Unfortunately none of us has a crystal ball, but the future of Social Media is assured as one that will become an even more integral part of society, allowing people to share and interact with one another around the world in real time.
Social Media has provided a platform that enables users to contribute directly to debates and discussions, and one that has opened up a global social community that just a few years ago was unthought-of. Social Media has become totally integrated with mass media, bringing personalised experiences to a worldwide audience and letting everyone become journalists and commentators if they wish.
The future of Social Media will be multi-dimensional with different platforms corresponding to specific areas in our lives. It will be used to integrate social experiences into everyday routines in clever ways that will enhance mundane activities such as shopping or banking.
In an age when customers and clients are no longer anonymous but people to connect with, more and more companies will learn how to engage and grow their businesses by tapping into these massive platforms. Social Media will become the main platform utilised as a customer service tool. Marketing via social networking sites is increasing, and the future will see more and more companies launching exciting and creative competitions via these sites that will make them stand out from their competitors. Competitions are an excellent way of fostering new audiences on Social Media channels and on websites.
Expect to see new creative uses of QR codes and a rise in Near Field Communication (NFC) usage providing new advertising opportunities. NFC is an energy efficient way for devices to communicate by simply being within a few inches away from each other and the technology is increasingly being incorporated into Smartphones. NFC will facilitate mobile payments as well as enabling users to tap-and-grab information from advertising billboards and, more importantly, phone-to-phone communication will be faster and more secure.
Leading Social Media expert Brenda Cuby from workITgibraltar predicts that 2012 is going to be a big year for Social Media: “I think there are several massive events including the Olympics and the US elections coming up and that Social Media use in these will be huge. I feel that brands that have embraced Social Media will grow in strength and that more and more companies will be using it as part of their strategy than not.” Brenda can also envisage that the way in which technology is developing means that apps and mobile usage will dominate in a more prominent manner than in 2011. Apps will become an extension of our personalities, knowing more about what we like to do and how we like to do it before we do!
Exciting times lie ahead, with Social Media at the frontier of a new way of communicating. It will become such an integral part of our lives that the term ‘Social Media’ will become obsolete because it will be present in everything that we do.
Social Media is reality. It is instantaneous, global and engaging and the future of Social Media is ubiquitous!
This article was published in the December issue of InSight Magazine Gibraltar.
Jo Wyndham Ward