social media viewpointsHow will social media impact marketers and businesses in 2011? We sought expert opinions from a wide range of pros you’re likely familiar with.

Since we started Social Media Examiner in October 2009, we’ve published more than 280 articles. These original posts were written by dozens of social media professionals.

We decided to tap their knowledge and expertise to see what’s likely coming next year. Here are their predictions for where social media is headed in the next 12 months.

#1: Marketers will have more tools to stimulate conversation.

tom martin

Tom Martin

“Social Media will become Conversational Marketing and its practitioners will shift their focus more to ideas and technologies that can create or stimulate conversation versus simply focusing on the engagement in conversation. These technologies will be very data measurement–driven, like QR codes for instance. By making this shift, social media consultants will retain and improve their standing within the internal ROI-driven cultures of today’s companies.”

Tom Martin is founder of Converse Digital. He works with companies and ad agencies to help them monitor, create and engage in digital conversations to grow market share or increase customer loyalty.

#2: More companies will invest in social media.

nichole kelly

Nicole Kelly

“As paid search traffic and conversion rates continue to decline and become more expensive, companies will start looking to social media to replace volume. Therefore, measuring the ROI of social media will become a top priority as companies consider expanding budgets and staff members for social media–related activities.”

Nicole Kelly is the director of social media for CareOne Debt Relief Services and is passionately working to understand and help define social media measurement.

#3: Social media will become mainstream.

debbie hemley

Debbie Hemley

“In 2011, the social media dust will finally settle and folks will stop referring to it as ‘new’ media. Social media will take its rightful place on the editorial calendars and budgets of corporate marketing departments. The calls to action will reverberate virtually and within the brick-and-mortar planning rooms of corporate marketing departments. Those who hadn’t before will report reading online news, magazines and books; and watching more full-length and short videos on a myriad of screens and devices than they did in 2010. We will catch up with friends and colleagues as we leap from one geolocation to the next.”

Debbie Hemley is a blogger and nonfiction writer. She writes about social media, marketing and writing.

#4: Quora will leave beta and become a serious player in social networking.


Peter Wylie

“Quora is superior to any other question-and-answer platform in terms of quality, and it has fantastic technologists working on the product to help it scale.  Its experiment with setting up Twitter handles for every topic on the site using Mechanical Turk was genius, and it shows a clear strategic desire to integrate more closely with other social behavior.  Expect Quora to be brought up in conversation with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube in 2011.”

Peter Wylie is lead researcher for Three Ships Media, an emerging media marketing company that specializes in using blogs and social networks to connect clients with target customers.

#5: People will demand more from social media.

jason falls

Jason Falls

“Business will demand more business-driving proof, readers will demand more substance to blogs and those who are practitioners will have to demand excellence out of themselves. This will go a long way in cleaning up the industry, in my opinion. The ‘gurus’ will fade away while the practitioners excel. If you aren’t moving the needle, you’re done.”

Jason Falls is principal of Social Media Explorer, a social media marketing consulting firm based in Louisville, KY. He is the author of the popular industry blog

#6: Social media will no longer be something the “cool kids” are doing.

lewis howes

Lewis Howes

“Social media is something all entrepreneurs and businesses have to do if they want to succeed going forward. In the last year, we’ve seen many start to jump in and experiment with various campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and geolocation networks. Going forward, we’ll continue to see more of that and I see mobile and social media meshing even more.  There will start to be actual numbers and statistics to back up what works and what doesn’t.  2011 will be an interesting year during which creativity will continue to thrive, yet social media will start to gain solid support with evidence that it does in fact work.”

Lewis Howes is the author of two books on the topic of LinkedIn and runs the largest resource of sports social media marketing content online.  Learn more at

#7: Facebook will become a real ecommerce platform.

tim ware

Tim Ware

“I predict Facebook will launch a Facebook-based ecommerce payment system so that users can truly complete the entire checkout process without leaving Facebook. No iFrames, no logging in to your Paypal account, etc. Look out, Paypal!”

Tim Ware is the owner of HyperArts Web Design, helping businesses build and promote their web presence. His focus these days is Facebook app development and Static FBML.

#8 Social communication skills will get better.

linda coles

Linda Coles

“We will all get cleverer with how we communicate online and add a little etiquette as we realize we are not simply communicating with another computer, but a warm-blooded human. Networking and developing relationships online is no different than offline, so let’s stop treating it differently. The Internet has simply increased its scale.”

Linda Coles of Blue Banana is a sought-after speaker who also runs various workshops and seminars on how to use social media tools effectively and productively.

#9: Social media will expand through creativity, diversification and content.

terry lozoff

Terry Lozoff

Tumblr saw a decent amount of buzz in the business world during the latter part of 2010, but still has a relatively light presence in the corporate world. Following in the footsteps of brands like Huggies and news organizations like Newsweek and The New Yorker, more brands and content-based organizations will take a longer look at Tumblr in 2011, and how to engage with a new base of consumers through this channel, as well as others in the social periphery.”

