By Kevin Harris
By now, most everyone has heard of social media and many businesses have at least attempted to incorporate social media in their marketing campaigns. Social media has taken the online world by storm, first with MySpace and then with Facebook and Twitter, and these sites have completely revolutionized online marketing.
But where do we expect to see social media go in 2011? For the most part, we don’t expect any big changes. Social media is a growing phenomenon, and simply put, we expect it to continue growing. Many companies, including small and mid-size businesses, are currently experimenting with using social media in their marketing campaigns. Because social media marketing is a low-cost alternative to traditional marketing such as print ads and direct mail flyers, businesses are able to use it to reach more people while budgeting less for marketing overall.
A lot of businesses currently use online marketing and a large portion of those use social media in some fashion in their marketing campaigns. The number of businesses marketing via social media outlets is expected to grow substantially in 2011. Some experts believe as much as 80 percent of businesses will have used social media marketing by the end of the year. Businesses are also expected to start devoting more of their budgets to social media marketing, indicating that this form of marketing is leaving the experimentation stage and becoming more of an expected part of online marketing.
Another trend we have seen in social media marketing is a lot of new contracting and consulting businesses springing up. This is to be expected for a relatively new form of marketing that has taken on such epic proportions as social media. In 2011, as social media marketing becomes more commonplace and businesses learn what to expect from it, we predict the number of contracting and consulting companies start to narrow.
Businesses are learning to be more results-focused, and marketing companies that don’t produce results are going to start to die out. As a result, social media marketing as a whole will become a tighter, more results-driven market — good news for businesses who are serious about marketing.
As 2010 comes to a close and businesses start looking to the year ahead, the question on everybody’s lips is where social media marketing is headed in 2011 and beyond. Predictions range from fantastical growth, to an epic failure — a sort of “social media bubble” that will burst in the coming year. True enough, things can change pretty quickly in the world of online marketing.
Google announces some new factors in how they determine their search engine rankings, and suddenly everyone is on the new thing like flies on. But social media is a bit different. It has shown that it is going to be around for a while, precisely because it is so popular with regular people, and so long as that is true, social media marketing will continue to be used and refined by businesses great and small.
Kevin Harris is a freelance writer for Adobe. Adobe software, such as customer management software, and services revolutionize how the world engages with ideas and information, anytime, anywhere, and through any medium. They also offer many other services such as customer experience management.
Photo Credit: Dieter Joel Jagnow