How to Embrace the Future of Social Media
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Summit hosted by Harrisburg University in Harrisburg, PA.  The Summit featured a number of panel discussions including both social media experts and individuals who use social media extensively on a daily basis.  They discussed a wide variety of topics, but the panel that stood out the most was called the “Future of Social Media”.  Why, you might ask?  Because this panel made me think about how much social media influences our individual lives and business practices and made me wonder what it will be like in the future.

The panel was comprised of five people from all walks of life and age groups.  Each panelist used social media in different ways, but they all emphasized the point that social media has revolutionized the way they do business.  But while everyone was sure about what social media had done for them, there was no definitive answer on what the future of social media might be.  However, knowing how to approach changes in social media will make embracing the future a breeze.

Look to History to Deal with the Future

 
Social media may seem like it is its own unique entity, but at its core, it is simply another form of communication.  Throughout history, humans have developed a number of methods to communicate with one another over distances: smoke signals, written letters, signal flags, telegrams, the radio, telephone calls, emails, etc.  Technology has been consistently upgraded over time to provide people with clearer and faster methods of communication.  For example, the telegraph system has been referred to as the ‘original Twitter’ because operators developed a unique shorthand system to make delivering messages faster and easier.  So while it may seem like there will never be anything that can surpass the speed and technology of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., history shows that the technology and communications fields are extremely fluid and that changes will likely continue.  We must be willing to adapt for the next technological advance.

Don’t put all Your ‘Eggs in One Basket’
Social media platforms are constantly evolving, and how they are being used is consistently changing.  The platforms that were popular and cutting-edge 5 years ago (i.e. MySpace) are hardly considered to be relevant today.  It can be extremely detrimental to your business and marketing strategy to put all of your online marketing efforts into one social media platform.  It is a good idea to diversify your social media options by having an active presence on a number of popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, while also paying attention to new platforms that are being introduced.  This will prevent your social media strategy from becoming obsolete, even if some of the platforms that you are using do in the future.

Don’t Become Too ‘Social’ to Truly Be Social

There is no denying it, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be great marketing tools, exposing your company to many potential clients on the Internet.  And while it is very tempting to dive whole-heartedly into using social media for marketing, it is important to understand social media before you start a campaign.

It is a great idea to post new, relevant content on your social media pages, because that will attract and keep fans and followers.  However, you cannot make everything all about you.  Social media is just that – social.  There needs to be engagement among people to sustain it.  If a consumer came into your business, you would not just put your product on the counter and walk away from them.  Instead, you would talk to them about their needs and offer them advice in an effort to secure their business.  The same rule applies to social media – you need to be prepared to engage with those who engage with you.  You can get and retain solid fans and customers by offering them relevant content and interacting with them.  It’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that a computer cannot replicate a warm handshake.  Personal interactions with your customers will still be of great importance, no matter where the future of social media heads.  If you remember to place the same emphasis on your customers in social media platforms that you do in real life, you will be prepared to harness the power of social media.
The Future of Social Media
I cannot say for sure what the future of social media will be, but I do believe that people want to feel connected to one another and they like the instant gratification of being to talk to someone else immediately.  This desire for ease of access and instant communication will continue the popularity of social media in the future.   No matter what the popular platforms might be, if you have a solid social media strategy and are willing to adapt to changes, you will be perfectly positioned to keep using social media as a powerful marketing tool.
Source: DNN Affin inport