How to survive in 2010

2009 was a banner year for social media. Fueled in large part by the impressive growth of Twitter and Facebook and the adoption of both by major brands and recognizable individuals, it’s safe to say that social media truly went ‘mainstream’ this year.

That means new opportunities, and new challenges, in 2010 as social media finds its place in the overall mediasphere. Here are five tips for companies looking to take their social media efforts to the next level in 2010.

Get creative. Just being on Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough. As social media matures, companies will need to do more to stand out and stay relevant. That means going beyond “We’re on [site name]” to “We’re using [site name] to do x, y and z” and developing strategies relevant to those objectives.
Bring on the right people. Many companies have relied on outside social media consultants and agencies (and unfortunately a few gurus) to help them get started with social media. That can work in the beginning but it’s hard to be truly ‘social’ and ‘authentic’ when somebody who isn’t part of your company is managing your social media presence. For companies that see social media as a long-term must, it’s time to consider building a competent in-house team that focuses, in whole or in large part, on social media.
Make measurement a priority. 2009 was the year that many companies really got involved with social media in a big way, or at least became far more comfortable with it. Now that initial experimentation is out of the way and social media is more than a new toy, measuring what social media delivers should be a priority. In other words, this is the year to face the social media ROI issue head on.
Specialize. Right now, the majority of companies I see have what I’d call a broad social media strategy. They have a presence on most of the popular sites, but depth is lacking. In 2010, companies should determine which platforms are best-suited to their needs and consider jettisoning those that are being used just for the sake of using them.
Prepare for the end of the honeymoon. If you’re serious about social media, you’re serious about turning it into something sustainable. At some point, the media honeymoon will be over and novelty alone won’t attract the attention it often does today. That means companies should start thinking less about how they’re going to get into relationships with consumers via social media and more about how they’re going to foster long-term relationships.

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