Terry Lozoff is the president and CEO of Antler, an experiential and digital marketing agency based in Boston, MA.

#10: Internet noise will reach rock-concert levels.

dino dogan

Dino Dogan

“Three to four billion people are currently NOT online. However, given the growth and adoption patterns over the last 10 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of 2011, more than 4 billion people are using the Internet, effectively doubling the current Internet population. Where is this growth coming from? This new emerging market is coming from Africa, the Middle East and South America. In 2011, a new playing field will open up filled with people hungry for specificity, quality and education.”

Dino Dogan is a blogger, writer, motorcyclist, dog trainer, singer/songwriter and martial artist. He’s currently working on Human-Dog Problem Tree, a thesis in human-dog relationships. His home is at DIY Blogger.

#11: Social media will become targetable.

jay baer

Jay Baer

“2011 will be the year of convergence and integration. We’ve been talking about ‘one-to-one marketing’ for 20 years, but in 2011 we’ll finally start to see it become a reality. We’ll start to be able to send an email only to customers who clicked a particular link on Twitter. We’ll be able to send a Facebook status message only to customers who visited a particular page on our website. We’ll be able to meaningfully segment our social communication, and that will make social far more useful for companies and organizations of all sizes and levels of sophistication.”

Jay Baer is a hype-free, tequila-loving social media strategist, speaker and coach. He’s the author of Convince & Convert, one of the planet’s most popular social media blogs. And his latest book is The Now Revolution.

#12: Social media will become more cross-functional.

jacob morgan

Jacob Morgan

“Social media will branch out from typically being owned by PR and/or marketing departments.  Social media itself will be seen as just a channel instead of a panacea for solving all organizational business problems.  Social media will also be looked at as more than just an external-facing communication channel; it will be perceived as an internal communication channel.  I think we will also see a broader movement toward ‘social customer’ strategy, which seeks to solve organizational business problems as they pertain to customers. This means integrating people, process and technology.”

Jacob Morgan is the principal of Chess Media Group, a social business consultancy focused on customer and employee engagement strategies, and authors a popular blog on Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0.

#13: Small businesses will stand a better chance of competing with the bigger names.

ching ya

Ching Ya

“2011 will be the year where social media can be a game-changer for many sectors. Data on user experience and personalized sharing will be more emphasized than ever, but so will be the dispute about privacy and where the line should be drawn. Profile security will probably be another huge issue that requires a clear standard and resolution from the authority.”

Ching Ya is the author of Social @ Blogging Tracker. She provides Facebook customization service for small business.

#14: There will be a shakeout in second-tier social media platforms.

rich brooks

Rich Brooks

“This shakeout will leave Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the only viable social media platforms for business. They will continue to steal ideas from each other to where their services overlap and they’ll all become a bit homogeneous, leaving an opportunity for a disruptive technology in 2012. In addition, prominent B-schools will start promoting their social media course loads, legitimizing social media for giant corporations. Finally, Justin Beiber will cause a massive overload of the social media networks, forcing us all to re-evaluate our priorities.”

Rich Brooks is president of Flyte New Media, a web design and Internet marketing company helping small businesses succeed with SEO, blogging, email marketing, social media and websites that sell.

#15: 2011 will be the breakout year for social search.

jeff korhan

Jeff Korhan

“There will be less noise as marketers seek more personalized interaction with consumers.  Fresh and creative methods of social marketing that encourage engagement will become the norm—along with a noticeable decrease in traditional brand marketing.  This progressive use of social media for what it does best will generally result in business becoming profoundly social.”

Jeff Korhan is a professional speaker, consultant and columnist on new media and small business marketing. Read more on his website.

#16: Content marketing will drive social media forward.

kristi hines

Kristi Hines

“More businesses will continue to jump into social media, but instead of pushing sales pitches, they will be pushing content in the form of blogs, infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, free reports and much more.  Content development is growing in popularity, and social promotion—when done correctly—is the best way to make content marketing successful.  The only real issue with this will be if businesses go overboard pushing poor content in an attempt to try to get it to go viral.”

Kristi Hines is an Internet marketing specialist with Vertical Measures and author of Kikolani, a blog that focuses on social media and networking strategies for successful bloggers and businesses.

#17: Social media will have an ever-larger impact in the search engine rankings.

jim lodico

Jim Lodico

“In the same way that the search engines currently value incoming links as a way of giving credibility to a website, I think we will also see Facebook Likes, tweets and other forms of social media sharing working their way into the formula. From a publishing perspective, this isn’t a big change. High-quality, outstanding content is still key to an organic SEO campaign. Publishers (and who isn’t a publisher these days) need to create content that others will want to share and make it easy for them to do so with Facebook Like buttons, Tweet This buttons and other easy-to-use social media tools built right into the post. Visitors should be encouraged to share across social media channels, especially as this sharing starts to play a more important role in the search engine rankings.”

