The future of social media for business rests on a new value

I remember once tweeting a quote from a social media expert – ‘there is little evidence of scalable success to offer for social media because it is yet to come’

Looking at the results we are seeing from measurable, tangible contributions to our hotel client base, the jury is out. Some will say they’r not doing it properly, the problem is – you tell me how do ‘do it properly’.

What is the value of a friend, fan or follower? No one really knows yet.  Many businesses give stuff away to win friend,s fans and followers, so the presumption is of value, but how much – and for how long. And if the velue equation can’t be proven, how will businesses retain friends, fans and followers.

Social media grew at astronomical rates (particularly in 2010) until recently, when growth has plateaued and is static.

Never before in living memory has there been as much competition for consumer or travel shopper attention than there is today.

Travel shoppers, and consumers generally are much less liberal in touting themselves around the ‘social net’ as faceless friends, fans and followers. Privacy remains a concern.

Behaviour may be changing. Have we missed the boat already?  If we, as the social media expert above thinks, also think that the value has yet to come, are we, conversely, risking being the victims of all the hype and self fulfilling prophecy stuff we continue to hear – or has the value equation changed, and will it continue to change?

There is a new era of customer, business and consumer engagement and communication out there. Social media is ‘social’ and ‘media’. Its value is in listening, learning and adapting; these – while very relevant and important to business change – are not transactional, the value of social media we hold at Innfinite is anything which can benefit the travel business in a strategic or operational way. The honeymoon period is over, the good news is that the ‘mature’ era is now beginning, and social media will shake off its mistaken short term  identity as a corporate sales and marketing channel – and become a much more relevant and useful, strategic and operational tool to the business and its proactivity/reactivity and adaptability to changing customer behaviour.

In the last few months, Facebook in particular has advised me of more updates than Windows has since the day and hour I had my first laptop. It continues to morph because it is facing increasing challenges, most recently from the Google+ and +1 button. Perhaps it is time too for the giant to stop and take a good look at itself, I hear people saying it is now far too complex and many more than ever are deleting their Facebook accounts.



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