Three social media predictions from Forrester: analysis


A new report from Forrester is predicting tougher sledding for social media marketing in 2011. Summarizing the report in a blog post, Augie Ray of Forrester equates the current state of social media to the web 15 years ago. I have to agree that there are definitely similarities, especially in how business is reacting or trying to react. Much like when the web was young, social media (as Augie states) is challenging the status quo and defying easy metrics.

Many people have tagged 2010 as the year of social and yet, it's still a very young medium which has a lot of growing and maturing to do. Not only is business still trying to understand it, but so are users. Add to this a constant influx of newcomers to the medium and you have a bit of a "wild west" feel to it. What works today may not work tomorrow and the streets are packed with social snake oil salespeople pushing easy answers -- It's a noisy place.

In his post, Augie highlights 3 predictions for social which are certain to provoke discussion within the online marketing industry.

New social spam filters will stop many of your tweets and status updates from reaching consumers

It's true, the noise level is high on social media right now. Twitter channels are a cascade of information in a flotsam of fluff and often I feel like a grizzly trying to fish for salmon even using hashtag filters. It's likely we'll see more filter options available to help people reduce the noise. That of course, will mean marketers having to work smarter to get heard.

On the other hand, I think there are ample of possibilities for developers to come with tools or even content platforms to curate content. If Twitter wants to for instance, it could become a powerful media brand tomorrow. In fact, anyone can, using nothing more than Twitter, RSS feeds, smart filtering and a human touch, even without ever producing one single bit of content.

Finally, the noise level is high in all channels. It's one of the main causes of marketing fatigue and you know how to prevent that ( check out the paper).

Growing mistrust will make it harder to gather friends and followers or get them engaged in your social programs

I'm not completely sure that "trust" is the right word here. I'd say relevance is more correct and yet relevance does lead to trust - at least so far as people trust some content to be of real value to them. Social media privacy concerns are going to increase as the medium continues to grow. Legitimate marketers will suffer from the irresponsible actions of some - just as email marketing has suffered because of spam.

IMHO smart marketers will be the ones who focus on relevance and providing value in their content. Marketers should focus first on adding real value to a person's day and not on pushing product.

The most successful marketing programs won't be contained within Facebook

I agree with Forrester that the Facebook juggernaut will roll on, but it won't be the only game in town for social marketing. Oh, it will be a main component to be sure, but I personally see it as one channel in a multi-channel world.

I see marketers putting a lot of effort into optimizing their blogs, landing pages, email campaigns and social in an attempt to increase user relevance and a consistent experience across all channels.

Optimizing all these touch points so that they deliver engaging and relevant information across any channel and at the convenience of the consumer, is where it's at for 2011.

This year ever more businesses will realize that it's not only about getting consumers to come to us, but also about us going WITH them.

Efficiently using social media to improve the relevance of marketing and communication programs
Download our free white paper
on social media marketing from the cross-channel perspective and learn how social media integrates with other interaction channels.
Summary : The hottest topic in marketing and communication is without any doubt social media marketing. Although many businesses are still testing the waters, many others have successfully integrated social media in their marketing mix.

Inspiration in Your Inbox!

Sign up for your monthly dose of thought leadership.
You can unsubscribe in each newsletter at any time.