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2011 Social Media Predictions, For Millennials!

New Year
There are plenty of 2011 social media predictions coming out this time of year, but I, unlike many, only have one prediction and it’s for us Millennials. This prediction may not be anything special or exciting but I feel like it holds some form of truth and an honest reality that social media marketers may not be taking into account.

Millennials will start to use Social Media beyond our personal networking. Yeah, not exactly *shocking* news. But, let me dig into this a bit more.

Right now, the stats for Twitter in the millennial age range are quite different than the baby-boomers or Gen-X. In a study back in 2009, 99% of 18-24 year olds had a social media profile, and I doubt that has changed in the past year. Not long ago either, Read Write Web showed that Gen-Y was moving away from Facebook and towards Twitter. My point though, is that “we millennials” have a strong affiliation with Social Networks and Media because of its ability to let us interact with our friends. Now, finally though, Gen-Y is seeing the benefits of these platforms for our personal branding and professional networking.

As these networks keep aging, the same people who used them for a small personal benefit, are seeing the larger picture. We were focused too long on Twitter’s original message, which was, “What are you doing?” We got caught up in this message and didn’t see the benefit of Twitter, until it was able to populate into something that millennials could use for a personal benefit.

On the other hand, though, we want our networks to be our networks. Places for our friends, photos, etc. without the constant interruption of the “professional network”. Take this article TechCrunch wrote about Facebook taking over our Social Space. And to me it makes sense. We’ll use what we want for our benefit, but the more you push us, the more we will try to push back. We keep being shown all these new “opportunities” with social media, but someone always just wants to make a buck off of it. What happened to doing something just for the benefit of others…?

In the end, get ready to start seeing more college-aged or recent grads, using more social media more productively and definitely more targeted.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below, I’d love to know what you think!

Image Credit - Eustaquio Santimano

Marketing or Management

Lift OffDon’t get me wrong, there is an overlap of the two when it comes to social media. On the other hand though the strategies are much different and the focus for each is as unique as the tools you would use. There’s often some confusion as far as which is which and where the lines are drawn for their limits; the thing is one way or another we’re working for the improvement of both. Not just for a bottom line benefit, but for the people who we interact with.

Engagement Goes Two Ways

There’s a huge number of people who stick by engaging people through their social networks. While engaging is one of the best strategies it’s the how that affects the management vs marketing dilemma. The simple social media engagement is often confused with simple replying, retweeting, commenting to gander attention and simply “make a presence” on the platform of choice. Here’s where the sticking point is: Engaging must have sustenance. As vague as that is, being simplistic about your engagement is like hearing the most monotonous, “I Love You”. This goes especially for comments where coming across insincere can be a problem. You are there developing the business as a whole, not just its online aspect. You represent a face for every division whether it’s marketing, customer service, or community manager.

Get Offline

Social Media Marketing tends to be stigmatized as an only online practice. The truth be told, the vast majority of it is. Being able to choose viable content, active-listening through tools and understanding and promoting “the brand”. The offline aspect of marketing differs from community management though. I feel like marketing is always pushing for a bottom line objective. A community manager though, takes on a different role. Organizing events, networking outside of online profiles, and taking the community away from just an online profile and begin taking the company experience to a more tangible experience.

Use Metrics Constructively

Interpretation of metrics will always be changing depending on your perspective and goals. Impact from community management should be measured based on involvement and interaction, to where as marketing tends to be a more “bottom line” reading. When it comes to community, customer loyalty, sentiment, and the depth of engagement. Benchmarking some of these aspects against competitors and realizing a positive share-of-voice.

All in all, understanding the similarities and differences between two types of social media interactions and practices, takes a mind set that takes practice.

Where do your perspectives lie? Leave a comment and let me know!

Image Credit – NDRWFGG

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