2012 has seen social media continue to gather pace, with even more social channels hitting the market. Even with all this buzz, there is still a level of scepticism and uncertainty amoung businesses who still fail to understand the power and the enormous opportunities that social media presents. This situation is somewhat similar to the late 1990s when a large number of businesses believed they didn’t need a webpage, which resulted in many missed opportunities.
Within this world of change in how we communicate, connect, and engage what does 2013 have in store for us? There are a number of technology driven shifts underway, and these will continue to have a major impact on how we work and how we engage using social media. Here are some of the trends that will impact us in 2013.
A lot of businesses have a presence on social media, but very few have taken this opportunity seriously. There are even a greater number of businesses that still see Social Media as a fad, or are unable to grasp the opportunity due to either a lack of understanding or fear about someone posting a complaint on their social channel site.
2013 will be a defining year as we see the social channels continue to grow and evolve. For businesses, governments, charities and educators, 2013 is the year of engagement. The consumer is now front and centre and controls what information he/she wants to receive from their brand communities. They are the ones that give you and your brand permission to interact with them. It’s no longer a one way street in terms of communication, where traditional marketing has been used over the years. 2013 is the year of engagement; it’s the time for brands to interact with their community / tribe members, understand more about your brand from them and get them talking about your brand. The organisations that get this will see their brands outpace their competitors, especially the ones that still don’t see social media as a channel to participate in.
A MARKETPLACE WITH NO BOUNDARIES
2013 will see companies beginning to realise that they are no longer servicing a local community, or geographic location. With the internet, mobile phones and social media, business is now truly global and can service anyone that they engage with via social media.
Smart Brands will begin to realise that they need to rethink their strategy, realign their marketing mix and product offerings to effectively compete in a global marketplace.
With this shift in thinking comes an understanding that social media is an important part of your marketing mix. If you have a product to sell or a service to market, social media can play a major part in getting your brand global. Today you don’t need to rely on an intermediary such as distributors, licensors or retailers. You can get online set up a presence on social channels and sell your product or service 24/7.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Social media has given every person a voice. For the first time ever the power is now rests in the hands of the individual. 2013 will see this power shift, continue to grow and influence every aspect of society.
The consumer now holds the power, they now decide which brands they want to interact with and receive information from.
This shift will continue to reverberate across society as brands, companies, associations, and governments come to terms with this shift in power.
As we have seen recently, social media controls the noise, spreads the word, allows individuals to gather together and become one voice. People now congregate both on and offline to support a cause or injustice.
In 2013 social media will continue to drive the news, views and opinions of the individual which in turn aggregates to the masses. ‘Power to the people’ can now bring down Governments. It can now impact elections, damage or destroy brands, change legislation, and create change itself; it provides the silent majority with a voice.
Governments, Businesses and Brands as well as social media providers now have to come to terms with how they operate, market, communicate and engage in this new economy. As we have recently seen with Instagram (who wanted to change their terms of operation to give them the right to use other peoples images for advertising purposes) people will spread the message and people will disengage in protest.
BATTLE OF THE NET TITANS
In 2013 we will see the battle of the “net titans”. These are the major players on the internet, once dominated by computer hardware companies, the new age titans are the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Apple.
These companies dominate a marketplace like no other before them, and they hold the biggest asset of all, information; on what we like dislike, think and do.
We will see these big companies butting heads with each other as they try to grab an advantage and more power. Some may decide to stop allowing their information being shared via search engines, others may stop third party providers of services, (such as the plethora of twitter third party services providers from being able to access the twitter streams) in an attempt to control the information and data they are gathering.
Will this battle create separate webs with their own search engines where you never need to leave the social channels you engage in? This will certainly start to play out over the coming years and dramatically change the nature of the internet and destroy the original philosophy of the internet, which was open shared content.
COMPANY SOCIAL MEDIA
2013 will be defined as the year that social media started to be ‘integrated’ into business. This trend will be all about businesses using social media channels as a vehicle to communicate and collaborate and engage with other employees online through social media channels.
We have seen education facilities start to integrate social media into their operations, and we will start to see savvy smart businesses and governments do the same. Using social media as vehicles to communicate internal announcements, to create collaborative cross functional working groups, to seek out new employees or internal job opportunities.... social media for business will provide endless opportunities and will hopefully put an end to those dreaded emails that have become the biggest time consuming and some may say most unproductive activity in business today.