Engaging With Social Networking To Enhance Communication
What significant changes did your industry segment (social networking) witness in 2013? What did these changes mean to vendors and customers?
2013 showed us that social media has become regarded as a legitimate and serious means of communication. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commisson recognized that posts to Facebook and Twitter are just as good a means of disseminating investor information as a press release or company website. That is a huge feat and further validation that social media will continue to grow and develop as a new channel of communication between people and brands.
As social media has gained relevance and validation, it’s been important for the business world to understand how they can benefit from this new channel. This past year, the platforms themselves had to largely determine their strategies for monetization, but brands and other companies had to experiment and solidify their own strategies for gaining the most from their social presence.
What are some of the changes you had anticipated would happen in 2013 but did not happen?
I expected more political change to be catalyzed through social media, much like the Arab Spring from the years before. 2013 was a quieter year in that regard.
Can you paint us how the landscape for your industry segment will change in 2014? What are some of the broader trends you are closely watching?
As more platforms gain popularity and more people flock to new and emerging social media channels it will be increasingly important to provide consumers with a way to organize themselves. There are 2.5 billion people on the Internet, but we only have very crude ways of determining who and what to pay attention to. Once we can start organizing people, and not just pages, social media will play a larger and more active role in our everyday lives.
One trend I’m watching closely is social entrepreneurship. Social media has such great potential to organize and empower groups of people to solve some of the world’s greatest problems.
How will vendors and customers’ spend change in 2014 for the industry segment? What makes you think customers will be buying more/less?
The realization of the business value of social has made it a hot space. Brands will continue to grow their spend in social. However, I think the industry will need to rethink how it engages consumers and transition from the current model of targeted, but still spammy ads, into a model that gives consumers a reason to engage with the brand. Discussions between brands and their customers will be a feature of this trend.
What's in store for your company in 2014?
For empeopled, 2014 will be a year of growth. We’re looking to grow the number of users on the platform, the topics they are talking about and how they are using our platform to facilitate quality conversation.