I just caught Six social media changes businesses should watch for this year from the Financial Post. I think it’s an interesting list. And the post is written by Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, who is certainly an industry leader.
1. Retail connections. This means buy-now buttons, inside Facebook, and so on. Don’t send people out of the platform to buy. The post says:
In North America, the primary stumbling block has been ease of use. To buy on social media, consumers have had to click out to other sites (always problematic on smartphones) or have been offered limited selection (remember the now defunct Facebook Gifts). Now, Pinterest’s Buyable Pins let users browse colour and style options and pay, without leaving the platform.
2. Employee engagement. Supposedly companies are turning to employees to add bulk to their social media and authenticity as well. Really? I’m not convinced. At best, this will be case by case, in some businesses. And much more likely to happen in small business than big business.
3. Social networks at work. Interesting, but I’m not convinced. I think this and prediction #2 above contradict each other. Big businesses like internal social networks so they don’t have employee thoughts, hearts, and minds wandering off into Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But the in-house social is just communication, while real social is life.
4. Friendlier customer service. Of course. Because the request is in public, which is also a veiled threat. And we business owners are plenty forewarned. Friendlier or else.
5. Social video on a roll. Yes, brace yourself, this is real. Facebook videos are a major factor competing with Youtube. And then there’s Twitter native video, snapchat. Some businesses are going to make a lot of headway with this. People want it. Videos get attention. Nobody reads.
6. Social media skills gap widens. The post says:
Among 2,100 companies surveyed by Harvard Business Review, just 12 per cent of those using social media feel they do so effectively. Even millennials are falling short. The consequence of this social media skills gap can be seen in mounting corporate social media gaffes, from misused hashtags — see the Forbes article that includes DiGiorno Pizza’s gaffe with #WhyIStayed — to scheduled posts gone awry, not to mention trillions of dollars in lost productivity and business value.
Conclusion: Do you own a business? Just keep watching. Me too. And we should not ignore this.