Gini Dietrich

Eight Social Media Trends for 2011

By: Gini Dietrich | October 18, 2010 | 

Wordle: 2011 Social Media Trends A couple of weeks ago, I promised to write about the additional social media trends I’m seeing for 2011. If you missed the first four (content, FTC rulings, net neutrality, and customer engagement) you can find that Spin Sucks post here.

I’ve had a chance to review the post-it note I keep on my desk and following are four additional trends you should pay attention to as you plan for 2011.

1. Social commerce. Social who? In short, you can now sell on Facebook by letting your customers buy, but also letting them tell their friends. And letting their friends tell their friends. Even if you don’t offer ecommerce on your website, it’s now possible to provide that service through the social network. And it’s overly simple to set up.

2. Group buying. You’ve heard of sites, such as Groupon, that sell for discounts if you get your friends to “group” together to buy a product or service? Based on the $1 billion price tag Groupon received earlier this year, expect them and like-minded sites (such as LivingSocial, YouSwoop, and ScoutMom) to continue to grow, offering you a new way to reach different audiences.

3. Q&A sites. It may seem crazy if you’re not a high user of the social platforms, but people are beginning to make real decisions based on recommendations from their virtual friends. Sites such as JustAnswer will begin to pop up, allowing people to ask a question and get real answers, from real people. The marketing possibilities become endless because you’ll begin to collect data from groups of people instead of one customer at a time.

4. Mobile. It’s no surprise our phones are becoming like third hands for most of us or that we’re eons behind Asian countries on how we use them. But we’re beginning to catch on and move toward abandoning our laptops for phones. Watch for movement toward mobile payments and begin thinking about how to accept payments via an application on the phone.

So, other than content, customer engagement, net neutrality, FTC rules, social commerce, group buying, Q&A sites, and mobile, what trends are you seeing, using technology, for 2011?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • sydcon_mktg

    Well, I can say we are seeing a HUGE demand here for 3 out of the 4 trends you have listed. We have done several group-buying sites, with new requests coming in daily, and most if not all are integrated with social commerce as well. Mobile is huge, whether it be in the iTunes store or just mobile apps.

    These trends are seriously the way everything is heading, if you want your company to survive the downturn and prosper, it is wise to embrace these trends to the fullest potential!

    • GiniDietrich

      @sydcon_mktg YES! We’re so wrapped up in Twitter and Facebook that we forget about good ‘ol iTunes and Amazon. If used correctly, you can make a ton of money using those tools.

  • StringCanAgency

    Gini, great points and agree. I started up ShopTab on Facebook last year to address the social commerce trend with Facebook. It has been beyond exciting to see how fast fCommerce (love that) is going and 2011 social shopping is going to be big.

    I think one other trend for 2011 is going to be increased (1 to 1) personalization with online marketing. Brands will need to create systems and processes when connecting with current and prospective customers where they are at and based on their unique needs. When I am on either my computer or iPhone and visit with a brand online I am expecting in 2011 they will know who I am and my likes and interests and present to me an experience that matches up against my unique needs.

    • GiniDietrich

      @StringCanAgency I could not agree more! When I speak, I tell business leaders about this opportunity to use information from location-based services to understand WHO is buying from you, what they like, what they don’t like, and how to connect directly with them. Right now, there is big push-back because they don’t understand why people would want them to know anything about them…because they don’t want companies to know. I always say, “You think, every time you use your credit card, the company doesn’t know something about you?” It’s a control issue and I hope you’re right…companies figure out the process and structure to personalize products and services.

    • StringCanAgency

      @ginidietrich Good pt on the credit card and I’m going to steal that example. 😉 Unfortunately I am seeing that with clients pushing back as well. For now I am showing brands how tools like Facebook Connect can make this personalization possible and not requiring completely rebuilding their systems. By the way I just realized I responded under my agency and not personal account. Anyway my Twitter account is @JayFeitlinger (,

    • GiniDietrich

      @StringCanAgency @JayFeitlinger You’re up early and commenting on blogs already! It’s not even 7 a.m. there!

  • ThePaulSutton

    How about social television, Gini? Not in the way of television on the web, but in the way of the web on TV? I have a strong sense that TV platforms and channels will start to build in proper social features that enable the likes of Twitter to interact with a programme on-screen. Coincidentally I write a post on just this yesterday, see here:

    • GiniDietrich

      @ThePaulSutton GREAT point, Paul! With Apple TV and streaming, this is certain to be a huge trend. I’ll check out your blog post.

  • Tom_NSI

    Good observations, although mobile must now be broken up into its constituent parts, particularly app-development b/c apps are beginning to create an insulated environment reminiscent of AOL in the mid-90s.

    • @Tom_NSI Yes, mobile can be split into many categories now. Changes in hardware, apps, and operating systems. Interesting AOL comparison, I haven’t thought of it that way. But it does seem we’re heading in the portal world again, should be interesting to see how it unfolds.

    • GiniDietrich

      @jennalanger @Tom_NSI So how would you guys split mobile?

    • Tom_NSI

      @jennalanger @Tom_NSI thx, and I like your phrasing it “a portal world.” AOL offered a closed course, which brings a sense of security, organization and even accomplishment, in the same way TV-channel surfers often like to complete the circuit. But AOL didn’t innovate as fast as other OS’s and dropped the ball. Marketplaces could be different.

    • Tom_NSI

      @ginidietrich @jennalanger NSI offers four mobile practice areas: apps, mobi site development, text marketing and barcode marketing.

