As social media marketing matures in 2011, a host of new challenges will likely confront marketers, including increasingly cluttered social platforms and growing privacy concerns, according to projections by Forrester Research. Thus, even more than content, personality, or responsiveness, social media's new currency in 2011 is likely to be trust, it concludes.
Consumers' privacy fears are increasing: 36% of surveyed adults—and 50% of Older Boomers age 54-65—say they are very concerned about their privacy on social networks, up from roughly 30% a year earlier
Such growing mistrust will make it harder for marketers to gather friends and followers, or to engage users in social programs in the coming year, according to Forrester:
1. Marketers will therefore have to work harder to earn confidence and involvement from consumers in 2011
(Below, other social media projections for 2011, based on various Forrester surveys conducted throughout 2010 and additional Forrester analysis.)
2. More social media clutter will make it harder for marketers to connect with their target audiences
In the US, 59% of adults are now "Joiners," a category on Forrester's Social Technographics Ladder. Such users visit or maintain a profile on social networking sites. Joiner levels are up from 51% in 2009, and 19% in 2007.
Clutter is even a greater challenge among younger audiences: 80% of Gen-Y adults are Joiners and have an average of 220 Facebook friends. Activities on social channels will continue to grow, not just with messages from friends but via a growing stream of check-ins, deals, sweepstakes, and loyalty program updates from marketers.
3. More marketers will jostle for attention
Nearly 60% of marketers are already using paid or created social media, and another 25% plan to do so within the next 12 months, leaving just one in six companies absent from social channels one year from now.
More than two in five (43%) marketers surveyed say their interactive budgets will increase in 2011. Mobile and social budgets will increase the most: 48% will increase social budgets and 53% will increase mobile budgets.
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4. Facebook won't own social media
Facebook is just one piece of the social pie. Although 59% of US adults are Joiners, only 45% of men age 45-54 have Joiner behaviors. So the most successful marketing programs won't simply be contained within Facebook; successful marketers instead will "think outside the Facebox."
5. Paid social media will become an important tool for marketers
With only 16% of marketers surveyed saying they have no plans to use either paid or created social media in the next year, paid social media will become a legitimate tool for marketers to overcome social media clutter.
About the study: Findings are from Forrester's report titled 2011: Now Social Media Marketing Gets Tough, based on various Forrester surveys conducted throughout 2010, along with additional Forrester analysis.
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