Social and digital media hogged the communications
spotlight again in 2010.
While the noise was constant, the number of actual
developments that had an impact weren’t so plentiful.
To help put it in perspective, we’ve pulled together a
pack that looks at:
•The 10 BIGtrends from 2010
•Smaller, but still important developments
Whether you manage a brand or simply just enjoy the
social media space, the following pages will ensure you
are ready for 2011.
Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the
world’s most popular social media platforms
but new and more specific ones are carving out
a niche for themselves.
Tumblr and Posterous, which are slim-line
versions of blogging platforms have become
popular amongst hobbyist bloggers who like to
keep things short and sweet.
Paper.li takes self publishing to Twitter by
aggregating the most popular tweets in your
stream and automatically publishes them in
form of an online paper (but has suffered from
the ‘spam’ label as a result).
Easier publishing equals more publishers (and
more people equipped to talk about you or your
platforms make self
publishing even easier
CNN released a study into news sharing via
social media in the second half of 2010 and it
finally added some proof to the theory that
news travels further when people actively get
43% of news sharing comes via social media
channels (easily eclipsing email and SMS).
On average, people share 13 stores per week
via social media and receive 26 – this means a
small group are responsible for a big portion of
the outgoing activity.
The content catalysts are becoming more and
In each sector there are several prolific content
sharers who have the ears of their communities
and getting them to share content you’ve
created is often more lucrative than being
mentioned in a piece created from scratch by
Sharing the spoils
Say what you like about Mark Zuckerberg but
his organisation listens.
Early in 2010, Facebook moved away from
classify people as ‘fans of brands and people’
and simplified it by allowing users to ‘like’
This subtle but significant change meant
sharing content and endorsing pages fell under
the one banner, making it easier for people to
interact with things they were interested in.
The like / dislike rating system is fast becoming
the standard across all social platforms.
Brands get an immediate idea of the popularity
of their content / activity and can measure the
impact outside of just their own pages.
Facts and figures are vital elements in the creation
of mainstream news.
For example, a fashion label can’t say a new trend
has emerged unless sales data can back up the
The social web is no different, in fact the hunger
for data is even higher thanks to the frequency in
which information is required.
This has seen a boom in the use of infographics
(see left) and other data visualisation techniques
by brands to create new coverage opportunities.
Bloggers will always seek out official stats in the
first instance , but in place of those will use
whatever Google digs up for them.
Brands can take advantage of this by being more
proactive in the dissemination of data, giving the
growing legion of ‘self-publishers’ more content of
This could be as simple as publishing a monthly
Many have called 2010 the year of the
smartphone, but the most important trend in
mobile technology was the launch of the Apple
iPad and similar devices.
Tablets are essentially content facilitators,
bringing rich imagery and moving pictures with
you wherever you go.
Several impacts have occurred as a result of the
Media outlets have recognised them as the
future of publishing and creating bespoke
media titles just for them.
App developers have also had to adjust their
output to meet the technological requirements
of each device.
Tablets will follow the development pattern of
the smartphone, but at a much quicker pace.
Geo-location platform Foursquare received a lot
of attention in 2010 but it was other platforms
which involved a ‘participate and reward’
element which are the ones to keep an eye on.
A great example is GetGlue which encourages
users to rate things like TV programmes, movies
and people in exchange for collecting special
GetGlue also allows users to ‘check in’ to an
activity like watching a TV show, which has
opened up a new avenue of rewards and tie
A simple incentive like and exclusive sticker
checking into the premiere of a new season of
TV helps boost ratings while also makes
individuals feel valued – this will become the
norm soon and brands have to start to act
Rewards on the rise
BP had the unfortunate honour of being the
first brand to really suffer from Twitter going
Its hijacked @BPGlobalPR account showed how
important this new form of reputation
management had become.
It highlighted several important things,
-It is crucial to engage with
customers/stakeholders via Twitter regularly -
not only when there is a 'need'.
-Think ahead - brands should 'claim' as many
relevant account names as possible on
platforms like Twitter (just like you would with a
You can view the thoughts of our lead social
media consultant, Adam Vincenzini, on the BP
issue in Corp Comms magazine via :
Big time brand jacking
Content is often labelled as the king of social
and digital media but without context it can be
wasteful and meaningless.
The most valuable form of content in this space
is something which has no use by date aka
It is often characterised by useful insights and
advice that people can consult on their terms.
This is opposed to news or personality heavy
content which although impactful, loses
relevancy in an instant.
A focus must be placed on creating content that
adds value to communities, not just flash for the
sake of flashiness.
Internal experts within organisations are best
placed to front content of this nature.
Content put in context
Influence and influencers continue to be at the
top of the social media debating charts.
This year, we’ve seen moves by several outfits
to quantify influence through online tools and
rating systems, including Klout, which is fast
becoming the most recognised provider.
Klout takes statistics like Twitter followers,
community response and participant output
into a formula and calculates an individuals
influence in their sector.
While this information is helpful and can assist
in the early stages of determining an individuals
influence on a community, it is still no match for
the insight participants in those communities
If you want to reach food influencers, seek
advice who is actively involved in food social
Under the influence
At a time when anything digital is ‘hot’ it might
seems strange to say that the traditional
website is in decline, but it well and truly is.
The reasons are simple enough too.
The web is firmly established and an interactive
and social space so when you visit a static
corporate brochure-style website you pretty
much know what you are going to get.
Whereas websites, which look and feel more
like blogs that are updated regularly give you a
reason for a return visit.
They become a source of information and
enjoyment, not a cold an unappealing advert.
The longer you leave your website in a purely
promotional form the longer it will take you to
be part of the conversations you are so
desperate to be a part of.
Websites in decline?
Of course, these aren’t the only things that
happened in 2010.
Lots of little things took place to help shape
the big developments.
And, here they are…
Safety concerns about
subjected to intense
YouTube diversifies –
delivers TV, movies on-
demand and live sport
Twitter adds localised
trend intelligence /
like about.me and
flavors.me rise in
Mainstream media outlets
integration with social
People show an increased
willingness to pay for
exclusive content (video
Nike capitalised on
YouTube’s move to allow
unlisted videos which
encouraged more direct
Google’s native browser,
Chrome, made inroads on
Explorer and Firefox
Twitter made a big
change to Twitter.com,
making it more media
The lines between
customer and publisher
continued to blur
Question and Answer
communities like Quora
Several studies showed
that social media is not
just the domain of the
generation Y and younger
expect channels like
Twitter to be a customer
Quantity of content
increased but quality
Social media tools are
becoming more specific,
making each brand’s
Facebook fast becoming
the online hub for
2011 is potentially shaping up as the final
year of social media excess.
We think the exponential rate of growth and
interest is likely to settle down over the next
12-24 months as social media becomes just
another part of the modern communicator’s
ever evolving arsenal.
Keep up to date with all the latest communications news, insights and trends at
Keep up to date with all the latest communications news, insights and trends at
The following sources were referenced in the production of this report: