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Seven Trends in Community and Social Business for 2013

 

It is that time of year again when we look ahead to see what might be important in the coming year, what hasn’t yet been solved in the past year and what others are
seeing ahead that we may not be thinking about.  For this article we asked TheCR team, our members and friends of TheCR for what they are seeing in 2013.  Here’s what we heard:

  1. In a world of content/tool/app overload, some will go deep. Behavior psychologists, marketers and software makers have built up so many things that prey on base human response mechanisms that individuals have a hard time fighting off the distraction that comes with it, and so often it doesn’t serve our needs, but the needs of others who want our attention. It’s an increasing challenge.  Nilofer Merchant recently wrote on this topic and the article resonated for us.
  2. Talk about tools still rules the day – even though strategy is the key conversation. We’ve read a few of these posts (see below) and most mention how new social tools will be cropping up.  Sure.  There will always be new tools, but for most companies the tools are not the problem or the solution.  What is needed is to align social and community with business strategy and then see what tools and management changes make sense to reach the goals put forth.  Tools are just that, tools.  Companies who lead with tools will continue to struggle to understand what they are trying to build and why.
  3. Community professionals continue to feel the squeeze. We talked about this last spring here and here, and we are not seeing much relief.  Organizations still don’t really understand what goes into creating successful communities and yet they expect great communities.  Here’s hoping 2013 is the year when they better understand the importance of smart hiring and giving appropriate support and ample credit to those working in this field.  Otherwise, we will continue to see the high turnover rates we saw last year in community management positions, and more and more experienced professionals may continue to flee to agencies and vendors, who better understand their value.
  4. Social Media Teams are Adopting Community Strategies. Social media usage is now fairly well integrated into marketing and now that it is mainstream, the competitive benefits are diminishing. This is pushing social media teams to think more strategically about how social media is used and more are transitioning from using it as an additional push channel to a method of cultivating communities – something thought leaders have been pushing for from the beginning, but until recently was falling on deaf ears.
  5. Internal communities on the rise. HR has been lagging behind marketing and customer service in the community realm.  This may be the year they catch up.  We see a lot of interest in internal communities and a desire to keep institutional knowledge in a place where it can be accessed more easily by employees and remain within the company instead of leaving when knowledge workers depart.  IT has also been talking more about how it can evolve its role here.
  6. Executives get more social.  As we mentioned in number 4, social media is now well integrated in some aspects of business and more and more businesses are using online communities.  Many Executives have been sitting on the sidelines watching and getting reports on social but not really jumping in.  With the advent of more departments turning to social and with the increase of internal communities, this will be the year more executives struggle with the goals of social initiatives and experiment in becoming more social themselves.
  7. The debate continues on gamification. One of our members feels that gamification as a primary vehicle for long-term engagement in internal communities is a fad.  Yet a friend noted that gamification vendors are seeing the biggest customers from internal communities.  And still another friend weighed in that gamification is nothing new…but the term is and the term will be used less in 2013, while the tactics remain.  We think gamification raises an important conversation around how to motivate people and spur engagement and look forward to seeing where this goes in 2013.
What did we miss? Do you disagree with any of the trends we talked about above? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
Here are links to articles we found on social and community trends for 2013:
Top 13 Social Business Trends in 2013
Social Business:  5 Trends to Watch for in 2013 and Beyond
16 Enterprise Social Networking Predictions for 2013
Where Business Meets Social Media – Predictions for 2013
2013 Predictions:  We’re Already There
Social Business Predictions for 2013

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