Social media trends translated for the C-suite


Even the dedicated social media wonk has a hard keeping up with the latest in social platforms and tools for enterprise use. Once they’re identified, the next challenge becomes explaining them to the other stakeholders who fund, approve or use these tools for competitive advantage.

Notorious for being skeptical of social media investment are C-level executives, who carry an institutional doubt about the ROI on these communication channels. While in some cases social media investment is minuscule as compared to other enterprise IT or marketing technology products, the social manpower resources to do it right obviously require funding.

I’ve heard the echo in many a C-suite about the anxiety of paying people to tweet — or post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram — all day. Especially among older generations of management, this is viewed as the equivalent of paying an employee to play golf all day.

Whether you’re a social media evangelist or doubter, the fact is that if an enterprise does not work to control the social conversation, it will fall victim of competitors positioning you unabated in an unfavorable light.

So what are the hottest social media trends that C-suite executives should ask their social team about?

AI-driven social media

As with virtually every other aspect of industry, social media is a natural for artificial intelligence algorithms that monitor unstructured data. Much is happening with AI-driven sentiment analysis that tracks emotional aspects of online communications and how they drive the buy-side. This is especially applicable to emotionally triggered segments like finance and investment, where such experts as Market Psych track fear, uncertainty, doubt and similar emotions in the press and social media settings.

These same emotions and trending data are now key elements in the growing field of social supply chain. For example, pharmaceutical companies tracking consumer conversations on various viruses leads to better planning for getting the vaccines to pharmacies and to the patient/consumer.

In addition to extracting granular data from the conversations, AI algorithms permit delivery of much more personalized content to customers based on their conversational and engagement patterns.

What does this mean for you? The integration of enterprise-wide, unstructured data strategy must sync with social monitoring in order to get a 360-degree view of the customer.

Social media has evolved to television broadcast

It wasn’t long ago that YouTube was strictly a social media platform for sharing user-generated videos. Now, in 2019, you’ll hear many cord cutters using YouTube as their “cable provider,” what with the variety of broadcast channels they license from major content providers. As over-the-top (OTT) wireless-driven broadcasts subscriptions become the norm, the expectations for compelling content from enterprises also increases on traditional social channels beyond YouTube.

What does this mean for you? Increased bandwidth and storage, and/or stronger relationships with vendors who provide both. It’s no surprise that most of the key cable providers (Verizon, ATT, Spectrum) are also driving infrastructure for the video-driven marketplace.

Social media security and privacy of greatest concern

Anyone who has been involved in the application of the GDPR data privacy regulations to their client database platforms knows that social media is not exempt from serious hacks and breaches. Whereas in previous years, social media was regarded as informal communications among friends and affinity groups, we now find that social platforms are increasingly targets for bad agents as well as litigators who can make millions on privacy breaches.

Since many of these platforms are being contracted to third parties, the C-suite is increasingly aware of the cost of even the most basic privacy incident. While no enterprise is of the scale of Facebook, the social network’s $5 billion fine (yes billion with a “B”) has quantified how serious security and privacy have become in the social data realm.

This dilemma has forced companies to trade off the vanity metrics they loved from their social strategies for a more onerous double authentication registration process that scares off larger numbers of friends and followers. This also has created the need for a higher level of social data hygiene, especially when this data is intermingled with other enterprise-critical databases.

What does this mean for you? Structured and unstructured social media data can no longer operate as a separate entity from more traditional business intelligence. The C-suite will find itself under increasing pressure to develop “clean” APIs that permit social media exhaust to be integrated into the mainstream data implementations. The convergence of social data security and overall enterprise cybersecurity has become foundational as social strategies expand.

Finally, the need to master how social media will be used for breach response to internal and external constituents will become a key skill set for contemporary CIOs and CISOs.

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