Social Media Forecast: 5 Changes in the Social Customer Climate

by Jeannie Walters

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We’re almost at the end of summer already, folks!  Is your social media strategy ready for what’s coming next? The social customer experience continues to change at a dizzying pace. Don’t be caught off guard!

What’s in our social media forecast for the rest of this year?

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Here are a few changes we can expect for the remainder of 2014.

1. Community management will require more resources.

It’s a tough job! Just ask any community manager. Their high-pressure positions, typically given official titles in the last twelve months, are full of nebulous responsibilities. Community managers are responsible for calming the social media crazies, producing high level reports, creating and promoting content on multiple channels, and organizing social media contests. As this world matures, the most successful brands will recognize it’s more than one job in many cases. Community management will begin to split off into specific roles and teams will lead brands to the engaged communities they seek.

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2. Companies will have to get serious about mobile experience.

We’ve talked a lot this year about the importance of mobile. But many organizations continue to create watered down versions of their conventional web site for mobile customers. Smart brands have already begun creating mobile-specific experiences based on what the customer needs in the moment mobile is used. For example, Walgreens produced a smart app based on what mobile users need the most. Many more organizations will catch up with this trend in 2014 and beyond.

Social Customer Experience

3. Social sharing will coexist peacefully with in-store experiences.

Creating the best experience means knowing how technology and social media can help customers make better decisions in person. Companies like Home Depot managed to bring the online experience into the store through interactive displays, and more will surely follow. Target and Nordstrom have connected the online social experience of Pinterest with their in-store experience by showcasing items as “Most Pinned” and creating Pinterest boards of their own. This type of social integration turns customers into brand advocates and fanatics.

4. A new network will grow quickly, then flop.

There will always be a lot of  buzz around anything new and shiny in the social world, creating a sharp spike in activity which then leads to a thud. Google+ was the new kid for a while, and as it seems to be limping along through this year, something calling itself the “new Facebook” will emerge in a whirlwind of press leaks and beta tester reviews. As the big players begin to lose their appeal to many users, the demand for alternatives will become more apparent. At this very moment, excited engineers and user experience designers are predicting their overthrow of Facebook. Easier said than done, but something is likely to cause a big stir before the year ends.

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5. Consumers will demand more control over privacy and sharing settings.

No longer the ignorant masses, social media users will push back on privacy concerns and automated settings. As concerns around privacy rise, users will pay more attention to user agreements and make more thoughtful choices about their settings. As the government is now threatening to become involved in many cases, this one could swing wildly from one end of the pendulum to the other. Users want choice, and hopefully both the social networks and the government will realize it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

How do you think the social customer climate will change in the remainder of this year?

This post was written for, and a version originally appeared on Social Media Club’s Clubhouse blog.

Image credit: KaiChanVong via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience.

Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker.

Learn more here.

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