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Social Media 2011 – Is Your Business Ready To Cope?

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Having taken the plunge into Social Media in 2010, you’re probably wondering what trends you can take advantage of in 2011. What’s new? What’s no longer an effective marketing tool? How should you allocate your budget? Here are some indicators of just what you need to consider ensure that you make the most of your social media strategy. Retailers will shift reliance from static websites to social platforms With platforms such as facebook attracting huge audiences, savvy retailers will take advantage of the potential to expand their sales channels from traditional websites to social channels. Marketers will integrate their websites with social platforms and also encourage fans to b

Having taken the plunge into Social Media in 2010, you’re probably wondering what trends you can take advantage of in 2011. What’s new? What’s no longer an effective marketing tool? How should you allocate your budget?

Here are some indicators of just what you need to consider ensure that you make the most of your social media strategy.

Retailers will shift reliance from static websites to social platforms

With platforms such as facebook attracting huge audiences, savvy retailers will take advantage of the potential to expand their sales channels from traditional websites to social channels. Marketers will integrate their websites with social platforms and also encourage fans to buy products through the Facebook page.

Conversations will be monitored more closely

The use of Social Media as a CRM tool has found widespread acceptance among large and small   businesses. Conversations will be monitored a lot more closely and responses will be posted in real-time, especially on Twitter. Monitoring conversations online will see an increase in the use of third party software such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

Businesses should develop a response mechanism for addressing positive and negative reviews. These reviews spread like wildfire across networks and an unfavorable review could easily bring a business to its knees if it is not promptly addressed.

Rise in the popularity of location based promotional offers

With the rise in popularity of applications like Facebook Places,  Foursquare and Gowalla, marketers will be able to generate interest among customers based in the local area by tailoring promotions.  They will reward customers for checking into the business by offering discounts or giveaways.

Users will have more confidence in these platforms as the safety features and privacy options have been greatly enhanced allowing them to block their location from the view of the general public.

Email integrates with Social Media

Building an email list was considered to be the key to maintaining a dialog with prospects and customers. However with sophisticated spam filters the deliverability rate of email has substantially declined. So have the open rates, as prospects faced with a deluge of emails promoting products and services tend to delete a vast majority of these.

Fortunately platforms like facebook provide an effective means to create meaningful and ongoing dialogues with customers and help to combat this problem that businesses and internet marketers face.

To make the transformation easier there are tools like Flowtown that help in finding social profiles which are linked to the email addresses that are within the business database.

While this does not imply that email will cease to be used, businesses should create cross over campaigns that take advantage of the unique benefits of email as well as social for maximum advantage.

Information sharing through Social Media will expand exponentially

Businesses have a wealth of knowledge and sharing the knowledge with others establishes the credibility of the business and positions it as the leader in its field. Platforms such as Scribd and Slideshare allow businesses to overcome bandwidth limitations and share large amounts of data with others. Besides the use of descriptions and tags helps information seekers to easily find what they are looking for online. The visits to these sites have more than doubled in the last year. Businesses thus have an excellent opportunity to disseminate their information to a much larger audience than what would otherwise have been possible.

Social Media measurement will continue to challenge marketers

Marketers will continue to struggle with putting into place a system that can be used to measure the outcome of their efforts. While some marketers may be content with measuring the number of fans or their follower count, more advanced users will want to establish the equation between their spend and monetary outcome. These businesses will be looking at farming out micro targeted offers and opportunities for repeat sales, number of mentions and a source of reliable feedback. The fact that there will be many different aspects to be measured itself will make it difficult to measure the outcome in monetary terms.

While these are some of the important social media trends that businesses should consider it is always important to be aware of emerging trends and develop tactics to take advantage of these. This is a new era of internet marketing, one that astute marketers will want to take advantage of, or be left behind in the dark ages of marketing.