2009 brought tremendous growth to online social websites. During the last 6 months of 2009, Facebook, alone, grew 500,000 users per day! So, what online social trends will 2010 bring? Below are a few predictions and ways you can profitably adapt.
Trend: Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace may be the Big Three gorillas in the ring. But, hundreds of other thriving communities populate markets, such as the Tech industry (experts-exchange.com) and Movie market (imdb.com). Expect continued penetration into all sectors.
Adaptation: Every market has a built in community. Study your community. Identify a niche and missing link. Plan your approach. And implement your strategy with dependable technology.
Trend: Till now, the Big Three have delivered venture capitalists dismal returns (Facebook advertising being the recent exception). VCs now insist on a solid business model. Companies that successfully monetize their community (ie: social shopping sites) will prosper.
Adaptation: Think Starbucks: while coffee sales are the main focus, early successes stemmed from an open invitation to hangout. Inevitably, lounging patrons made multiple purchases. Replace your hard sell with your niche’s missing link. And by default, members will call upon you for your service/product.
Trend: In 2009, members
wasted logged countless hours competing in social games, like Facebook’s Farmerville. Despite the elementary graphics, members are sucked in by friendly competition (better not steal my carrots). In 2010, companies will incentivize social participation with playful participation.
Adaptation: Think creatively about how to incentivize participation. Depending on your market and goals, a simple but clever social game can incentivize member participation and community referrals.
Trend: Smartphone saturation and enforced corporate policies against on-the-job use of online social networks will create a perfect storm for mass mobile phone access of online social portals.
Adaptation: If you expect your social portal to survive into the next decade, it MUST be mobile-friendly.
Trend: 2010 will continue the trend of corporate participation in all spaces of social media. While companies will maintain their own social communities, branding within the Big Three and industry related communities will remain important.
Adaptation: Your message must be everywhere. Use the Big Three and other social networks as satelite beacons to your central social headquarters.
Muting the Noise
Trend: Rapid-fire Tweets, Facebook hyper-updates, MySpace spam, and a barrage of other social streams have shortened attention spans to that of a pubescent nat. 2010 will continue to deliver platforms, aggregators, and filters that allow muting of anything people define as intrusive or irrelevant.
Adaptation: Focus on interacting with your target group. Traditional "broadcast messages" fall on deaf ears withint social portals. The keyword is "interact."
Trend: Social portals are primarily made of real people seeking real interaction with real people. Stuffy corporate fan and Twitter pages will continue to fail miserably.
Adaptation: Don't be affraid to remove the corporate mask. Be - create - or hire an engaging personality to genuinely interact with your audience. And while your at it, replace that stuffy logo profile image on your Twitter page with a real person.
Do you agree with this list? Is thre something I left out? I'd love to here your comments on how you see Social Media evolving in 2010.