There is little doubt 2010 was the year of social media with Facebook overtaking Google as the web’s most popular site – not to mention an Oscar-tipped film being released – while Twitter became ubiquitous and its influence in circulating news (and gossip) became clear.
With these mediums and more now firmly established, where will 2011 lead them? And what other trends will appear?
“Social commerce excites me – we already know how powerful recommendations from friends can be and the group shopping experience can easily be replicated through social commerce,” says Facebook’s UK and Ireland PR chief Sophie Silver.
While few will argue 2011 will see social media more ingrained in everyday consumer life, there will be purposeful focus from simply having a presence in the space, towards monetising it.
An increasingly sophisticated relationship between social media and search will enhance opportunities in social commerce. Chris Maples, commercial director at Microsoft Advertising says; “The tighter interweave between social media and search is so exciting: search results will become increasingly influenced by what searchers’ friends and peers think is relevant.”
“Search results will begin to rely more user’s social context. Bing has already started with its Facebook partnership in the US… and marketers will need to think in terms of combining (search and social media) disciplines, which no longer exist in silos.
Some retail sites are also starting to experiment with customer curation – using social technology to give customers a say on inventory.
Christine Bardwell, retail technology analyst at Ovum, says, “Contrary to the current waves of cynicism in the UK retail sector, 2011 will be the year when social commerce will really take off.”