In a previous post I briefly ran through a list of 12 Social Media Trends Australian Companies Should Look Out For This Year
This is the final instalment of a four-part series in which I extrapolate on my thoughts contained within the above list of trends. Here are the preceding posts in the series:
GROWTH IN CONTENT CURATION
With consumers confronted by ever-increasing mountains of content on the internet (in general) and the social web (specifically), tools such as Flipboard will become more attractive for people wanting to cherry-pick content that has already been filtered, or curated, for them.
Flipboard – billed as “the world’s first social magazine” – gathers content from your social circles (Facebook, Twitter etc) plus major media outlets of the ilk of Harvard Business Review, Forbes, The Economist, USA Today, BBC News, Time, CNN and The Guardian.
It has everything segmented under headings such as business, technology, travel, sports and entertainment and last week launched an Australian content guide. Disclosure: I'm listed as one of Flipboard 'Cool Curators' - their term :) - along with Kate Kendall, Wayne Mansfield and Ross Dawson.
Companies, subject matter experts and industry observers are well placed to deliver value by “separating art from junk in the vast sea of digital content”, as Edelman’s Steve Rubel likes to say.
Those who develop a reputation as authoritative ‘content filters’ will become recognised as the go-to sources for information by time-poor consumers.
Over the past year or so many companies and organisations have been busy launching Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Too often, however, the role of ‘community manager’ – i.e. the person responsible for tweeting, adding Facebook updates etc, plus conversing with the public online – has been handballed to young graduates simply because they ‘got digital’.
Let me be clear: I'm not casting aspersions on the quality of our young community managers but as much as they may understand the digital space, it's probably fair to say that generally graduates lack the life experience necessary to make the most of what could be a far-reaching consumer-facing role.
While the potential risks associated with someone inexperienced in the ways of external communication scares the pants off major organisations in particular thanks to instances like Chrysler and the Twitter F-bomb debacle and the American Red Cross rogue tweet – looking more positively, what OPPORTUNITIES are being missed simply because a young community manager is not given the remit to engage with any depth with a company's constituents? Once again, this is not a knock on young graduates but moreso on the role itself.
Put another way ...
The golden opportunity is for the 'community manager' (sorry, I'm not a rap for the phrase - how can you manage a community anyway?) is to take a more ambassadorial role with a remit that includes attending events, creating content, liaising with stakeholders and partners as well as customers etc.
THINK: someone who is a cross between (emerging versions of...) Robert Scoble + Scott Monty + Ramon De Leon.
Scoble is a storyteller/content creator extraordinaire; Monty sits smack-bang at the intersection of marketing, advertising and PR on the social web and uses his extensive knowledge to help guide Ford into a new era of marketing; De Leon is a passionate people-person who uses social media to people excited about his brand (Domino's Pizza).
Okay, so getting someone with such a spread of skills is maybe pushing it a bit (do they even exist?), but I stand by my prediction the role of community manager will change and morph as life on the social web speeds up and the landscape gets more complex, and the people filling it will definitely need to be more broadly skilled and experienced.
Either that or we simply create a whole new role that includes 'community management'-type activities.
Accordingly, the role they will play – and the profile they will receive as a result (internally and externally) – can only increase.
NOTE: there will still be a need for diligent, passionate and responsive 'customer care' people on the frontlines of the social web - and these roles are ably filled by younger operatives.
Images: Flipboard, Social Media Examiner