This is the second part of my 2011 social media predictions. Part 1 is available here.
Social Media Command Center
More people within the enterprise will start to be present in Social Media, and the dedicated social media role begins to fade
Up until now, most of the company twitter identities I’ve come across have been US-centric or global, driven by one or a few people. As social media becomes part of everyone’s job, I think we’ll start to see more than just the initial SoMe evangelist manning the fire hose - and will find efficient ways to share the workload across a broader team. This will allow organizations to engage in discussions locally using local language, and to talk about locally relevant products and offers.
The challenge will be ensuring that the distributed organization maintains a consistent identity and voice; and that there is a centralized system for making sure that cries for help are responded to appropriately.
This will need a good workflow system, a solid training and support mechanism for the distributed teams, and a good flow of information to provide them with the tools they need to stay current with the company’s latest messaging and offers.
More companies deploying Social Media Command Centers
In social media – the customer is generally represented by one person, who at various times may be researching new products or expecting support assistance. They don’t care who is behind the company twitter account – just that the company is listening to their needs, and providing the right answers.
Within the company – there is often a tug of war between the various groups with a stake in social media (which turns out to be most of the company). One way to help resolve this is to create a centralized command center, supporting both sales/marketing and support teams. I think this is a good way to ensures that the company deals with all types of interactions in social media without becoming overly reliant on sales/marketing or support to know what the other group needs.
The control-center would provide an entry point into the company covering ALL discussions about our products and brands. A small team could respond to queries (supporting the brand message), nurture or route potential leads to an social-media-inside-sales team, as well as escalating or routing issues for the support team.
Brian Solis’ conversation funnel illustrates this well, and he also has a post talking about Dell and Gatorade’s recently announced Command Centers. I did notice from Brian’s post that that the Dell one is owned by the support team, while the Gatorade one by the marketing team.
Social graph and implicit search
Mobile and local tied to your social graph
Now that the US have finally caught up with (and overtaken Europe) with smart phones (iPhone/Android), we’ll continue to see the growth of mobile users accessing the social web from their handsets. The new array of reasonably priced Android handsets will continue to drive smart-phones down to the mid-market and mainstream consumers.
The world-wide tour that Marissa Mayer has been on recently, covered in numerous blogs and on-stage at Le Web gives us some hints to Google’s plans for social. As I suspected last year - it looks like they’re going to use the fact that they’ve got you, your location and your contacts from Android with some sort of implicit search to provide you with information that you want before you think to search for it. The scenes from various SciFi movies are already ringing in my memory - and I can imagine lots of personally useful services (such as giving me tips for restaurants I might like to visit that have received good reviews, or that were visited by my friends in the past).
It only remains to be seen if Google can convince enough of us to relinquish our privacy (within the scope of our social graph) to a sufficient level to pass the tipping point required to make this sort of service useful.
Ecommerce and social connected with OpenID
I think you’ve all seen the facebook social plugins appearing on blogs, and brand pages - pointing out those from your social graph who have liked, or commented on a blog post. You’re also probably familiar with consumer reviews on sites like Amazon - which I always refer to when purchasing. The missing element here is a link between the two. When I’m looking at a list of product reviews - I’d like to see if any of my friends have used one of the products that I’m looking at - and then I can send them a message to see what they think of it now.
The technology missing here is some way to connect my disparate identities across the various sites (also helping to reduce the plethora of passwords and accounts I have to remember). I suspect that this could either be done through the use of an 3rd party identity host (OpenID, google, facebook or twitter) to identify reviewers on the product site; or some sort of search aggregation (Google) where the search engine is able to connect my identity on Amazon with who I am on Google.
It will also require the manufacturers or vendors to relinquish control over user accounts - which will be a big step for some like HP and Amazon.
I’d love to hear if you agree with my predictions for 2011. Am I too early with some of these; or do the technologies to deliver on these ideas already exist? Let me know if the comments…