After last week’s review of the top five trends of sports and entertainment social media in 2010, we’ve shifted our focus to 2011. Move over Nostradamus and The Great Swami … Activ8Social is in town, and we’ve analyzed the zodiac, assessed the constellations, consulted the Farmer’s Almanac, and spoked to fortune tellers to come up with our list of top 2011 trends. Let us know if you agree or disagree, and what your predictions are for the new year ahead of us.
Gazing into the Crystal Ball: Sports & Social Media Predictions for 2011
1. Year of the Deal
“Geolocation”, “Group Buying”, “Social Gaming” and “Virtual Goods” are a few social media buzzwords you will hear circulating throughout the sports industry in 2011. Each of these categories hit the mainstream news cycle this past year with companies like Foursquare, Zynga and Groupon battling for headlines in a race for reach and revenues. 2011 will be the “Year of the Deal” for fans and Facebook Places will be a major player given its combination of geo-location and group buying with 500 million plus users. Mobile isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s going everywhere. Sports teams, leagues, brands and athletes are as focused as ever on accessing fans through their smart phones and harnessing the power of “Geo”.
2. Real-Time, In-Game Interaction
This train left the station in 2010, but we expect it to take off in 2011. People will want to use social media to connect further with the game, whether it be at the stadium/arena, watching on TV, or following online. We will find out very quickly how popular this has the potential to be as the NHL and NBC are pushing an in-game social media promotion through Facebook and Twitter. Teams and leagues are experimenting to leverage social technology into the game experience by rewarding fans for check-ins, facilitating concession orders and offering access to special cameras and replays through video apps like Yinzcam and FanVision. There is no limit to what can be done in this field of play and it’s an exciting time to be in sports marketing.
3. The Effect of the Work Stoppages
Most league insiders are anticipating the NFL and NBA to have work stoppages in 2011, which will inevitably create tension among the teams, players and fans. In this regard, teams and players alike will be forced to find new and creative ways to a keep their fans happy—and social media is likely to play a major role in this effort. Players will have added incentive to connect with their fans through social media as they will be unable to keep their fans happy on the field and therefore must find other avenues in which to stay relevant. Teams will have to leverage social media in an attempt to keep disgruntled fans from fleeing to other sports. It will be interesting to follow the integration of traditional and new media by athletes and teams next year, particularly in the NFL and NBA as they fight to stay relevant during a 2011/2012 season that may never take place.
4. Flipboard will Become a Household Name
Flipboard was just named Apple’s iPad app of the year and we expect it to become more than that in 2010. Flipboard is a social magazine application that basically takes a website or series of websites and turns it into a beautiful, magazine-like interface that is easy to read. It has the ability to turn your Facebook and Twitter accounts into digital magazines and allows you to naturally flip through all the information you want, just like you would a magazine. It also lets you create your own custom magazine with your favorite news or content sites. Flipboard has the potential to have the type of explosion for news apps in 2011 that Angry Birds had for games in 2010.
5. We Will Discover the ROI of Social Media
In 2010, a myriad of new tools and services sprung up to help brands monitor, respond to, or determine the influence and impact of their social media efforts including Sprout Social and Viral Heat among others who join veterans like Radian 6, BuzzLogic, Lithium (formerly ScoutLabs), and BrandWatch. In the process of trying to help brands, the use of these different measurable analytics (the reality being the many social media brand managers use more than one service) have actually led to more confusion among brands as to how real return on investment is actually defined for their social media efforts. 2011 will be the year there is a consolidation between these methods via best practices and the ability to compare to the previous year’s experimental and baseline efforts. Brands are now better equipped to figure out how much money they are really making off of social media. And we suspect they will be pleasantly surprised!