How Social Media Will Impact Online Marketing In 2011

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.

Author Information

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

How Any Business Can Benefit From SEO

By Kara Taylor

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a hot topic these days. It seems every time you turn around someone is talking about SEO and how it is essential for any company that wants to make a go of it in today’s business world. But what exactly is SEO? And does your business really need it?

Well, SEO is a marketing strategy that is intended to give you a stronger, larger web presence. And with consumers turning to the internet more and more for their product and service needs, SEO is, indeed, a key part of finding new customers and increasing the visibility and profitability of your business.

Site Optimization

Optimizing your web presence can only be a positive thing. After all, how can people know how amazing your company is if they can’t find you? When looking for a product or service people are more apt to turn to the Internet, particularly the search engines than the yellow pages. If you have a poor ranking and a minimal web presence, then potential customers won’t be able to find you online. And that can mean lost sales.

You may think that only large business need and can afford to utilize SEO as part of their marketing strategy, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, a smaller business can sometimes benefit even more than larger companies who may already have a solid web presence.

SEO Strategy

While both large and small companies can benefit from SEO, there is a difference in how it is applied to each. Other things besides business size that need to be taken into consideration when developing an SEO strategy is whether or not your company is local or global and if you deal with products or services.

It goes without saying that a larger company will have more money available for marketing and therefore more money that can be allocated for SEO. On the flip side, larger companies will need a larger SEO strategy in order for it to work.

Larger companies will most likely also already have an established web presence with a high traffic website. Their SEO strategy therefore should be geared towards tweaking the existing website and making it more efficient in drawing traffic by implementing more and better keywords in product and service descriptions, emphasizing competitive pricing and delivery service.

Small Businesses

Smaller businesses may have newer or smaller websites and not as high a volume of traffic as larger companies. While keyword placement can help to direct traffic to the site, a much better option is to use link building in order to increase the website’s ranking and direct traffic.

Increasing your online visibility will help increase your sales and put your business on the map, even if you are a local company without global aspirations. Local people turn to the Internet for their information also. The proper linking and keyword use will put you on top of the game.

Link Building

If your company’s website is new, link building is essential regardless of the size of your company. You want to make sure that you are listed when people search for your product or service on a search engine. And, in order to be recognized and indexed you need to use link building.

The right link building will also ensure that your website is high up in the search results. The higher you are ranked, the more people will be able to find you. Think about it: when you search for something online, how often to you click past the first page of results? Not very often.

Your Strategy

SEO doesn’t just benefit the big chain companies. Smaller companies can also get use out of SEO. The key is to make sure that the SEO strategy is personalized and geared towards your business whether you are selling a product or providing a service.

Author Information

Kara Taylor is an experienced blogger and a specialist in SEO, social media and website content. She uses her knowledge to give expert advice on a variety of topics on a Q&A site. When she is not blogging, she loves to learn new recipes and cook for her family.

Photo Credit: Sachin Ghodke