Jim Lodico is a copywriter and marketing consultant specializing in creating powerful content and teaching businesses how to use blogs.

#18: Curation tools will become the primary way people use social media.

jamie beckland

Jamie Beckland

“I could tell you that all key metrics (like time spent, amount of content generated and influence) around social media will hit new records in 2011, but you already knew that, didn’t you? With hundreds or thousands of online connections, it’s impossible for people to keep track of all of the great content from their social network. In 2011, we will reach a tipping point, where there is no way to manage social media without a curation tool. From Facebook’s Top News to Cadmus to Google Reader, filtering and prioritization is already a thorny challenge. In 2011, it will become a crisis as the number of voices, and number of channels, continue to explode. Look for a new set of consumer-oriented tools to lead the way, as business tools for marketers lag.”

Jamie Beckland creates social and emerging media programs for White Horse, a digital marketing agency, and has built online communities since 2004.

#19: 2011 will be a year of listening, courage and enabling.

ekaterina walter

Ekaterina Walter

“More and more brands will realize the power of listening before engaging (and not the other way around). I anticipate more brands will have the courage to open up and truly and humanly participate, not just broadcast. Brands are also realizing how critical it is to fully enable their employees to become brand ambassadors, hence you see more brands creating internal university-like training around social media and putting Social Media Center of Excellence functions in place. This list is not exhaustive at all, but it demonstrates that more brands are going back to marketing basics and focusing on their objectives, their stories and on empowering internally rather than on technologies and platforms.”

Ekaterina Walter is a social media strategist at Intel. She is a part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence and is responsible for social networking strategy and social media enablement. Read more on her website.

#20: Influence will be measured by follower and fan engagement.

rachna jain

Dr. Rachna Jain

“Social media will continue to evolve toward followership/fans as a measure of influence. Not numbers for numbers’ sake, but instead, how many people can you activate to your cause or belief? It will be less about growing a huge fan base, and moving more toward growing an interactive and engaged fan base. Whoever drives the most engagement wins.”

Dr. Rachna Jain is a psychologist by training and a social marketer by preference. She writes about the interconnections of neuroscience, psychology and social media.

#21: Personal authenticity will become increasingly important.

stephanie sammons

Stephanie Sammons

“Business owners and professionals will cultivate personal authenticity to rise above the increased noise, earn the respect of their target markets and ultimately generate new business.  Outsourcing social media activity or utilizing shortcuts to automate blogging and social media participation will not be effective for building community and developing new business relationships within the social world.  My best advice?  Be yourself, develop a strategy and establish a system for managing all your efforts.  Remember, marketing is a commitment!”

Stephanie Sammons is the voice behind Smart Social Pro, a resource for professional practitioners to help them understand how to leverage the power of social media and blogging in their practices.

#22: Brands will use more one-on-one communication on social media.

lori randall

Lori Randall

“Social Media is still a novelty to many. Brands that beam content via social media like a TV commercial enjoy some success just because it’s new.  I see a huge shift in coming in 2011. I predict that mass media approaches will continue to run riot, but that mainstream people will develop a clear-eyed view on this murky subject and seek out unaffected, one-on-one communication that meets their desire to be heard, understood and helped concerning what matters to them most.  Scripted answers from an outsourced ‘Social Media Department’ won’t do. This dynamic will cause brands that communicate like normal people (instead of infomercials) to rise above the babble and get noticed because they will be so rare.”

Lori Randall is an online marketing strategist specializing in social media and WordPress sites. She often asks, “What truth about your brand makes your heart pound? Then work it!”

#23: The social media industry will “reboot.”

elijah young

Elijah Young

“Brands that have hired outside consultants to handle social campaigns will start to look for more than friends/followers/fans as a metric of success, and start looking at the bottom line of their business.  Expect many fly-by-night specialists and consultants to see much of their client base dwindle due to a lack of tangible business results from their campaigns.  Expect the entire industry to start to mature, possibly with some industry-wide metrics and standards being adopted by the most forward-thinking of the bunch.”

Elijah Young is the lead strategist and owner of Social Talk Live. He’s also a business strategist who helps existing and new companies promote and grow their business.

#24: Expect to see more traction, innovation and spending in group buying in 2011.

christine gallagher

Christine Gallagher

“I believe we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface in the group buying space. Services like Groupon, Living Social and BuyWithMe will continue to grow, spawn competitors and change the way businesses offer—and customers reap—the benefits of discount deals.”

