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As users and marketers are maturing in the use of social media, platform providers are also entering a new stage in their life cycles. In the following, you will find three pertinent social media trends that will shape the social media world as we know it.

MarektingXLerator, Social Media Marekting & Strategy

1. Maturity For many social media marketers the “shiny object syndrome” of social media has worn off and the reality that social media provides just another tool kit for marketers has set in.  As it has become clear that social is not free, people are starting to flock towards marketing automation and CRM systems to help them measure the impact of their social media activity. 

This can be difficult, especially for large companies with multiple systems and small companies with limited budgets. As many are trying to catch up with this sophisticated new marketing reality, continuous innovation and new mandates like mobile keep marketers on their toes.

2. Consolidation and Isolation The big social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+, have been consolidating features on their platforms. Each of these “communities” wants to offer every possible social feature themselves: content sharing, video, live streaming, discussions – to just name a few.

Points in case are: 

a) Twitter dropping support for Instagram and getting their own photo (and video) tool;

b) LinkedIn adding endorsements, company pages, and the option to add all kinds of content to profiles;

c) Facebook offering live streaming and now even free phone calls.  Realistically, for marketers, it’s a strain on resources to have to upload the same content to multiple platforms, e.g. pictures to Instagram, pictures to Twitter, and pictures to G+. 

Personally, I like it that I can put my videos only on YouTube and then share them almost anywhere – easy!

So here is my prediction:

As most individuals, and even companies, don’t have the bandwidth to be equally active on all major channels and duplicate their content uploads, there is going to be a movement of isolation as a result to all this consolidation activity. People will narrow down the number of social networks they engage with. This is likely to give each network an even stronger niche focus, e.g. Facebook for B2C, LinkedIn for B2B. All in all, maybe not a bad thing.

3. Drop off and Specialization

Let me ask you this provocative question: “Can you imagine a world without Facebook?”

I had been lukewarm on G+ ever since it started – but since they announced their Communities functionality, I see the sky as Google’s limit. Think about it: Community, email, analytics, document hosting, pictures, video sharing with YouTube and more – and all of it accessible with a single password and login, connected to the most powerful search engine in the world.

And while Facebook charges brands to reach 100% of their audience (PageRank), Google makes this free (at least for now). Furthermore, reports indicate that people are cutting back on time spent on Facebook. The promoted stories are annoying, to say the least, and graph search makes me very worried about my privacy. I see Facebook going the way of Monster.com and Yahoo.com, who were once great and then ended up being full of spam.

As Jeff Korhan writes in his blog Winning the Social Media Overwhelm Race: “Many businesses are discovering that Facebook isn’t working for them, so they are focusing their efforts on LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+…It’s better to have a robust presence on Pinterest than a mediocre one across the board on the more “popular” networks.”

Google+ is already in second place when it comes to the number of most active users on a social network (and has over 500 million users total). Some question this number as Google has been forcing users to use G+ to write reviews and more – but I still believe that Google’s attempt to make G+ the gold standard of social networks will be a success. Just give it time.

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Thanks to Timo ELLIOTT and Steve Rumsby for their Twitter contributions to this blog. They are some of the shining lights in the Twitter sphere that always add value and kindness.

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13 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Hi Natascha,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I am not sure about G+; I am still struggling as you know on the cross posting.  I stopped cross-posting from Twitter to G+ after I read that I should do that – and I posted that on G+ and got feedback from Steve Rumsby who agreed I shouldn’t do that.

    For now I am still using Twitter, a little Linked-In, and not very much G+.  Time will tell.

    Tammy

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      1. Tom Van Doorslaer

        Ever since the communities came along on G+, I spend an increasing amount of time there.

        The fact that I deleted my Facebook account, because of the obnoxious spam, might have something to do with my increased activity on G+ as well. What I did notice is that, all in all, I post less irrelevant stuff. When you have to actively think of who you want to share something with, by assigning circles, you think more about the relevancy of your information.

