Startups, pay attention: Why businesses will get more social in 2011

This article was written by Douglas Idugboe and originally published on Smedio.

Social Media along with Cloud-based services and mobile computing will be the key technology trends of 2011, according to IDC. The research firm believes that more and more businesses will turn social next year but there will be fewer social networking platforms to choose from.

The year 2011 will provide a defining moment for the mass-scale adoption of social media and social analytics (aka socialytics) in the business world. Last month, I wrote a story which explains why Garner is so bullish on the prospects of social media amongst the business fraternity. IDC has gone a step further and claims that social media will play a key role as the mainstream platform in the enterprise.

The SMB Segment

IDC believes that social media will thrive amongst small and medium-sized businesses next year. Facebook has gained massive traction amongst small businesses this year and it’s expected to further step up the ante with new business-friendly profile changes and email integration via Social Inbox.

Twitter will continue to gain popularity amongst small businesses and Jive is being projected as the next big social media platform for the business world. Social business has come of age over the past 18 months and it’s set to rise further with a staggering annual growth rate of 38% each year till 2014.

The Biggies

IDC believes that a large number of enterprises will embrace social media with open arms in 2011. Large technology giants including Microsoft, HP, IBM and others will look for acquisitions in the social media collaboration and socialytics space. In fact, social media is expected to rule the roost in 2011 for acquisitions and mergers.

Overall IT spending on social media is expected to receive a major boost next year.

Social Media & Business Analytics

Commonly known as socialytics, the amalgamation of social media and business analytics is expected to rise through the ranks next year. An increasing number of businesses will be open to using sophisticated tools to track and study customer habits on leading social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

To put it in more romantic words, the love affair between social media and business analytics is finally expected to turn into a happy marriage next year. Social media is expected to make inroads into all kind of business applications along with mobility and unified communications.

The year of convergence & consolidation

A significant proportion of business users use smartphones to access Facebook and Twitter. This number is set to rise further next year as the world witnesses the convergence of social media, mobile computing and cloud-based services.

2011 is expected to be an year of consolidation for social media and the lesser-known players are likely acquisition targets for the bigger players.

What are your social media plans for 2011? Are you planning to use more social media for your business next year? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.