By Natasha Netschay Davies, Instructor of Media Relations and Social Networking
Although 2010 saw an increase in companies using social technologies, most posts on Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts were merely announcements or redirects to a corporate website. As firms become more familiar with the etiquette and overall landscape of the Social Web, 2011 will see a truer form of engagement between organizations and their stakeholders.
Businesses open up… finally
Brands will move past monitoring social chatter and repurposing corporate snippets for social profiles. They’ll ask for questions and feedback on their services, acknowledge negative issues and moderate discussion groups. Managing healthy crowd-sourcing campaigns will build a company’s social confidence and a tougher digital skin.
Commercialization of the Social Web
As social platforms have gained a solid user audience, some will begin to charge for extra-value features. From SlideShare’s lead generator to PitchEngine’s newsroom for Facebook, some businesses will pay for features to set them apart from their competitors. At the end of the day, will these features help brands to better engage with the public anymore than the free versions of social technologies? Balance is key: an over-customized, over-featured social presence risks alienating the stakeholder with too many choices.
Social connections harder to earn
Users will get choosy. A savvier social crowd means it will take more to convince someone to follow, connect or like a company. What will attract the social public is useful and interesting content in all shapes and forms, which will result in viral social actions, such as sharing.