        “It’s such a nice day, I’ll go for a walk” all of the sudden seems less relevant to post on G+. On Facebook, I wouldn’t have given this a thought and just posted it. (same for twitter)

        Channel and audience are key. Not only for businesses and marketeers, but also for people.

        I don’t have to share pictures of my friends at a party with my SAP circle, nor do I have to share my code snippets with golf-buddies. G+ seems to offer multiple channels and audiences, all in one uniform platform.

        Works for me

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        1. Natascha Thomson Post author

          Tom:

          thanks for sharing your view on G+ and Facebook. Agree on the spam and it’s only getting worse.

          I’ll connect with you on G+ :-).

          Best,

          Natascha

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  2. Gregory Misiorek

    Hi Natascha,

    i’m a bit confused as you lead in with a twitter timeline, but predict G+ as the future tool of choice. is it going to replace twitter? i tried G+ in the past, but actually enjoy the 140-character limit of twitter more than the openness of G+. i have disconnected my twitter feed from linkedin as it quickly took over other content and endorsements have simply backfired. i’m quite indifferent as to whether FB or GOOG comes on top since a duopoly would be limiting consumer’s choice

    …my 2 cents and thanks for keeping focused on social media here on scn…

    PS i agree all the tools have reached some level of maturity.

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    1. Natascha Thomson Post author

      Greg:

      sorry to be confusing :-).

      I don’t think G+ will replace Twitter but I was trying to show the conversation I had with Timo &  Steve in regards to consolidation & isolation on various platforms.

      My belief is that even businesses are likely to pick a limited number of platforms down the road, less than now, as every platform tries to “own it all”.

      Twitter is my favorite tool at the moment also but for me it’s very different from the conversations I’d have on G+. Twitter is more headlines and very short exchanges.

      I don’t Tweet all my LI updates but quite a high number. Sounds like I need to look into if people find this annoying and see it twice. Frankly, I think we see so little what goes on on Twitter, as there is so much content, that it’s ok to have it on 2 channels, as long as it is in an channel appropriate format.

      In the end, there are no rules and it’s user preference.

      Appreciate you taking the time to share your views!

      Best,

      Natascha

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  3. Tom Cenens

    Hi Natascha

    Interesting blog post as always. I believe Facebook could be gone faster than anticipated by many. It will only take some time before the next thing pops up, if it will be G+, I don’t know.

    The fact of the matter is we are living in an interesting time period in which rapid changes take place in terms of technology which can also quickly redefine what social network means.

    Google glass for example could significantly boost G+ activity when and if the glasses become mainstraim / popular gadgets to own.

    While G+ has interesting functionality, I don’t see a lot of SAP content shared on it. When you look at blog post social media pushing, G+ is in the minority ~more and more LinkedIn sharing seems to be used.

    Best regards

    Tom

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  4. Steve Rumsby

    I really don’t think Facebook is going away any time soon. The vast majority of Facebook users don’t care about the same issue we do. They just want to connect with their friends and for as long as Facebook continues to do that, they’ll have no reason to move. And if they don’t move, competitor social platforms just won’t have the user numbers or traffic levels to really work well, providing another reason for people not to move. It is a vicious circle. Breaking it is going to require a social platform with a really compelling USP.

    This is exactly Google+’s problem. I like it technically, but most of the people I want to interact with are either on Twitter or Facebook and so the level of engagement is pretty low. There are some communities that seem to have adopted G+ in large enough numbers to make it work. There seem to be a lot of photographers on G+, for example. But it is a long way from going mainstream, or from taking regular users from Facebook or Twitter.

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    1. Tom Cenens

      Did you know that a good portion of yought started to use other social media because their parents have become active on Facebook or follow their movements / content on Facebook?

      I wouldn’t place any bets on what will be popular in the years to come. There can be many reasons why users move off a platform onto another platform.

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