Christine Gallagher is a relationship marketing speaker, trainer and coach. Christine helps small business owners maximize their profits using social media and online marketing techniques.

#25: In 2011, we’ll see a further divide between Twitter and Facebook.

bill seaver

Bill Seaver

“Facebook will continue to grow and broaden both how many people use it and what people do with it (i.e., Facebook email), whereas we’ll see Twitter narrow in use and appeal. People who continue using Twitter in 2011 will have a reason for being there beyond connecting with long-lost classmates and sharing photos of their weekend activities. They will overwhelmingly have business reasons for staying connected on Twitter. As such, Twitter will become a platform where you can connect with some people in their professional lives, and Facebook will continue to be the platform where you can connect with most people in their personal lives.”

Bill Seaver is the founder of MicroExplosion Media, a social media marketing consulting firm based in Nashville. He’s an active blogger and podcaster.

#26: Social media marketers will get the value—and necessity—of relying on direct-response tactics.

tia dobi

Tia Dobi

“In 2009, I made $40,000 from one tweet, thanks to my skill in evoking ROI learned from teachers like Claude Hopkins, John Caples and David Ogilvy. Direct-response know-how will separate the men from the boys in 2011… exploding opportunities that apps such as Facebook Places, Facebook Ads and Amazon Facebook Connect Campaign afford us by making point-of-purchase available everywhere, all the time. For the savvy marketer with the right thinking—and writing—2011 is the year of profits beyond belief.”

Tia Dobi is a former TV producer, direct-response marketing consultant and author of the upcoming book Copywriting for Twitter Impact.

#27: Social media measurements will become visual.

nick shin

Nick Shin

“According to many who participate in my weekly #smmeasure Twitter chat on Thursdays (with co-host Sheldon Levine of Sysomos), metrics such as the number of followers/fans are highly irrelevant. However in 2011, social media measurement will focus on why basic metrics such as the one described are very much relevant. As social media strategists explain the measurement aspect, the shift from data tables to visual statements will begin. Rather than Excel sheets, expect PowerPoint presentations to visually tell the success of one’s social media strategy.”

Nick Shin is an online marketing strategist specializing in SEM, social media and PPC. When he isn’t collaborating or consulting on marketing strategies, you can find him on the tennis court.

#28: Deals, specials and discounts will flourish inside of Facebook pages.

amy porterfield

Amy Porterfield

“Facebook pages are quickly becoming the exclusive promo hubs; the place where businesses can offer exclusive discounts and specials to warm audiences on a consistent basis. And the best thing about Facebook promos is that they can spread virally inside Facebook and beyond quickly, cheaply and with few barriers. With the continuing sophistication and flexibility of Facebook pages, I predict we will see a huge rise of promo hubs inside Facebook and businesses will continue to create even more opportunities to gain greater visibility for themselves while offering enticing opportunities via great deals to their customers.”

Amy Porterfield is a social media strategy consultant. Her passion is helping companies, authors and speakers create raving fans using social media and online marketing.

#29: More collaboration between social media players.

nathan hangen

Nathan Hangen

“In 2011, I fully expect location-based services such as Gowalla and Foursquare to be enveloped by Facebook Places, perhaps being relegated to ancillary roles as clients, rather than providers. I really believe that this is the only way the check-in model can reach mass adoption. As part of this evolution, Groupon and Facebook will strike a partnership in order to integrate Groupon’s service into Facebook deals in some way, shape or form. I wouldn’t be surprised if Zynga joined in on the action and added a game layer on top of these services, putting SCVNGR’s business model at risk.”

Nathan Hangen is an Internet marketing strategist and founder of Webrepreneur Media. He co-authored the book Beyond Blogging with Mike Cliffe-Jones and provides small business consulting services at Making it Social.

#30: Facebook will welcome its one billionth member to massive worldwide fanfare.

mari smith

Mari Smith

“I predict that the Check-in button will become just as, if not more, popular as the Like button via sites and apps such as and, where you let your friends know what entertainment you’re watching right now. I also predict some form of Check-in button will roll out for websites because it can be clicked each time a reader visits a website, versus the Like button’s one-time click.”

Mari Smith is a social media speaker, trainer, thought leader and co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.

More Social Media Success Stories in 2011

And I’m sure we’ll have many more social media success stories to share with you here on Social Media Examiner throughout 2011.

Would you like to stay in touch with Social Media Examiner’s writers? Follow our “Social Media Examiner Writer” list on Twitter.

What do you think? What are your social media predictions for 2011? Please leave your comments and join in the conversation below.

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  • Great to see so many top names all giving some really relevant and real predictions – all of which I agree with. The one prediction I would add is SME’s will adopt social media as a core part of the marketing mix quicker than the larger organisations.

