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The Future Of Social Media In 2011


Rich Brooks Posted by Rich Brooks

Friday morning I shared the stage of the Social Media Breakfast here in Maine with my two Social Media FTW co-founders, Jaica Kinsman (@jakks) & Chrystie Corns (@ccmaine.)

I forgot my notes at home and so I had to hastily recreate them.

The topic was on the future of social media and what 2011 is going to look like. Here are the important takeaways:

  • Social media isn’t free. There may be no cost to setting up a profile at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and so on, but you need to dedicate resources for social media to work. You’re either going to do this work yourself (keeping you–perhaps–from doing more profitable work), give it to an associate (keeping her from doing more profitable work), hiring an outside firm, or bringing in an intern…and even a free intern isn’t free, as there’s training involved.
  • Social media needs to be integrated with the rest of your marketing. Companies who can survive on a steady diet of social media are few and far between. Ultimately, someone’s going to want to see a portfolio of work, learn more about you, etc. Plus, not all of your audience is on social media, or they’re not in a buying mood when they’re there. Social media is a powerful channel for communication and marketing, but the message needs to be consistent across all your channels, including your web site, blog, email newsletter, brochure, business cards, company van, etc.
  • 2011 will be the year of mobile marketing…for some of you. For some of you it will be critical to have a mobile strategy, for others…not so much. A mobile strategy may include making sure your site works well on smart phones, or it may mean creating a 2nd web site solely for mobile visitors, or it may mean creating an app.
  • You must continually create value for your community/audience. Chrystie talked about making sure you put out valuable information, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to unfollow, unfriend, or unsubscribe on the web that unless you’re providing valuable content on a regular basis you’ll soon be talking to no one but you and your mom, and maybe not even her. Value means different things to different people; maybe your value is providing good links, or how-to videos, or being irreverent.
  • You’re going to have to go beyond having a Facebook page in 2011. Having a Facebook page in 2011 is just going to be a starting point…it will be the equivalent of having a web site, i.e., a business requirement. The question is, is what are you going to do with that page? What are the conversations that you will have, what levels of functionality will you add, and how will you engage your audience to build your business?

There may have been one more point, but I’ll have to wait until I get home and check those notes. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a prosperous 2011!

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About the Author: Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a Web site design and Internet marketing company in Portland, Maine. Flyte works with small businesses to build professional Web sites that often include e-commerce, Flash and content management systems. They promote their clients' sites through search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, business blogs and social media. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/therichbrooks.

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