Social Metrics Influencing Search Rankings
Do you really think Google will ignore social data? Crawling social sites like Twitter and Facebook was only the first step.

Expect to see Google taking social data into account for organic search rankings. There’s too much link data in social sites to be ignored. Expect to see an acquisition of a service like PostRank.

How to prepare: Sign up for a profile on the top social sites, and start growing your presence there. Learn how to properly participate and engage with the community.

Social Fatigue
Brad Mays first mentioned the idea of social fatigue during his presentation at the Social Media Club of Dallas. So much energy and time was spent extolling the virtues of social in 2009 that I think you’ll see some thought leaders start a mini-rebellion.

I expect to see some thought leaders try to latch onto the next best thing, or roll the social media category into something much broader like digital strategy or Internet marketing.

How to prepare: Never put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re not already, think about planning and executing an integrated marketing campaign that encompasses SEO, PPC, Social, E-mail, and in some cases, some offline spend.

Social Shakedowns
2009 was the year of the “social media expert”. Given the young age of the social media industry, it was easy for anyone with a Twitter account to claim the status of expert. Expect to see further distancing between true social media professionals and the social charlatans.

How to prepare: If you’re a marketer – keep doing what you’re doing, experiment, play, and educate yourself. You’ll get to expert status eventually.

If you’re a client – do some basic work educating yourself about social media marketing, and be sure to ask potential agency partners to provide examples of work – and in the absence of examples, regular reporting and goal setting will suffice.

An Emphasis on Social ROI and Metrics
Many social media professionals have had the better part of two years to experiment with social tactics and strategy – the best have even more. I believe that the foundation has already been set for how to market successfully using social. Now it’s time to start backing up our work with numbers.

How to prepare: Identify measurable goals for your social campaigns, and then find ways to measure and report. Check out sites like Klout, Twitter Grader, PostRank and Social Mention. Surveys are always good too.

 Other trends:

  • Mobile boom
  • Focus on the hyperlocal
  • Living with less
  • Social skills in demand
  • Bing becomes more relevant
  • Power in the niche

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