Here are my predictions for the top three social media marketing trends for 2011: the good, the bad and the ugly.
– The Good: Visionary brands will realize that social is not only about the medium, but also about the message. So, instead of trying to spread inside-out brand-first positioning, they will search for an outside-in community-first “social heartbeat” that connects the brand values with the passions shared by the community members. Expect to see a few more strategic integrated influencer marketing programs like Pepsi Refresh Project.
– The Bad: Corporates will realize that they can’t be social outside and anti-social inside (quote from my friend Gautam Ghosh). However, even as they experiment with enterprise collaboration platforms, they will struggle to organize and energize their employees to act as evangelists.
– The Ugly: Social media marketing will become more commercial, as brands chase the illusion of scale with paid social advertising, paid co-branded contests on niche communities, and paid influencer endorsements. Social media marketing in China is almost 100% commercial. Social media marketing in North America, Europe and India is bound to become more commercial, as brands try to scale engagement, and influencers try to monetize influence. Just like China led the virtual goods business model on social networks, it will lead the paid influencer endorsement business model on blogs and micro-blogs.
What about you? What is your point of view on these three predictions? What are your own top three social media marketing predictions for 2011?