That social networking is now inherent to marketing and PR cannot be denied. Everyone from kids in school to big organizations and celebrities now have their footprint in any available social forum, the popular ones being Facebook and Twitter. Social media has changed everyday routines, getting people hooked to whatever forum it is that they are using. This year and the decade that follows will see how social media will claim its space in the marketing arena, and the time and talent of millions of individuals.
What will the impact of social media marketing be on traditional marketing? Will we never be alone again? How much of profit can anyone reap with this new tool? What next? With more than two billion (and the number grows as I type) people connected to the Internet, and reshaping the very structure of connectivity (usage: mobile phones also, availability: all the time, access to: many things that weren’t accessible before), the Internet is all set to revolutionize, thanks to social networking.
Here’s what I think will be the future of social networking (and as I write this can see a few changes are already taking place).
1. There has been a big increase in the sales of mobile phones and, particularly smartphones. The phone is now another tool to access the Internet especially by those on the move and who cannot access social networking sites at work. Since there is a vast amount of information available on the net now, channels for entertainment and ways to keep in touch, many prefer their phones to a PC. Also, companies have now recognized the potential of smartphones and have developed applications for users like Yammer and meeting room booking applications.
2. Social networking has taken its toll on e-mails. Even these so-called “forward” mails have reduced, with links being posted in social forums doing the rounds. Companies however will continue to use e-mails. The flow of projects however may have different applications to review progress, thus reducing e-mails. The rise of tools like Google Wave will see innovative forms of communication.
3. Devices such as Apple’s iPAD – also known as the third device – will open up a world of possibilities, while merging the phone and the PC, and thus will give rise to newer forms of social networking.
4. Not many people realize that they leave their footprints behind when they use social networking forums like Facebook. This will make things easy for big corporations to target social networking addicts with their products and information. Since there is now a shift towards content coming with a price, and users moving away from traditional search engines to finding their content from specific locations and integrating it with their own information, it will now be easy for the companies with data to target the people who need their data.
5. Social and intranet platforms will merge to give rise to social intranets. Many companies now have their own social networks already!
6. Another ‘big thing’ is the integration of various log-in IDs and passwords. The next five years will have us accessing various platforms with a single ID.
7. The usage of video to generate content like with training or solutions to problems has increased. This year will see this trend moving on to social networking too.
With social media giants slowly waking up to see the profitability of their creations, we are assured of a bright future that benefits both individuals and organizations.