Instagram and WhatsApp are forging ahead, Facebook is only slowing with regard to its user appeal, Google+ no longer exists, Snapchat is still around, TikTok is just around the corner and Twitter has yet to play a significant role in the field of social media marketing. Social media has numerous facets: as social listening, extended or integrated CRM, marketing channel or brutal advertising machine. Everything is possible. There are now only a few companies that do not use social media, but they do still exist. What nobody knows is how social media will develop in the next few years. The era of growth of the big platforms seems to be over yet again. Meanwhile, more and more companies are looking for the right business-to-business channels on the social web.
Overwhelming euphoria is now only being witnessed in the big picture and story network Instagram. But nobody can tell how sustainable the presence is there and what value the initiative holds for brands on the long term. Or what lasting effect supposed influencers will actually have. Regardless of increasing professionalization, success can only be achieved by carefully managing existing data. Perhaps reach is not the decisive KPI in this regard. And of course it is important to keep an eye on the development of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Nonetheless, consolidation and increasing professionalization are taking place across the board. In many cases, this is now also urgently needed. At the strategic level alone, it makes sense to monitor platform consolidation closely on a regular basis and adapt one’s own company or brand accordingly. Customer service on the various channels must be good if it is to bring success to the company and brands. It will soon become apparent whether this will be supported by automated bots. We will also soon know whether even more intelligent algorithms will facilitate and simplify communication processes.
It is no longer surprising that the topic of social media is playing an increasingly important role in B2B. This development is also driven by the decreasing acceptance of print media, i.e. specialist publishers, who have rarely succeeded in understanding that it no longer suffices to simply sell ad space as a service. Companies are increasingly looking for the right channels and platforms to present themselves or enter into dialog.
Here, too, commitment and the quality of data are decisive for success. At present, it is often questionable whether the already young professions of social media manager and community manager actually meet the demands. They are most effective when they work closely with data analysts to be able to act in a targeted and finely tuned manner. Are social media managers even still needed in an age when every employee is active on all channels as a matter of course?
Regardless of the content that is always required, it will be a challenge to determine which platforms will prevail for B2B. The development of LinkedIn and XING as contact networks seems limited. It also remains to be seen whether Microsoft will give the network more than just a simple relaunch, but adapt and further integrate it with further development possibilities along the lines that have been pursued for years. Microsoft Teams already represents a first big step for internal communication and could certainly profit from opening up beyond company boundaries.
The bottom line:
In many cases, it is already clear that good internal communication is one of the keys to successful company presentation and external communication. Employees as ambassadors are not necessarily the magic spell, but they are nevertheless essential for success. And the term social media can actually be renounced, as it has become a matter of course for communication. A close look at the data on the platforms and a profound analysis together with a good gut feeling and common sense are the decisive factors for successful communication. With a focus on social media, we will be highlighting many facets, trends and developments over the next few days.