At the beginning of this year, I came across an amazing piece put together by Mashable, which offered predictions by Social Media experts for Trends in 2010. I’ve made a habit of re-reading them a few times over the year, just to see how truly predictive these “experts” really were.

Every time I take a read through, one particular prediction, by Adam Broitman, stands out to me. It reads: “Customers will unfriend all brands that don’t add value.”

I’d been thinking about this concept of “adding value” for quite some time, but Brotiman’s prediction couldn’t have made it clearer. His idea boils down to this: as an organization, you exist because you are, or produce something, that is useful. You offer something that either, no one else offers, or, you offer better than anyone else. If you cease to be either of these, you are no longer valuable, and consumers will stop using you.

Now, lend this same thinking to social media. As an organization participating in these channels, how are you going to render yourself useful? How are you going to add value by being present on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, or on any other platform? Today, simply being there isn’t enough. Just like Broitman says, if you can’t add value, your customers will simply stop listening and “unfriend” you.

Just like I said in my last post, Finding a Digital Voice, the goal for any organization should be to extend the experience that they offer in person, but online. For instance, if your organization is a leader in a certain field and offers information pertaining to that field – it makes perfect sense to extend that knowledge base and credibility into the online realm.

Adding value, or being useful, can come in a countless number of forms. An organization must figure out what works for their business, and what is ultimately valuable for its fans and followers. This “utility” will translate into engagement – a definitive feat for any “social” business.

Have you come across any brands that, through social platforms, have become extremely valuable to you? Have you “unfriended” any brands that offered nothing? Do you think that Broitman’s prediction is true? Do you have Social Media predictions for 2011? I’d love to hear your view!

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