In een artikel op Mashable geeft Meghan Peters een viertal voorspellingen voor Community Management in 2012. Zo worden de momenten waarop communities worden ‘gevoed’ met content belangrijk, maar ook het stimuleren van content creatie door de community zelf en het richten op de kleinere ‘niche’ sociale netwerken gaat vermoedelijk in 2012 een belangrijke rol spelen.
Community management, an industry still in its infancy, came a long way in 2011. Many businesses no longer ask “What does a community manager do, and do I need one?” but rather “What makes a great community manager, and when can I hire one?”
The role is far from being standardized from organization to organization, and may never be. Yet today’s digital trends will affect community managers in a variety of businesses. Some have already begun chipping away at them.
While some aspects of the job may never change — constant multitasking, quick judgement calls, critical thinking — CMs have much on the horizon in 2012. Here are four predictions of what’s on tap for community management.
1. Perfecting Post Timing
When SMO came on the scene, the technique didn’t stray far from its big cousin, SEO. Social media editors and marketers have focused on using the best tags and keywords to make updates more findable and clickable.
In 2012, timing will play a big role. As we learn more about social networks’ traffic peaks, tools like SocialFlow and Page Lever are creating systems to help us determine when to post social updates. SocialFlow’s algorithm senses when the maximum amount of your Twitter followers are online, paired with knowledge of topics they tweet about, to push a tweet at the most optimal time. For Page Lever, it’s all about understanding how Facebook‘s EdgeRank algorithm works by sending a status update as soon as your last has left your fans’ News Feeds.
Overwhelming audiences’ social streams to the point of annoyance has always been a concern. Honing in on how to most effectively distribute more content is what will take social media strategy to the next level this year.
2. Community-Driven Content and Products
The way user-generated content typically works: 1) a site launches an initiative; 2) puts out a call to its audience for submissions; and 3) uses those submissions in the way that works best for the site. As content creation becomes increasingly simple for the average user, people are creating feature-able content on their own — without site-inspired calls-to-action. We’ll soon see more brands and organizations taking this already existing quality content and incorporating it into their products.
Instagram has already helped pave the way for this by including four new user-created photo filters in its September 2.0 release. At Mashable, we’re featuring YouTube videos created by community members in our weekly Cover Song Face-Off series. Artists are thrilled to be recognized for creations born of their own passions.
In 2012, community managers will see beyond the content they ask their audiences to create. They’ll start curating the best of the web that’s already there — and community members will love them for it.
3. Optimizing for Mobile
The year 2012 is bound to see a new type of optimization: mobile SMO. According to comScore, nearly one-third of U.S. mobile users access social media on their devices — and that number has nowhere to go but up.
Now it’s up to social media editors and marketers to understand mobile user behavior and use that knowledge to best connect with their audiences on smartphones and tablets.
Keep in mind is the variety that comes with mobile devices. Not only do screens come in many sizes, but access can come from several sources, whether it’s a mobile site, app or content aggregator. These options will only increase as we move forward in the mobile market. It presents an exciting opportunity for community managers to connect with their audiences in a new and ever-important way.
4. Mass Appeal on Niche Networks
While Twitter and Facebook are no-brainers for digital strategists, many have yet to tap into the beauty of niche social networks. These sites, including Pinterest and Stamped, popped up left and right in 2011 — and they don’t seem to be slowing down. For community managers, this means it’s time to get on the bandwagon.
Niche social networks may be a less obvious win than larger, more established networks because the overall userbases are smaller. However, niche sites provide highly-targeted environments. While your reach may not be as expansive, you have the opportunity to connect with specific demographics. Twitter and Facebook are often so congested it’s tough to pinpoint communities that share a common interest with your brand.
As social users seek places to share content around pinpointed interest areas, spaces to do so will continue to arise. In 2012, community managers will not only leverage niche networks to connect with their audiences, but will also use them to engage more effectively than on larger networks.
We can’t predict the future, but 2011 gives us reason to believe these four trends will take the cake this year. Still, community management is a budding industry and these are only some of the changes 2012 will bring. What else do you think is on the horizon for community managers? How might their roles change and where is the industry headed? Whether you manage a community or are a member of one, share your thoughts in the comments below.