LinkedIn has published a report that says that 9 out of 10 small businesses either use or plan to use social media. The report also says that businesses are becoming more astute users as they learn more from practice. Good, it would be disappointing if that was not the case. What does more astute use actually look like in practice? From my own experience the following seems to be the case:
Businesses are taking a less scatter gun approach to social media. Instead of trying to cover as many networks as they can they are focusing on a smaller number and using them more effectively. This is bad news for some of the less powerful networks or those which have an unclear niche. You can see some of them changing, trying to increase their relevance.
Some of the larger networks are also suffering because they are not as relevant. LinkedIn themselves have a problem which is acknowledged by many professional users. If you post a question in a forum it is often lost in a deluge of replies from all over the world, many of them irrelevant or people promoting themselves. I have often heard this referred to as ‘spammy’. Smaller closed networks are starting to be talked about.
As people learn how to use Twitter their attention is migrating towards people who genuinely have something interesting to say. People who tweet recycled jokes and quotes are finding it harder to get attention and Re-tweets. People are now finding their way to the source.
There is still a lot of spam and pointless activity on social media but it is becoming marginalised, just as poor websites are finding themselves marginalised from Google’s search results.
The emerging landscape is one of more sophisticated users who are eschewing spammy and poor content users and gravitating towards genuine expertise and insight. That can only be good news.