Social media still faces customer engagement problems claimed Stuart Bruce, CEO of Wolfstar Consultancy yesterday during a panel discussion in Manchester.
During a panel discussion held at the Some Comms conference and chaired by The Drum's resident blogger Paul Fabretti, agency representatives looked into their crystal ball (and smartphone notes) to predict the future of social media.
Stuart Bruce, CEO of Wolfstar Consultancy commented: "The biggest challenge facing organisations using social media is persuading customer services to jump in and be a part of it. We all own social media, there's enough space for everybody".
Bruce claimed that social media reputation management was a new form of PR. "PR's and marketers require the same skills today that you always did - the ability to tell a story and engage. And despite the amount of video online, writing is still a key skill".
Jordan Stone of We Are Social concluded that social media-led customer services would have to become 24/7, always on operations, adding that organisations need to be fully prepared when crisis happens or they'll come under fire from an online backlash.
Sarah Knight, head of PR at One Marketing Communications said it was important to integrate customer service and communications teams via social media and suggested that clients were still very nervous about using online channels. She said: "The next generation of agency workers will be truly social, and platforms will become more about being suited to your lifestyle".
Meanwhile, Chris Reed, managing partner at Seventy Seven Social predicted changes in organisations and agencies. He said: "Social media will become the norm, it will become communications - all comms will be social and there will be massive changes in organisations and agencies to cope with this shift".
Reed forecast a possible change in workplace rules on Facebook usage, and said brands would become more personable. "Brands will start turning into people - literally through Facebook membership and Page admins. They'll start to have personal relationships and the more a user interacts with brands online, the more visible that brand will be to their friends."
Daryl Willcox of DW Publishing said an organisations social media output would be owned by everyone, from PR and marketing to "HR and the cleaning department". He added: "Organisations are going to have to become social. For agencies and publishers, its less about the next big platform and more about keeping our job roles relevant." He also predicted the market research industry would be transformed or replaced altogether as the volume of online opinions grows in the future.