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What Are the Communication Trends for 2011?

Stay ahead of the curve by learning the top 4 communication trends for 2011.

By
Lisa B. Marshall
February 3, 2011
Episode #118

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Social media is maturing. I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve never been fond of the term “social media expert.” After all, we don’t rely on “fax experts” or “telephone experts” to help us communicate more effectively. We instead turn to communication experts. Today, I’ll talk about social media and other communication trends in 2011. 

Sponsor: The podcast edition of this article was sponsored by Audible. You can get a free audiobook to keep when you sign up for a free 14-day trial at audiblepodcast.com/lisa (It’s really a great service.)

2011 Trends in Communication

So what’s in store for 2011? In short, more! More communication. More sophisticated communication. More communication channels. More connectivity. More multimedia. Easier real-time collaboration. Bottom line? Richer and deeper connections and collaborations.

Since I don’t consider myself a social media expert, I was curious to see whether my thinking was in line with Chris Brogan (who is a known social media expert) and graciously he agreed to an interview.

You can listen to the full interview over at lisabmarshall.com. However, in the meantime, here are some trends for 2011:

Communication Trend #1: Organizations Will Embrace Social Media

As your probably know, social media is transforming the way companies communicate. Even if companies, small business owners, and individuals have chosen NOT to participate in social media up to now, this year they will.

Organizations are going to embrace (or perhaps be forced to embrace) social media as a tool to get business done. Sales professionals will want to use social media to attract and interact with prospects. Marketing professionals will use it to engage customers, monitor, and strengthen their brand. Customer service will want to be more proactive and available for customers. Human resource professionals will want to recruit the best talent and grow innovative cultures. Training will want to use social media for just-in-time delivery of instructional content and for innovative peer-to-peer training.

I’ve been waiting for this to happen. In the past, many companies simply banned the use of social medial. But according to Forrester Research, "A lot of businesses, small and large, are moving away from the more restrictive model of blocking social media to a more liberal access model." 

With increased competition and tough economic times, we need to do things differently. It seems that the successful companies are moving away from a transaction-oriented view of business to a relationship view. What I think we’ve seen over the past few years is the early adopters figuring it out--people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, and Mignon Fogarty, and organizations like Zappos, IBM, Comcast, Bigelow Tea, and Blendtec have been busy creating their playbooks. 

Communication Trend #2: More Social Media Tools

As these organizations and individuals have success, they begin to recognize what works for them and what doesn’t. In fact, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently released the results of a study showing that though the most commonly used tools use in 2010 were Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, the most successful tools were message/bulletin boards, podcasts, and blogs. 

What’s ahead in the coming year? More testing and more tools. When Chris and I talked he mentioned he believes we’ll see an increase in mobile technologies--which means we’ll see more location-based social media popping up. He also thinks the expansion of 4G technology is going to lead to more video. I agree with him. Over the past few years, I have heard people say, “This is the year of the video.”   This year, I believe, really will be the year of the video.  

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