    The owner / director in the business is usually hands on within the business – and therefore the change management and ability to respond to social media is easier than for a larger business – which is where they’ll have the competitive advantage

  • OK Cindy I’m #31..I think this year will be big for the social world. More offline companies are going to really put some weight into making there presents online…and yes I think Google have something special for us also.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Nicky Kriel

    Interesting and diverse views. I heard it said that in social media when the marketeers move in the community moves out. I was wondering if a new community would start emerging somewhere else as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter become mainstream and targetted. Does anyone have any thoughts about it?

  • I think 2011 will be the year that social media will prove to be vital to the user experience on every single website (laptops, tablets, and mobile phones) that we visit. From recommendations, widgets, instant personalization, Adsense-like Facebook Social Ads, etc. It’s so exciting to see so many opportunities still on the horizon!

  • Hi Charlotte, yes, social media is a great marketing tool for SME’s once they get control of their time management and understand how to use it for their business.

  • Hey Antonio, thanks for mentioning the offline companies!

  • Nicky, I don’t know about that one. I’m still having fun with the 3 big ones today. By the way, did you see the new stats about Stumbleupon overtaking Facebook in social media traffic?

  • Hi Nick, it is incredible how social media has changed our user experience!

  • I’d like to point out an agreement with #25, Bill Seaver’s assessment of the future purposes of Facebook and Twitter. I totally agree, in the sense that Twitter is shifting its audience toward business execs, internet marketers, and people with products, services, or advice to sell or give away. Much more than Facebook, which remains, in my opinion, a more “social” platform for the casual internet user. That’s also a component in Twitter’s growth as a site, and that’s the direction Costolo wants the site to go in.

  • Cindy,

    A few interesting themes emerged I see — data, SocMe effect on SEO activities, and integration…. looks like our little part of the marketing world is poised to finally grow up in 2011. Looking forward to it. Thanks again for asking/including me in this impressive list of thinkers.


  • Pingback: The Crystal Ball Says… « Digital Frontiers()

  • Nicky – I see your point, but I think the communities will prevail and push out the noisy marketers. That is exactly what I was referring to when I suggested business will become profoundly social – #15. Some marketers will never “get it” – but it appears that many more are recognizing the need to slow down a little and take the time to engage.

  • Hi Cindy.

    Awesome info to start out the new year with!

    I am big supporter of the collaboration element that Nathan mention here. And from a Hotel perspective I predict great opportunities to make an impact in relations to consumer loyalty and brand equity. And I agree with Lewis Howes point Social Media will no longer be just a ‘cool kids’ tool, or for the ‘geeks’, or something we define to be for the ‘early adapters’. Social Media is getting more streamlined and more businesses will evolve and adapt it as an addition to their traditional marketing strategies.

    Cheers… Are

  • David, I’ve noticed the change in Twitter too. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress this year.

  • Tom, I’m definitely looking forward to this year because marketers have had a bit of time to get acquainted with social media.

  • Are, you make a great point about consumer loyalty and brand equity!

  • I think you’re going to see Twitter die down, and Facebook become a bit more passe than it used to be. Small communities are going to come back IMO.

  • Thanks for this – some great predictions. Let’s hope those that need to take heed do so!

  • Since using Social Marketing Techniques my business has easily doubled, plus I have made some excellent friends. Still I never knew it was so scientific. It sounds like it is going to get alot more technical as we go.

    Happy 2011 Everyone!!
    Chris S.
    The best protection for your system.

  • I think social media will go into a television / youtube direction more this year and you’ll see more communities centred around online video/television.

  • David, thanks for comment. I think early in 2010 they were pretty close but as the year progressed we saw Twitter and Facebook really take different paths, and perhaps not so much because it’s what they wanted but it’s how people were using them. I believe the 2010 split will simply become more obvious and entrenched in 2011.

  • Pingback: 30 Social Media Predictions from 30 Social Media Pros « Dennis Yeomans()

  • Interesting predictions. I especially like Mari’s idea of check-in for websites (blogs and FB fan pages, too perhaps). Happy New Year everyone – hope it’s an awesome one!

  • Great Article! I definitely think it’s also important to include that Social Media has also allowed for online based companies to create a cohesive online personality and virtual voice, that will influence the way consumers will interact with their brand.

  • Nicky Kriel

    Hi Cindy, do you have a link to the article?

  • Aimee Woodall

    I love predictions that emphasize engaging and humanizing interactions between brands and clients(i.e. #19 – #21). Why not use the New Year as motivation to reach out to new followers,to read and interact with new bloggers and to meet your twitter pal @souperchicken in real life? It is time to take social media to the next level and plan an event or stage a contest that touches people locally and gets them involved in your campaigns.

  • wow! My favorite is #15! I am excited about 2011 and I too believe wholeheartedly that 2011 will be a break out year for social media. I have come a long way. 2 years ago I was not on any social media platform at all, I was afraid of what I didn’t know. I am so glad I saw the light and realized I need to start a home based business and get involved with network marketing and social media. It is a game changer.

