While I know it’s only the end of July, I happened to catch a special on the History Channelabout Nostradamus last night which got me thinking about the new year. So I thought I’d make some Nostradamus like predictions for 2013.
In 2013, we will continue to see consolidation of large enterprise social media software companies. I foresee an emergence of a new, more nimble group of software companies that will provide a new crop of social media marketers more advanced functionality. The interfaces will be simple, easy to use, and much more affordable.
Five years ago the brave burgeoning software companies like Vitrue, Context Optional, Buddy Media and Involver ventured out into the social media unknown. Powered by the knowledge that Facebook would allow them to develop applications on their platform and allow them to generate revenue. This may (at first blush) seem altruistic by Facebook. It was shrewd, forward thinking and accelerated the link between Facebook and major brands with big budgets. The low hanging fruit was there for the taking, and I was smack dab in the middle of all the excitement. I was there by design. I’d seen Gary Vaynerchuk keynote at the Web2.o conference in 2008, and it changed the way I viewed digital media.
A few months later I walked into the offices of Buddy Media armed with a passion for social media that has yet to falter. I introduced Mike Lazerow to Gary Vaynerchuk and watched sparks fly. Gary would eventually sit on the board of advisors at Buddy Media. During my tenure at Buddy Media I closed deals with the NHL, Michael Kors, The Washington Redskins, TJX, Saks Fifth Avenue, Childfund International, Travelzoo and GEICO to name a few. This was a fun, exhilarating time, for sure. It was a golden age for social media. But everything has changed.
Here’s why – social media marketers are smarter than ever. You have five years of data under your belts. You’re sharing your knowledge with anyone who will listen, and you’re continuing to collaborate on a grand scale. While the fluffy companies are dying off, the airtight, battle worn Vayner Media’s & Silverback Social’s of the world are flourishing, and the larger well funded companies are being acquired in droves. Small and mid-sized marketers who couldn’t afford the powerful software over the past five years, now see a need to scale their social media marketing efforts. You’ve been busy organically growing your communities on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Quora, and Pinterest. You’ve read up, applied your marketing acumen and adapted. Now you’re ready for the next step in social media, but you still don’t have deep pockets. I see this as a colossal opportunity for software companies to step in and create a small to mid-sized business solution.
As we continue to navigate the social media landscape we’re seeing mass consolidation, massive budgets spent on social media and massive …well, confusion.
The tidal wave of the social media revolution has crashed.
At first blush this sounds horrible – but really, it’s great thing. Recently I read the inspired blog post by Mike Edelhart, President of The Pivot Conference where he describes this same phenomenon. A sort of sifting out of the rif-raff after the huge first wave of a gazillion silly start-ups.. It’s happened before, and it’s certainly happening now. Mike has seen much more of this phenomenon during his career in tech – and I tend to agree with him. This is where the fluffy companies come to die, the quality ones get acquired, and only a handful of new ones jump on this astronomical opportunity. This is where social media emerges as a true force, after it sheds the snake oil salesmen and starts to get down to real business. Exciting. Are you ready? I am.