Social Media Marketing – Trends for 2011

In the second of two posts, Head of Digital Marketing, John Newton, outlines why he believes social commerce, location marketing and document sharing will grow in importance, and why agreement on social media measurement will continue to elude marketers.

It the first half of this post I argued and that there will be more integration between corporate websites and social platforms, that email + social = more, that platform wars will get bloodier and that internet tablets will increase the amount of time spent on social networks, just as mobile did this year.

Here are the final five trends that I predict:

5. For Some Marketers, Social Will Mean Just Facebook

The massive worldwide user base of Facebook, powerful FBML development tools, integrated PPC marketing program and array of tools for offsite integration mean that in 2011, some marketers may decide to double-down on their Facebook strategy to the exclusion of all other social platforms. Risky? Well, there are some things that other sites do better (document sharing, video) but for sheer scale and engagement, Facebook is a better bet than any other platform. However, we’d always advise conducting a full marketplace and consumer evaluation to get your strategy right.

6. Businesses Continue to Unlock Existing Collateral, Socially

How many businesses have fantastic, product-led or educational materials (e.g. PDF brochures, PowerPoints, offline videos) hidden on their corporate file server? Tools such as Scribd, Issuu and Slideshare allow marketers to get their materials online quickly and fast, passing bandwidth costs over to the social platform, and use tags and descriptions to help consumers find your content quickly. The number of visitors to these sites have doubled over the past year, and they will start to become a very viable way for businesses to reinvigorate existing materials in 2011.

Slideshare and Scribd Showing Growth
Slideshare and Scribd Showing Growth

7. Social Commerce Grows

Money followers audiences – this is true in advertising planning, and is also true with ecommerce. In 2011 more marketers will start to harness the growing ecommerce integration opportunities within social platforms, and especially within Facebook.

Retailers will seek to replicate their stores from within their social profiles. For an example, take a look at the shop developed for Roman Originals, which empowers their Facebook fans to browse their top products, and elect to buy from within their Facebook profile.

8. Marketers Will Wake Up to Location

If 2010 was FINALLY the year of mobile, then mobile will make 2011 the year of location. As explored in our white paper on Location Based Marketing, proximity marketing through mobile tools such as Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla will allow offline businesses to finally give staff at individual locations (think stores, branches, depos, salons, hotels, restaurants etc) the power to use social media legitimately in their working lives, by offering hyper-targeted offers and promotions to consumers using location based social media.

9.  Measurement Will NOT Get ‘Solved’ in 2011

Alas, we don’t believe there will be a consensus on what marketers should measure when performing a social campaign. Why? Because every campaign is different! For marketers who are just starting with social they will focus on followers and fans.

Those with more mature social media campaigns will be looking at how they can work with that user base as a reliable source of feedback, drive repeat sales and keep both existing and potential customers satisfied. Brand owners will want to track sentiment and mentions on social networks. Measurement won’t get ‘solved’ as it isn’t a single problem, and it needn’t be a problem at all if you first determine what the goals of any activity are upfront, then decide on metrics.

There are countless other trends, and these represent some of a few of the trends that ‘stick out’ at the time of writing. Keep reading this blog during 2011 as we continue to identify and explore social media marketing trends as they appear.

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About the author:

John Newton has 14 years of strategic marketing experience across Online Display, Search Marketing and TV and Outdoor Advertising, in companies which include Yahoo!, ITV and TNS Global. John has written on blog monetisation for Web Designer magazine and was the editor of ClickThrough’s two books. John is a CIM Chartered Marketer.