  • Sndi

    Why are many of these people not listed on twitter at all, by name or by company? Quite surprising actually.

  • That’s great to hear, Chris!

  • Thanks for sharing Courtenay! This is a good one to add to the list.

  • Good point Bailey. I like you said that 🙂

  • Steven Pofcher

    Great overall article. The predictions are spot on.

    #3 and #18 are key points.
    Social media will become mainstream shortly and all companies will at least be dabbling in the big 3 vehicles soon. Social Media as a name and as a mystery will go away just like “e-commerce.”

    Also, with all the available content being distributed, curation will be the way go. There is just too much good stuff out there and not enough hours in the day.

    Thanks for publishing.

  • That’s a great idea Aimee! I actually have a mental note to reach out to everyone at Easter time, simply because I have more time then. Somehow all my good intentions get lost during the the winter holidays.

  • Sndi, actually there’s a Twitter list to make this easy. You can follow all the Social Media Examiner writers, or find their Twitter handles here:

  • Kevin, two years on social media is a milestone!

  • Happy New Year to you too!

  • Thanks Chris & Susan!

  • Cindy, you consistently deliver such solid content. Thx so much. This compilation of predictions by the pros gives confirmation and food for thought. What an exciting year this will be!

  • Unfortunately I missed the deadline to add my comments but I’ll add them now. 🙂 I predict more businesses will get their websites mobile ready as more people will be on the internet via their smartphones. QR codes will take some time for people to get used to but I believe we will see more people becoming familiar with them in 2011.

  • I’ve already noticed few books (you know…the paper kind? lol) using QR codes to activate online features. Plus considering that the growth is coming from Africa, Middle East and South America (in other words mobile technology, not desktops/laptops), QR codes will def become even more prevalent for sure. Great observation Naomi.

  • You’re definitely correct abt the rule. Marketeers move in, the community moves out. Which is why I think that niche social sites (like Gary Vee’s wine-lovers site and social site for motorcyclists like will become better at servicing communities.

  • Awesome list Cindy. I have to admit…when you asked me to give you my prediction I wasn’t sure how the article will turn out but I have to say that this was a really really REALLY interesting read.

  • Thanks Dino! We also can’t forget the ipad and all of their recent tablet competitors in addition to smartphones. I’ve been more addicted to my ipad lately than my smartphone! 🙂

  • Nicky, I saw several mentions in my Google reader about it this morning. Here’s one:

  • Steven, good point about content curation. It does seem strange to read “e-commerce” today, doesn’t it? And it hasn’t been that long.

  • Thanks Janet. We’re glad you like it. There is quite a bit of food for thought here, isn’t there? I agree with you, it’s going to be an exciting year.

  • Hi Naomi, thanks for your prediction! Great one about mobile websites and QR codes!

  • Hey Dino, we’re very lucky to have such a great community of writers here on Social Media Examiner! I love the variety of responses in the Predictions… and also find the additional ideas here in the comments very interesting.

  • Hi Cindy! Thank you and Happy New Year! 🙂

  • Really good stuff on predicting #social trends in 2011

  • Glad you liked it Jeremy!

  • Hi Cindy,
    What a great list and some great points to consider in 2011. A must read for all those who think twitter and facebook are just a passing phase as many business do where we live

  • Love #socialmedia, my amazement resides in the worlds it opens and connects. FB and Twitter complement each other nicely for int’l multicultural ppl it’s gr8 to connect and reconnect w/ friends who have lives elsewhere and share videos, pictures and interests thru links. Twitter is an idea plateform where common interests connect. W/ smartphones everyone no matter where they live can connect to the www. That’s a revolution for 3rdWorld – even where considered expensive at least it’s available and everyone wants one to join the #globalconversation.

  • Hi Suzie, it must be hard to be the odd one out then! Let’s hope things change at the end of this year. I do think we’re going to hear more social media success stories this year.

  • Hi Geneviève, I love your multicultural perspective!

  • Great post!
    In addition, I believe appropriate c-level leadership will be a hot issue to have successful social strategies and outcomes in corporations.
    Happy new year!

  • Jim Bunch

    Love to see inside the minds of people with their fingers on the pulse. One question? Nobody mentioned anything about the impact mobile is going to have on social…is it just “understood” that this will be one of the fastest growing markets in social engagement?

  • timoplatt

    Hard to argue with these forecasts, in part because there are so many of them, 🙂
    We believe Tom Martin of Converse Digital is spot on when he fingers Conversational Marketing as the next big thing in 2011.
    To make mobile social media work, brands must and will engage in continuous conversations with consumers with messaging that is tightly integrated with their diverse and varying on-the-go daily lifestyles and activities.
    Marketers will embrace new mobile marketing platforms like PoKos Social Messaging(TM), that provide group and 1:1 chats with targeted audiences.

