Social media marketing has progressed from radical new idea to widely adopted practice in a remarkably short period of time. Just 5% of Americans said they were familiar with Twitter in 2008; by the fall of last year, that figure was 87%, and Twitter is now adding 300,000 new users per day. Facebook added more than 150 million new users in 2010. Three-quarters of b2b buyers use social media at some point during their purchase decision process, and marketers are responding with increased spending on social media marketing.
So what’s next? A new report from Focus, 2011 Trends Report: Social Media Marketing presents observations and predictions from eight leading social media experts (and me) about social media trends and developments to watch for in the coming year.
The thrust of this brief but enlightening report is that social media is moving from the “what is it and should we do it” stage to the “how do we integrate social media with operations and do it better” realm.
Among the top 10 trends identified:
1. Social efforts will permeate the enterprise. “Social is much bigger than marketing and PR. “Social is much bigger than marketing and PR. It’s a customer phenomenon. This will demonstrate itself as social moves into product development, operations, customer service and even sales,” according to Michael Brenner.
3. Stronger focus on global audiences. “Much of the social innovation will come from Third World countries that are using these free platforms to make up for deficiencies in their communication infrastructure,” says Mark Schaefer.
5. Metrics will mature. “News Feed Optimization (NFO) on Facebook will become the new SEO. Basically, 2 percent of fans return to a fan page, and in some cases it’s more like .02 percent…What you need to focus on is the content and optimizing the content to get comments and likes,” per Paul Dunay.
6. Social media will become targetable. “Soon, we’ll be able to email only to customers who clicked a particular bit.ly link on Twitter. We’ll be able to send a Facebook status message only to customers who visited a particular page on our website. By combining what we know about our customers and prospects and friends across multiple social outposts, we’ll end up with a centralized view of each of our connections,” in the words of Jay Baer.