When I first started this post, the new year had that shiny new car smell to it. A couple of weeks have passed and well, the new car smell is pretty much gone. I bet there are a lot of people who are already tired of 2010. Not me. This year (and decade) is full of possibilities and milestones. As we have transitioned from the past year into the new one, we reflect on what has just passed and what may lay before us. I am working through that process now, perhaps a bit behind the curve, but I am taking the long view and do not want to fall into the new year resolution trap.
As I think about why lies ahead, a raft of ideas and inspiration have come from the multitude of people who wrote about their past year and what they expected out of 2010. Some posts centered around personal and professional goals while MANY others discussed the ever changing world of “social everything”.
To summarize, 2009 saw the “great awakening of social everything”. Discussion of social networks, social marketing, social interactions, Twitter, Facebook and so on moved into the mainstream consciousness. These ideas and topics became considered, discussed and debated broadly rather than just among the aficionados. We witnessed how the power of the masses brought together with technology shaped opinions and spawned political change (can you say Scott Brown?). The pace of change and innovation accelerated throughout the year ending with the announcements between Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook. Information, comments and thoughts are available immediately forcing people and organizations to consider how they will manage expectations for real time interaction.
So what can we expect in 2010. More of the same. Many of the predictions may or may not apply to you (I am including a list of what other people have predicted at the end for your reading pleasure). However the basic blocking and tackling still do apply:
- Is your organization remarkable? What makes you, your group, your product or service so unbelievable that people cannot stop talking about you (in a positive manner of course)? Be honest. If the answer is, “there is nothing truly remarkable about ____” then stop thinking about a Facebook Fan page. Think and be remarkable. It makes everything else a lot easier.
- Who is talking about you? If you have not setup a listening program to learn what people are saying about you then this is the first step. Start with Google Alerts or move onto to something at the enterprise level such as Radian6. Learn what are people saying (good or bad), how often, and on which networks or communities for starters. This will inform how your overall approach.
- What are your goals? More awareness? More engagement? More revenue? What is your end game? How much money, time and people are you willing to invest? What is working well today and what can we change? Answers to these questions will also shape your strategy.
- This is where some of the predictions for the coming year come into play. For example, mobile advertising will explode with the continued growth of smartphones like the iPhone, Nexus One, other Android based phone and other devices like the slew of tablets being announced at CES and at the end of the month. Foursquare, Gowalla and other geo-location apps will become more prevalent. How many of your customers would take advantage of offers presented to them as they walk by? How much would it cost to produce the app or offer? Can you afford it? Can you afford not to, meaning your competitors will take the risk? I have no clear answer other than to say it depends on a lot of variables.
- Say, how is your website? All nice and search optimized? Are you making it easy for people to find you? Better spend resources on improving the search ranking first so that you can aggregate the search benefits as you bring additional channels on line.
- Content is king. If you are remarkable and you know the who you, what and where of your engagement strategy, do you have the content to bring them to you? Producing fun, engaging, interesting, informative and integrated content is not easy or inexpensive. Yes, I said it is not cheap. You might decide to produce all of the content in-house thus saving on outside resources but your time is valuable. People with the right skill and talent cost money whether they are inside or outside your organization.
Moral of the story, make sure you and/or your organization is building a firm foundation where you can integrate all of these wonderful predictions. Continued success in 2010 and beyond.
Some social-ly predictions for 2010 (in no particular order, all of the prediction posts I have seen can be found at http://delicious.com/jslima05/predictions+2010):