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What’s happening in 2011 for Social Media and Internet Marketing? I’m glad you asked, because Brandon Uttley and Corey Creed gave us the lowdown at the 2011 Internet Marketing Forecast meetup at HIPPO Internet Marketing Consulting & Training last night.

First let me say that I am in love with meetup.com which is an online network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize or find a local group that is gathering around a topic or interest.  You just search on a topic of interest and your location and presto: meetups in your area are displayed for you to peruse. Find one you are interested in joining and all you have to do is RSVP and show up!

So this was HIPPO’s first meetup and they did a great job. The facility was the perfect setting for something like this, and the ballroom that we met in held all 70 participants comfortably, with nothing but standing room leftover. That is an amazing turnout for a meetup, and it really shows you the power of the topic of Social Media and Internet Marketing.

After roughly 30 minutes of networking and munching on tasty snacks, we took our seats and listened as Corey Creed, President of HIPPO, gave an overview of the company and then introduced Brandon Uttley, who is the founder of Web Business Freedom. Both of these guys are veritable fountains of information, and you could spend days browsing both of their websites, tweets and blogs and learn more than your brain  could ever retain in one sitting.

Brandon cracked us up with his Steve Jobs impression and then quickly moved into his recap of what happened in 2010. Note: This is my interpretation of his comments, although some of the quotes are verbatim.

  1. The Social Media honeymoon ended. Now it’s more “Married with Children”
  2. A love affair between Social Media and Search occurred – one which continues today.
  3. Return on Investment (ROI) was in demand. People wanted to know what they are getting for all of this work.
  4. We really loved Facebook.
  5. We also went nuts for Geolocation services like FourSquare, Places and Yelp.
  6. Group buying became huge. And when you think about it, group buying + social media makes a lot of sense (or is it cents?)
  7. We waved buh-bye to Google Wave.  Sorry Google – it was a nice try.
  8. iPad. ’nuff said…
  9. Static Discussions decreased. Less activity was taking place on blogs and discussion boards. Those discussions moved real-time and at a rate way bigger than it ever was before.
  10. A Pugh Study came out showing that users of social media are actually very social in real life (and not the introverted losers we were made out to be. Yay us!)

So that recap was very cool and helped put a lot of his predictions for 2011 into perspective.

2011 Predictions:

  1. Smart phones are going to change the game even more. By the end of 2011 half of all cell phones will be smart phones (as opposed to dumb phones which just place and receive calls, in case you were wondering.)
  2. Facebook will still be King of the Hill. Ad sales is continuing to increase at a rapid rate.  Brandon likes to say that they are doing business “at the speed of like” (copyright pending)
  3. Twitter, while not the King, is continuing to increase in usage. There are more than 200 million twitter users, 65 million tweets daily and over 800,000 search queries executed every day. People really like that real-time search.
  4. Then Brandon whipped out his balls. A baseball and a basketball, that is. (seriously folks, this is a family-friendly program.) He compared Facebook to…not the basketball…the baseball. The basketball represents mobile and Brandon believes that mobile is the future. The mobile web will be bigger than the desktop by 2015. (There was a statistic about how many people sleep with their cell phones that I kind of tuned out because, well that’s just silly and I can’t believe anyone would be that obsessive about it. And now I wait for the lightening to strike me.)
  5. Quick Response codes (known as QR codes) will become more prevalent. This is technology that enables you to scan a barcode with your phone and get more information about something.
  6. Use of group buying sites (think Groupon and Living Social) will continue to increase.
  7. Online contests, which drive a lot of interaction will be seen a whole lot more.
  8. Social games will also continue to be big.
  9. There will be more instances of Games + Geolocation services. Think SCVNGR.
  10. Expect to see more curation tools, such as Paper.Li, Nutshell mail, and Pegboard.

Some of the items on his list were obvious to me, some were surprises and some I had never even heard of or given much thought to. Lots of opportunity to dig in and learn there.

Corey added on his predictions for the year. It was great to see a few contrasting opinions amongst his predictions.

  1. Social Media Marketing is not all that. The ‘Honeymoon’ is over and people are feeling like some of it was overhyped.  And this year expect to see the Internet Marketing people and the Social Media people doing some clashing.
  2. Laptops are going to blow away desktops. Tablets even more so.  Since most of the users of the internet are consuming content rather than creating it, they don’t really need a big screen to do so. The big takeaway here: make sure your web content is consumable on small screens.
  3. Online video is going to blow up in 2011. Social media will continue to move towards video, so if you are smart you will get out there before your competition does.  The barrier to entry is higher for video than other tools, such as twitter and facebook, which puts you ahead of your competition.  You can start lower-level with something like a webcam and that’s fine as a beginning. The next step would be to get some decent lights and a dedicated location (something HIPPO is in the process of doing to the tune of about $1000.) Or you can go bigger scale with production crews and a bigger price tag.
  4. Social Media will not eat the search engines for lunch. When people want an opinion they will go to social media sites, but when they are looking to find something specific they will hit up the good old search tools. And the thing is that search makes money, where social media can make money (but doesn’t always.)
  5. Facebook and Twitter are here to stay (at least for now) – especially Facebook. Twitter users are experiencing a decline in clickthroughs, but the thing to keep in mind is that your follower list translates into a social graph that can be applied to other tools. Think about how many times you might use your Twitter login to sign up for new tools – all of that information can be pulled over and you can search out your connections on the new tools.

After all of this was some Q&A. Some of the topics included Website and Blogging use, geolocation services, the roles of social media vs. internet marketing vs. traditional marketing, spam, augmented reality, and group texts.  They did a nice job of taking questions from within the room as well as from the twittersphere. We wrapped up on time and then a few persistent networkers hung around to continue to schmooze and chat each other up.

HIPPO has a few more meetups scheduled over the next couple of months, so for those local to Charlotte I definitely recommend attending one of them. And if you aren’t local, I’m sure you can find something close to you by searching meetup.

All in all a great night, some good information, a few personal takeaways for me, and a few new connections made.

– Christy