In the past decade we have seen many changes in the world of Social Media and business. Twitter and Facebook have adapted to the world of business better than anyone could have imagined. In 2009, we saw the realisation of the influence that listening to consumers had on Social Media and in the ending of 2011, media went from being a simple broadcast platform to a sophisticated network of connections and rewarding engagements.

In 2012, we saw Social Media as a way of connecting with potential consumers and building brand awareness, and 2013 will be no different.

Looking at findings from various companies, it seems the Facebook is on the decline. It has been suggested that around 34% of Facebook users say the time they spend on the site has decreased over the past year with only 3% saying they will spend more time on the site in the coming year. Facebook need to re-evaluate their standing as a social network and focus on this rather than the many other things that have been reported in recent months.

Despite Facebook declining, it seems social media overall, will continue to rise. Social Media usage is up 38% over the previous year and is likely to increase to around 50% by the end of 2013. The increase in social activity is mostly down to smartphone users and we all know the mobile market is booming.

People’s expectations are changing. Social media is now more than just networking, its a way of successfully building a brand. There’s an old saying that all human behaviour is goal directed. We need a purpose that has to be obvious and in the absence of this behaviour, the task itself will not happen. This applies to Social Media and how are are going to act in the future. Without a direction in the form of a social media strategy, a business will suffer online.

A lot of companies will be weighing up the benefits of spending their time on social media because as well all know time is money. As said by a famous philosopher, all human behaviour occurs to gain pleasure or avoid pain. In the beginning, the purpose served by using social media was just the pleasure of connecting with people in a new and unique way. This soon had its difficulties when it comes to how much time one can devote to social networking activity and how to communicate online. Looking to the future, networking has to have some kind of tangible benefit otherwise it may not be worth it which is a very uncertain thing.

When looking to the future of Social Media, you will need to consider the following:

  • Tribes – We as humans, by nature, are social despite the many years spent relying on mass marketing. We will be using social media as a way to have conversations and build a community or tribe that share the same interests.

  • Relevancy – Something that will always be crucial to social media is how relevant the content is that you are sharing.

  • SoLoMo – We are in a new era now where being Social, Local and Mobile are an important part of being on social media.

So, where is Social Media going? This, I cannot answer. Social media depends on its users, so really, the future of social networking is down to us!