Predicting the future is always tricky business, especially when you are attempting to forecast events in an area as fluid and quickly evolving as social business and community. Yet, the intrepid folks at The Community Roundtable have done just that, and CMSWire thought it would be interesting to summarize their predictions and then compare and contrast them with predictions made in our own (virtual) pages.

HR, Strategic Focus, Depth among 2013 Trends

The Community Roundtable made seven key predictions:

  1. Going Deep with Content -- Consumers are so overloaded with constant messaging and content designed by behavior experts to trigger certain responses that its effectiveness is diminished. To combat consumer content fatigue, some marketers will “go deep” with more meaningful content that takes longer to absorb, delivered less frequently.
  2. Strategy, Not Tools, Drives Success -- Although social tools receive most of the press, social strategies actually determine whether digital marketing efforts succeed or fail. Digital marketers need to first align their community and social business initiatives with broader company strategy and then find the right tools to fit specific internal business needs. Companies that adopt a “tool-centric” approach will most likely fail.
  3. Community Professionals Need Understanding -- Organizations that do not understand what goes into creating and maintaining a great community too often blame their community managers, who are put in a hopeless position. This has led to high turnover among community managers, who in 2012 went to agencies and vendors in large numbers. This trend will accelerate in 2013 unless enterprises educate themselves about proper community building.
  4. Social Media Teams Think Strategically -- As social media becomes a mainstream marketing tool, its competitive benefits diminish. Thus social media teams are starting to think more strategically and moving from a simple “push” marketing model to a more advanced community model.
  5. Internal Communities Come of Age -- HR departments are starting to realize that social communities can also deliver significant internal benefits as a means of developing a store of institutional knowledge that remains in place even when employees who possess certain knowledge leave.
  6. Executives Get More Social -- Higher-level executives who have adopted a “wait and see” or hands-off attitude toward social media are discovering its benefits and will take a more directly hands-on approach in 2013.
  7. Gamification Debate Continues -- There is no clear consensus on the long-term value or future of gamification -- some experts think it is the coming wave of customer experience design and others think its impact will be minimal. A definitive answer will probably not reveal itself in 2013, but debate will rage on.