  • I couldn’t agree more Naomi. I just finished an extensive article on QR codes that will publish here on SME on Feb 7th. I thought I was up-to-speed on QR codes but whoa – my research turned up a lot of interesting data and trends that has me even more excited about the possibilities. 🙂

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  • Oh I can’t wait for that article Jeff! I will definitely mark that date on my calendar! 🙂 Don’t you just love research? I’m working on my next SME article right now..Yikes, I better hurry and get it in if your publish date is Feb. 7th. hehe!

  • Ah, well, yes I like research but what started as an article nearly turned into a book! But the effort is always worth it, isn’t it?

  • Lol on the book! I’m working on 1 of those as well. 🙂

  • Steven Pofcher

    Regarding #25: “In 2011, we’ll see a further divide between Twitter and Facebook” – Bill Seaver.
    I am a little confused about your prediction. I see the split more between Facebook and LinkedIn, therefore your prediction is more meaningful to me if I replace Twitter with LinkedIn in your prediction.

    Am I mis-understanding?

  • Hey Jim,

    Mobile is here now. For sure it will continue to grow and have an impact on geolocation like Foursquare and Facebook Places

  • Just to add to one of the points (#12: Social media will become more cross-functional), I think there would be a move towards a traditional approach when tackling modern communication channels. I am a firm believer in the power of social media and its tools to generate brand engagement, however I do believe that so far, it has been absorbed as a separate entity (as mentioned in point #12) rather than a crucial piece in the puzzle.

    I think as time goes on, we will have a back-to-the-basics movement where social media agencies will start from a conventional stand-point of defining objectives, carefully studying the target market, mapping out effective communication channels with respect to the audience concerned (again internalization will be key as mentioned in #12) and then implementing this analysis via a social tool/tools.

    My prediction for 2011: Social Media taking two steps forward after taking one step back….

  • Fantastic predictions and truly what a great site! I’m particularly impressed with Tim Ware’s prediction at no.#7. I also couldn’t agree more with Bill Seaver’s point at #25. Twitter does not possess even near to the amount of personal capabilities available to Facebook, but it doesnt need to and in order for it to survive, I don’t believe it ever should. If Twitter was to change too much and add similar features to FB, it would just become the same as FB and be consumed by it. And it’s for this reason that I have to disagree with part of prediction #29. I admit when Places was first introducted I thought the same thing.. but there are fundamental differences between the two which set them apart and allow for legitimate use of both. I predict Foursquare with withstand for a while yet… people love a good independent – especially one that can grant you mayorship 😉

  • Excellent collection of predictions for 2011, definately the most diverse and ineresting set I have seen to date.

  • Timo, yes, there are quite a few of them. These are simply the answers from polling our writers. It’ll be fun to review this at the end of the year.

  • J-ay, you know I see many of the people with a traditional marketing background are already integrating their traditional marketing expertise with their social media marketing expertise. I think where I see people trip up most is assuming business models are the same. When you start off in the wrong spot it’s easy to get things wrong executing a marketing plan whether it’s integrating both traditional and new media marketing or not.

  • Amber, I enjoyed reading your comments. Personally, I’ve gone through so many changes that I just focus on what I can get out of each platform right now. And I think this attitude stems from my experience with FriendFeed. I absolutely loved it. It was providing great value to me. It was a site continually adjusting to what its users wanted. Until it was sold to Facebook and it lost the essence that made it so great. I learned the hard way that you can’t get attached to these tools. So,I just hope Twitter, Facebook and the others understand where they provide most value to their users today and expand on that. These are simply good business decisions.

  • Glad you enjoyed them Peter! As I said above, we’re lucky to have this community of writers.

  • Steven, it’s interesting this notion of “divide”. I’ve always had different (specific) objectives for each social media platform, so I never really felt any divide as a user.

  • Kevin, it’s definitely interesting to note the differences by industry and by country in management’s approach to social media.

  • Cindy, if all the predictions written here will come true, I think that social media stress will become as famous as CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s fast how social media is growing out of proportion and governments can barely catch up, even if they try to throw us stuff about net neutrality ( and who knows what? ). What I love about social media is that it reflects more the sentiments of the crowd…unlike before when we are spoon fed beliefs and ideas by mainstream media. With power comes responsibility though and I wonder if social media will give rise to digital anarchy in its purest form. We shall see..

  • LOL. I thought we had already reached that level of social media stress. Just kidding, Garious. Yes, it’s going to be fun reading this at the end of this year. Things change so much, and so fast! The changes I’m most interested in are in how people use all of this and how it’ll continue to impact our lives.

