As we end 2012, we can all agree that social media and it's implications are here to stay. As the Internet matures, social media is playing a bigger and more far-reaching role than ever before. In 2012, it has played a part in several geo-political movements and it's even made it's way into mainstream education, with kindergartners learning their ABC's on an iPad. So on the brink of 2013, I have been wondering where social media will take us over the next year. Here are a few of my predictions:
Goodbye Sales, Hello Community Building
As marketing shifts more towards community building rather than conventional selling, social network management will continue to grow. The outsourcing of social media engagement strategies to digital media agencies will continue to explode, enabling those in business to rapidly zero in on their niche market and efficiently build their community with knowledge and expertise. More than ever before, in 2013 consumers will become marketers. Using social media as a megaphone, customers will recommend their favourite products and places to friends, family and anyone else willing to listen.
You Heard it First on Twitter
It's impossible to deny the impact that social media has had on the news industry. More than ever before, people are reading, monitoring, and sharing news on their smart phones, even before traditional news channels can confirm or deny events. The up-to-the-second nature of social media channels is a distinct advantage over traditional media. In 2013, Social Media channels will continue to replace traditional news sources for gathering information and mobilizing communities. If you want proof, just look at the recent Arab-Israeli conflict, where we saw activists using social media coordinate and publicize their activities and Hurricane Sandy, where people all over the world got a sense of events happening in the storm in real time, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Content is Still King
In the past couple of years, we saw the creation the roles of Chief Content Officer and Content Marketing Director make their way into many businesses and organizations. Companies are starting to recognize and embrace the fact that creating fresh and relevant content will help them engage and connect with their audience. Many more companies will add mid-level content producers and create entire content production departments to compliment their social media strategies. This is good news for all the out of work journalists and reporters!
Video killed the Radio Star
Video will play a more important role in 2013 than ever before. Over 50% of U.S. consumers have a smart phone or tablet. This means an increase in video being posted to the Internet and an increase in the commercial video published by small to medium sized businesses. It has become so easy to take a high-quality video on your phone, or tablet, edit it, make it both web and mobile friendly, and post it across all your social channels. So get ready for the boom of the small business video, a move that will give small businesses a way to stand out among the competition.
Convergence is Key
Traditional banner and interruption ads will decline and be replaced by Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. These ads will appear in-stream and read exactly like another piece of user-generated content. These ads will potentially enable brands to reach clients on their own turf and on their own terms. This concept of convergence between ads and content means that, in essence, successful content becomes the ad, and vice versa.
Mobile Internet users are set to overtake wired Internet users by 2015. Mobile social media use will continue to soar, and platforms that are highly visual, intuitive, and made for on-the-go engagement will be a step ahead of the game. More than ever, users will expect an integrated and seamless mobile experience so more and more businesses will integrate mobile technologies into their web presence. As well, with the proliferation of new technology consumers are also going to become more comfortable making purchases using their mobile devices so you better get ready to meet your customers where they shop - which is anywhere they happen to be!
What are your predictions for 2013?