The online world is evolving so fast and becoming so socially interconnected that it is almost meaningless to use the term ‘social media’ to describe only a certain portion of the activity on the internet. Certainly, the way things are going, ‘social networks’ will be so seamlessly integrated into a user’s experience that they will become synonymous with the internet itself. The very distinction of online world versus real world will most likely become increasingly blurred as well.

The following are two ideas that represent what might happen to ‘social media’ in the coming year, especially from a business and marketing perspective.

Community management explosion and outsourcing

The business of caring and relating to customers on social media is expanding rapidly. As marketing is shifting more towards community building than standard selling, social network management is becoming big business, as are CMS platforms. This in itself isn’t really a surprise. The significant development will be how that need is answered by companies in the future. From a cost-benefit perspective, it will become more and more attractive to have this task outsourced to small, agile digital agencies that can rapidly zero in on a market and build a community with knowledge and expertise in an efficient way.

Merging of the online with the physical world

The online world of social networks like twitter is slowly shaping other traditional media in the real world, such as print advertising and television. Hashtags and QR codes are appearing on posters and store shelves, and customers are getting accustomed to being able to quickly search for information on things they see around them, not simply relying on what ads are telling them. Twitter is already encouraging people to go beyond traditional ads with super targeted tweets and this trend will undoubtedly force real-world advertising to adopt some similar strategies, perhaps working with social networks to offer and enhanced consumer experience, such as displaying ‘likes’ or shares in real time with a given product on display or on a shelf.

These are only a couple of developments that we might see intensifying in the coming year. Even considering only these, it’s easy to see that the coming integration of social media in the consumer world will absolutely require the services of dedicated teams of experienced, cutting edge digital community managers to keep your business ahead of the curve. The world is going to evolve in such a way as to leave many companies in the dark faster than they can realize what is happening. Blue Hat is here to shine a light on the right path to navigate this evolution in the most beneficial way possible with custom social media marketing packages for your business.