Mashable’s Six Memorable Social Media Trends of 2011

As another year comes to an end, it will be remembered on the social media front as one that wasn’t full of rapid changes. Instead, it was a year of upgrades.

Facebook and Twitter didn’t make any earth-shattering changes; LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) went public and the Color Facebook app had a rough start.

However, here’s six trends that Mashable believes will be remembered from 2011.

Google+ 

Launched in June as a competitor to Facebook, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced the social network with a lot of buzz. It started as an invite-only network and then opened publicly in September. In October, marketers signed up for brand pages, which may have slowed the network’s growth.

To date, the network hasn’t really shown SEO or Circles advantages as compared to Facebook. It is personal, making it easy to talk with people with common interests as opposed to speaking to a general audience.

Facebook’s Facelift

Facebook announced changes in September that didn’t take effect until December, causing marketers to begin changing their Facebook strategies. Changes have been made for “Like” as you can now any verb into a button from Facebook Gestures. The new Timeline feature will help marketers develop brand pages but without catchy content, it won’t hit fans’ News Feeds.
Twitter Rises 

While Twitter started advertising platforms last year, in 2011 the social media outlet hit the mainstream. This has been reflected in ad pricing.

In its April 2010 launch, Promoted Trends cost $25,000 to $30,000  per day, but by June 2011, Twitter charged $120,000 for these placements. They have now worked 500 advertisers for 6,000 campaigns.

Twitter now has London and New York sales offices.

It has become a campaign ad agent. Audi had a Super Bowl ad attributing a Twitter hashtag while there’s been numerous online and offline campaigns by companies promoting tweeting.

Challenges for Daily Deals

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) started the year looking like an up-and-coming Facebook. The company’s owners said “no thanks” to Google’s $6 billion offer, but drew competitors from everywhere.

In 2011, Facebook nixed its Deals project, which would have been a Groupon competitor, while Yelp cut back on its daily deals opportunities. Groupon’s IPO was initially deemed a success, but its allure has since fizzled.

Augmented Reality Hits the General Public 
Marketers discovered a way for consumers to talk about their social media brands through their mobile phones: say hello to augmented reality (AR).

While AR isn’t new, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)  had an AR campaign named Starbucks Cup Magic through the holiday season. Fans could “animate coffee cups with their smartphones.” After doing so, they could share this experience either through Facebook or an ecard.

New Apps

Products marketed through apps aren’t a new idea but they used to come with a useful design, such as Kraft’s (NYSE:KFT) iFood Assistant.

However this year, many new apps were supposed to be jokes, sent to others by social media. One example is Jell-O’s “Jiggle It” app, which shows a shiny Jell-O cube dancing to selected music. While not a useful app, it can be shared with others.

Geico delivered two joke apps in 2011 with the Caveman Photo Crasher app featuring a photo-bombing Caveman, and the BroStache, which copies a mustache when you put a smartphone to your face.

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