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Social Media: What will happen in 2011

Social Media: What will happen in 2011

Article by Scottie Best

There’s no denying that social media has become an integral part of our connected lives. But this is just the beginning.

In 2010, we saw integration across a multitude of applications and devices as well as significant growth from all audiences (with the exception of the teens, but it’s hard to beat 100%). In addition, we saw the technological barriers continue to dwindle as popular consumer products made it easy for millions to be a part of the social experience.2011 will be marked by new developments that will shape the very fabric of companies’ marketing programs outside of the three people they hired to manage their social media. All departments are going to be (or should be) looking to integrate this cultural identity into their approach to marketing. These developments will challenge us to consider important questions about the future of our experience as connected people, consumers and marketers. Here are four of the key trends to watch in 2011:1. It will be everywhereFollowing the success of various social media vendors and application providers, every vendor and platform developer will look to integrate social media into their offerings regardless of whether or not it fits. The important thing to keep in mind when you start getting approached by these vendors is whether or not it’s actually useful to you. Just like the i-fad, in which everyone started adding “i” to the beginning of their products’ names to jump on the iPod bandwagon, putting a Facebook button on a product doesn’t make it any better unless it’s actually useful. Smart companies and social media professionals will look beyond the marketing and look at how the tool and enhanced offerings compliment their core marketing efforts and message delivery.2. Companies will start actually looking at social feedback and incorporate it into their design and decision making processesIn 2011 we will see a significant increase in number of companies finally going beyond using social media merely for pushing messages and actually starting to look at what people say and analyzing that data, similar to focus group testing. Smart companies will use this social feedback to drive strategic planning and decisions for marketing plans, product roadmaps and more. As this effort continues to grow, look to popular enterprise software developers like Oracle and SAP to integrate social feedback monitoring tools into their existing enterprise SaaS offerings.3. Mobile devices will become the access portals for social mediaMobile device users will interact with social content, companies and the Web more on their phones and iPads than on their computers. This will impact every business in a variety of ways ranging from deciding what to link to in Facebook posts (remember, no Flash) to how companies approach other social outlets. Location-based services (LBS) will continue to grow and become the new forum for reviews, recommendations and events. The true beauty of social media evolving through mobile devices is the connected experience. As it becomes core to the lifestyle of most people, device manufacturers will continue to integrate them into the core system to create a seamless experience. Essentially, people will be connected and participating in social networks and not even realize it.

4. Companies will actually learn how to measure social media ROI2010 had a lot of strong case studies and demonstrations on computing ROI for social media, but in practice, companies are still having trouble truly understanding how to measure the evolving process. As more companies evolve from simply being in social media to actually using social media, ROI will also evolve beyond counting likes, comments and retweets.

About the Author

M/C/C is a full service advertising, public relations and social media firm. Check out their website for more information.

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