    • @ginidietrich I think mobile will continue to be on the list for years to come, so it’s a matter of what aspects will be big. I’m thinking of it differently than @Tom_NSI. I’m going with geo-location, mobile commerce, and social gaming. There are probably more, but not all have to do with social media.

  • markwschaefer

    Great minds think alike … and ours too! I wrote a post today about what i think the most significnat trend is, and curiously it did not make your list => What is Social Media’s Next Big Thing?

    I also agree about the SM/interactive TV thing. Going to be huge. Augmented reality — Unbelievable potential.

    Thanks Gini.

    • GiniDietrich

      @markwschaefer I LOVE augemented reality, but I think it’s too soon for most companies. I think it’ll be a 2012 trend. Let’s get businesses to QR codes first. Although, between you and me, I LOVE talking about this kind of stuff with clients. They either think I’m off my rocker or brilliant.

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  • Mobile, mobile, mobile. This will be a trend for years to come. In addition, I think we’ll start seeing more connected devices throughout the physical world. I bet CES will be filled with more tablets, TVs, cars, and other appliances that are socially integrated into our lives. I want a tweet refrigerator! That can’t be far off, right?

    • GiniDietrich

      @jennalanger A tweet refrigerator?! To heck with that! I want a fridge that tells me what I can make with the ingredients inside!

  • KevinS

    Obviously when you talk about technology, many think of cell phones and computers. People wonder, what can be next? What can top the Iphone or newest computers. I totally agree with websites such as facebook are going to start to charge fees to be a confirmed member. The more group buyers you have in companies, the better the technology will become.

    • GiniDietrich

      @KevinS We were just talking at the Bears game about the first computers we each had and how we had to use multiple floppy disks to install a game that was 2 MB. Now technology is changing so quickly that, if we imagine it, it will come true.

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  • barryrsilver

    In conjunction with the growing use of mobile, I see the various geolocator doodads (foursquare, google is watching, etc)gaining momentum for instant “couponing”. Enable your GPS, sign up for service and as you walk by an offer pops up.

    • GiniDietrich

      @barryrsilver That’s so 2010! 🙂 No, I actually agree the “doodads” will become more prevalent. I love it when I speak and someone says, “Why would I want anyone to know I’m there?” And I say, “Do you think they don’t know every time you use your credit card?” You may as well get something out of the visit, right??

  • I’m glad you mentioned mobile. Like you said, the Asian countries really are light years ahead of US mobile technology, but over the past year and half, it seems like mobile competition is really heating up and companies are being forced to push the envelope. I cannot wait to see what comes of it.

    • GiniDietrich

      @JMattHicks I’m with you, BUT (a huge but) I speak with business owners all day every day and they don’t get mobile at all. We’re so ingrained in it that it makes no sense that companies would ignore it, but we still can’t get some using the web for communication.

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  • @ginidietrich Why do you think that is? Is it a “fear” of the unknown? A genuine lack of interest? Or a do they genuinely believe it wouldn’t help their businesses?

  • AadiArnVision

    Great suggestion for printible online coupons. Many websites are offering coupon codes and promotional codes. I always use to save my money while shopping online. Thanks,

  • LisaJain

    There are reasons why we should benefit from on-line coupons through a shopping portal versus shopping at a physical store. Thank you for sharing the information. I think you got the best shopping deals.Do visit our best discount coupons available at

  • LisaJain

    I would like to share with you that I offer discounts on all the jewelry and perfume that I have in the store.

  • @GiniDietrich @barryrsilver Haha I gotta agree with Barry here. Although geolocation was hot in 2010, it still hasn’t been adopted by the mainstream. There is a lot of unlocked value there that will undoubtedly soon take hold on the masses.

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  • jelenawoehr

    I think customer invov

  • jelenawoehr

    I think crowdsourced product design may finally come into its own in 2011. Customers often know better than brands what they value, and they’re happy to share their ideas freely for rewards as simple as entry into a contest or even just the excitement of seeing something they suggested implemented in a final project. This has been happening in a limited way for decades–think Mountain Dew’s periodic new flavor contests–but new mobile technology is poised to allow fans of a brand to genuinely visualize product design options, consider value and benefits, and give meaningful feedback.

  • JGoldsborough

    Love to play the trend game. I’m in :). Agree on mobile, with a twist. I see more emphasis on mobile Web (accessible on any device) and less emphasis on apps.

    I also think we’re starting to see brands use social media the right way — to be social and facilitate social interactions amongst communities. Companies are slowly starting to get that this “marketing through my Facebook page” thing doesn’t work too well. This isn’t flashy and may seem like common sense, but I would estimate that at least 80% of the companies using social use it as a marketing — not an engagement — tool.

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  • With 2012 coming up…do I see on the horizon a list that includes “social consolidation?” With the advent of Google+ it seems like we will need to move beyond gamy social network mashups like Empire Avenue and move toward serious consolidated engines that do the same for social that “metacrawler” and “dogpile” did for those weary of 500 “up and coming” search engines.

  • ginidietrich

    @LynxToTweet I don’t know if there will be consolidation as early as 2012. I think Google is still too far behind the social curve. But definitely by 2013!

  • ginidietrich

    @LynxToTweet I don’t know if there will be consolidation as early as 2012. I think Google is still too far behind the social curve. But definitely by 2013!

  • @ginidietrich That’s what makes predicting fun…

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