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  • thanks to all pros, yes these all predictions are really telling a super growth story for social media, and coming days SM is only the place where most business stick with to lead their businesses formation . thanks

  • Some great comments from a very good cross section of relevant people! Great to see and this went straight onto Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon etc… as it should!

    Social Media Examiner is consistently good, thank you!

    Peter Wylie seems very “on the ball” with a Quora mention, however, although a different format, I think Behance offers a lot and to a whole spectrum of Social Media enthusiasts, simply because it’s easy to use and covers a lot of ground.

    THIS IS NOT a plug, I’ve nothing to gain from mentioning the company, BUT if you’ve not heard of Behance check out @behance portfolio:

    Thanks for this and keep up the good work!

  • Behance is a beautiful, sleeping giant. I love that place, but like it quaint 🙂

  • Well the problem with Gowalla and Foursquare (I prefer the former), is that the revenue chains are small and limited. They’ll grow until the investors get impatient, at which point we’ll see what they have up their sleeves.

  • I think he means Facebook as social (friends), and Twitter as social (news/sharing).

  • Thanks Nathan! It is great isn’t it and so useful to SO many people. I don’t think it’ll be a sleeping giant for long!

    Happy New Year, see you on Behance maybe?!

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  • Good article on the future of social media,

  • Peter, thanks for mentioning Béhance! I’m going to check it out a bit more.

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  • Really enjoyed this article Cindy. I’m honored to be part of such a knowledgeable group of writers. Some of these comments are very insightful. SME has done a great job building up such a passionate community. Here’s to an even better year!

  • Nick – Thanks for being part of the community

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  • Steven, thanks for the comment. Here’s what I mean: If social networks were clothing I think people thought of LinkedIn as business attire and Facebook and Twitter as your around the casual clothes you wear during your off hours. Clearly LinkedIn is professionally focused but Facebook and Twitter were grouped together as your everyday, catch up with friends kind of social network. That’s where I think the divide is occurring. Twitter use is changing and becoming more business attire-esque while Facebook remains what it’s been all along.

  • Thanks Amber!

  • In all, social media has a bright future this year and I just want no mention Quora, I’m not familiar with the site but I hear good reviews about it.

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  • Great stuff in here and thanks for the shout-out Nick!

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (

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  • Can’t quite fully agree with #15:I think 2010 was the breakout year for social search in itself; this year it will undoubtedly continue to grow

    #18 is right on target! Curation will be very key.

    Great list!

  • Great views!
    I wrote a short post recently about the subject, listing 12 of the most interesting social media trends that should make it big in 2011 (link below). Some of those were listed here as well, but some were not. 2 of the most interesting ones I see being;
    1. Social features being integrated into other tools. I see a lot of new type of tools emerging, creating new value into old practises, old tools and the ways of working.
    2. Social CRM and Social Business Intelligence will catch wind. Using Social Media in general supporting business activities and decision making will increase fast. The importance of identifying influencers also grows as taking advantage of influencers and trends in business is growing.

    All the best for 2011!

    Tom Laine

  • Jeorge, we agree with you, social media has a bright year ahead.

  • Thanks for sharing yours Tom, and all the best to you too in 2011!

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  • Cindy, your posts are always on target. This collection is a good resource to have, bright prognostications that look pretty well on target to happen.

    It’s a good list of people worth following on Twitter as well! (I hope future articles Social Media Examiner articles will include the Twitter URLs of authors and people cited, as well as their websites.)

    I think Twitter has a huge potential to grow as for a way to link people with similar interests on other sites like Facebook and LinkedIn as well as help predict trends in the future not just for marketing and social media peeps but for other groups as well. I know the polls sometimes are predicted and influenced by twitter as well as the stock markets!

    I’m interested in social media’s influence on social learning.Facebook is becoming a vehicle for sharing all kinds of ideas. there’s an article here that relates.

    Keep the good stuff coming. I look forward to seeing what unfolds in 2011!
    Ann H. Shea

  • SMSS…social media stress syndrome…yes, I think it’s here.

  • I can’t wait for the end of this year as well. I think we’re just starting to see the face of social media… and just check out what Twitter is experiencing right now with all those pressure from the Feds. The greatest show on digital sphere is about to unravel.. Have you got yourself front row tickets?

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  • Especially with yesterday’s announcement that Verizon will be selling the iphone on Feb. 10th, 2011! This will definitely bring more people into the smartphone bandwagon this year!

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  • Hello,

    Wouldn’t anyone consider Diaspora (

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  • @charlottebritton SMEs (and I’m one) have to manage their time very tightly. Many (and I’m one) don’t have enough time resources to engage in serious social media discourse.

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  • So true, I’m especially heeding this advice: “content based organizations will take a longer look at Tumblr.”

    It’s definitely one of the platforms of the future.

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  • Raj

    awesome social marketing technique . i like it so much