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21 Social Media Predictions and Trends for 2011

  |  January 5, 2011   |  Comments

What companies will thrive or implode? What trends will take off or die? Here's one view.

  1. Facebook will go public and make the current $50 billion dollar valuation look like a bargain. Mark Zuckerberg remains as CEO rather than hire someone with more experience like Yahoo and Google did.
  2. The Federal Trade Commission (unfortunately) will adopt privacy rules in the hopes of protecting the people. Innovation will be stifled.
  3. Social search will flex its muscle.
  4. Social commerce will flex its muscle.
  5. Companies will try to determine how best to integrate with the explosion of social gaming.
  6. Twitter will be acquired, most likely by a media company like CNN. Twitter has proven successful when coordinating closely with major events on television (e.g., World Cup, helping resurrect MTV Video Music Awards from the dead, etc.). With its new platform, Twitter is poised to make money. However, can it avoid becoming the next Digg?
  7. Facebook wrestles with its continued international expansion and faces difficult challenges in Japan and China.
  8. If you don't have a mobile version of your site today, you are already behind.
  9. More and more, a marketer's job will be focused on getting a consumer to publicly rate a product or service. (See social commerce and social search above.)
  10. Groupon will regret turning down Google's $6 billion dollar offer when local imitators start to nibble at its market share. Groupon will also realize there is a limit to the number of "wow deals" out there.
  11. Social media technologies will start to consolidate and only the strong will survive: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. (Sorry, Foursquare, MySpace, Orkut, Gowalla, etc.)
  12. Google becomes the next Microsoft and Facebook becomes the next Google.
  13. Social media becomes core to every business - not just the marketing and PR departments either. It will be central to the entire business strategy and affect recruiting, customer service, sales, etc.
  14. B2B companies will catch up to B2C companies in using social media.
  15. There will be fewer "social media" gurus. Those who can't drive meaningful results will be left behind.
  16. We will see more practical use of geo-location tools. For example, if you go to Starbucks every morning, as soon as you are in the car and 10 minutes away from the store, your coffee order will be placed and ready when you arrive.
  17. Fifty-four percent of all companies block social media in the workplace. Expect this number to decline as companies start to leverage their employees more and more as media outlets.
  18. Social media activities will increase due to advances in mobile technology and a drop in the price of tablets. This will help to offset some of the social wear out from the older demographics. Baby boomers will still use it, but less frequently. Similar to how portals and e-mail usage trended.
  19. More people will learn they can plug their laptops into their high-definition televisions and watch online content and get rid of their cable television service - and bill. This will only result in the intensification of Net neutrality talks in Washington.
  20. We will see more social capabilities integrated into e-readers.
  21. The trend of marketing dollars moving from traditional media to digital media continues at a rapid pace.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Qualman

Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of best sellers Socialnomics (2009) and Digital Leader (2011). Socialnomics made the #1 Best Sellers List in seven countries and was a finalist for "Book of the Year." Fast Company Magazine lists Qualman as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. He is a frequently requested international speaker and has visited 42 countries. He produced the world's most viewed social media video series and it has been used by NASA to the National Guard.

He has been fortunate to share the stage with Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony Hawk, Sarah Palin, Jose Socrates (Prime Minister of Portugal), Alan Mulally, and many others. For the past 17 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo, and AT&T. He is also an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and recently gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

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