized about how the company views social media and your participation in it.

5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline

With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it’s likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into “social media breaks” as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn’t looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice.

6. Sharing no longer means e-mail

The New York Times iPhone application recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many websites already support this functionality, but it’s likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose.

Reference:

Michael Nielsen, Is scientific publishing about to be disrupted (2009)