It's now been eight years since the very first Social Media big-bang started. Facebook and Twitter are now part of our daily lives. In China, you breathe through RenRen and love through WeChat. Even 'Selfie' has been named by the Oxford English Dictionary as the word of 2013. Social Media has had a tremendous impact on the way we do business, but even more important: Social Media helped in the rise (and in the collapse) of some cultures. Fundamental switches occured pretty recently in the way we must "do" Social Media. Let's forecast what could be the next job titles.
Going viral vs maintaining an interest
Most of the good old Social Media activities were supposed to create a sort of "virality". The idea was to go faster than one's competitors, reach a certain awareness. At the end, most of the results which were expected by clients were very close to GRP. As there were not that many competitors, you could expect to create this famous "buzz" when you were briefing your agencies.
But this time is almost dead.
There are social media competitors in every niche market, so as it's more and more complicated to emerge from scratch with only one campaign. And as consumers are more and more educated and digital savvy, they get rid of advertising.
The new Social Media is about maintaining interest, therefore creating a true shared culture among communities of interests; a bit like associations which tend to disappear after a while if they're not well managed, brands or institutions experience the same issues online. The new Social Media is about setting up rituals, milestones, minutes, rewards. The old Social Media was about propaganda while the new Social Media might be about consent. The new Social Media star-organizations are most of the time closer to a political team than an advertising one. It does not mean that Social Media team goes against advertising agencies: it just means that creative teams bring the "digital assets" to fuel the culture-building.
Expected new job titles: democracy bridge-builder; Adobe Cloud translator (creative & marketing); creative hive
Connecting the dots vs connecting the bricks
The first Social Media strategies were all about auditing digital properties, creating a sort of ideal funnel among all digital channels. Copywriters were even hired to tweet, can you imagine? As digital is now everywhere, it's no longer about connecting the dots in the web-space but about connecting the Facebook Open Graph to the brick & mortar experiences. It totally changes the way we approach Social Media: from a 2-dimension "flat" world, where feeds are spread in "channels", we now need to think 3D: where's the depth of our relationships? Which corner needs to activate groups of friends in-store?
Expected new job titles: digital retail designer; interior digital architect, local Social Media correspondents, UX psychologist
From transparency to secrets
Come on. A lot of marketers told us that it was about "transparency". What a joke! When you're part of a family, you don't want to reveal all the dirty little secrets of Grand-Pa right? New Social Media is about privatizing the social spaces for specific communities; it's about setting up cultural or concrete gateways so as not everybody can have an access to the same experience. There's a UX for secrecy that has just started, especially for luxury brands.
Expected new job titles: scarcity manager; digital customs agent; digital MI6, Tinder solicitor
From American supremacy to the rise of the other worlds
All the Social Media thought-leadership has been trusted by North-American. Probably because there was a unique mix of technology / marketing culture / critical masses of connected users. But most of the "social" mechanisms suffer from a strong American biais. It's a sort of non-sense to see an American expert explaining to Chinese marketers how to use social media. Because if you don't have the cultural fundamentals, you're probably missing the point.
The other switch is the Internet's contribution to GDP (McKinsey). You suddenly realize that there are many Asian and European countries who are a bit more advanced than the US.
Taiwan develops its own ways of using and transforming social networks. Singapore is the hot place for start-ups. In Korea, usages are probably 3 to 5 years in advance compared to the rest of the world.
Expected new job titles: social media economists; digital habits translators
From experts to practitionners
We used to be very, very few in this industry. When I started, we sort of all knew who were the Social Media kids. We were probably 20 worldwide per big agencies. Now if you go on LinkedIn, millions of professionals add "social media skills". It's the rise of Social Media practitionners for all layers of enterprise, small or large. It's a pretty good news for old Social Media peeps: the track record and the models that have been developed are still important. But now that we have a wide bunch of people playing with Social Media tools, a pervasive creativity can happen. For one Foursquare, how many smart ideas per neighborhood?
There's also going to be a scalability or fees and prices in our industry. From cheap to luxury Social Media products.
Expected new job titles: low-cost strategists, social-media groceries, bespoke community builder
(social media job titles / shutterstock)