With all things come change, and if you’re set on making positive moves for your business in 2011, there are some necessary aspects you should be aware of. More importantly, if you are using social media as a marketing or communication tool, it’s paramount that you add these changes to your strategies so you are well prepared.

Here are some changes that are expected to occur in 2011:

1. Changes to FTC Guidelines: Although FTC changes may not occur at the first of January, it is known that the FTC is looking into this industry for setting regulations sometime down the road. The FTC has begun focusing on paid reviews, disclosure on blogs, and the ethics surrounding traditional bloggers and journalists. If your company is based on interacting and promoting through the internet, you’ll need to use these guidelines to properly conduct business.

2. A Neutral Net: Have you heard any news about what Verizon and Google are planning on doing together? If their plan goes accordingly, they are trying to incorporate a paid model into their system. Therefore, all you lovely bloggers out there won’t be able to publish your content as you have in the past. Reaching people through blogging will no longer be a “free” form. Companies or individuals with substantial amounts of cash will be able to regulate their blogs in a quick manner, why the rest of us poor souls will have to wait it out. It’s pretty unfair, and I honestly don’t ever see this coming to pass. There should be something we can do about it, right?

3. Buying in Groups: I’m sure you’ve heard of sites like Groupon before and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Sites that offer you a greater discount if you get several people involved in the buying process. Groupon has been pretty successful in this venture with a gross of $1 billion dollars in sales. So it’s highly plausible that other sites will be taking note and implementing the same strategies.

4. Sell through Social Media: You might be thinking, “Um, what?” but some of you “social media rock stars” already know that you can use Facebook to sell. Additionally, those clients can recommend you and tell their friends to buy. Whether or not you’re using an e-commerce site or setting one up through a social network, now it’s easier than ever to sell through social media.

5. It’s still true, engaging with customers is important!: Hopefully, you’ve already heard about this a few times through learning about how to strategize with social media. For 2011, it’s not really changing, but now it has become more than necessary. No matter what kind of content you provide when trying to engage your readers, the easiest way to begin the conversation is just by asking simple questions. For example: How are you, how’s the weather, or what can we do better? Having a bunch of followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook is great, but it doesn’t mean anything unless your business is successful. The only way to do that with social media is engaging!

6. Sites Featuring Q&A: Another interesting aspect of social media that is seeing a huge change in influence is Q&A sites. MerchantCircle and Facebook have incorporated this feature to their site, and it may sound odd, but fortunately, these types of sites are making a huge impact on what people buy. I would expect to see more sites like these becoming popular and furthermore, you should get a head start and begin answering questions. Marketing through Q&A sites creates an endless possibility for gaining new clients.

7. Going Mobile: This really comes as no surprise since so many people are using PDA’s and other mobile phones to access the Internet. Regarding changes in 2011, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about how you can incorporate new features into your site that will enable purchasing via mobile phones by some sort of application.

8. Oh, and did I mention the content factor? I’ve said this before and so has many others, but your content is a highly valuable factor in your business success. Content is not dead nor is about to be. More or less, it’s about to take a huge turn and be extremely critical in order to gain new clients. Remember your content must be valuable to your audience; it should stay consistent and take a non-sales approach. It’s also important to include as many aspects as your time will allow including videos, podcasts, e-newsletters, and white papers, not to mention your actual web site and blog content.

I’m positive we will see more changes in 2011 and we’ve only touched base on a few. In addition, hopefully there will be more widespread changes for freelancers, small business owners and social media pirates to gain more security and financial stability for the future. What have you heard that might be changing in 2011?

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Pigoni of Be Social Worldwide is a certified social marketing specialist and a social media virtual assistant. Dawn offers superb social networking, social marketing and social bookmarking to WAHMs, Small Business Owners, Internet Marketers, Affiliate Marketers, and Coaches who desire to bring stunning Internet presence through social networking to their businesses. Get Dawn’s free report, Social Networking Report (link to http://besocialworldwide.com) today and find out how she can assist you with being Social Worldwide!