5 Social Media Predictions for 2013
2012 brought many changes to the social media world, but it looks like 2013 may surprise us with new innovations and growth on the recent features. For marketers, it will become more important than ever to stay ahead and take full advantage of all the possibilities, as providing a fully integrated social experience will become the main goal for many brands as the media, advertising and social landscapes continue to grow.
1. Quality social content & visual marketing will be king
Content shouldn’t just be words for the sake of words, we all know that right? But what we have seen so far is the truth that many brands are still missing the opportunity in making it more personalised through not just interesting reads but visuals too.
I believe that in 2013 brands are going to spend more time trying to create relevant, engaging and educational content which will inspire users to share and spread the word. We may see more of white papers, webinars, static and animated infographics and inspiring visuals. Brand journalism is going to become a necessity not just a fancy feature.
As the connection between content, social and SEO will increase, companies are going to spend more time planning a strategic plan for their content. A recent Econsultancy report shows that in 2012 only 38% of surveyed companies had a content strategy in place.
We need to remember that social media users are only going to connect with those brands and companies who do not just support ‘stuff’ but convert it into a superb experience with cleverly established and planned social marketing.
2. Display advertising will evolve
I believe this year will bring some new features to advertising in the social media world. Marketers will have to come up with smarter and less intrusive forms of advertising to break the resentment users have towards traditional ads and banners. Instead we may see more features like Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. Even the newly launched Vimeo app may also support this idea with some interesting solutions. It is great to see that social advertising is evolving to become more user friendly which also means than when properly applied, content has the potential to become an ad.
We have seen already how much noise was generated by Facebook’s Exchange and Real Time Bidding (RTB), which brands can use to improve the effectiveness of their display advertising. I assume that Facebook is planning to put its stamp on 2013 with the launch of innovative features, which we already have had the pleasure to see with its new Graph Search. Let’s wait and see what the anticipated Ad Network, Facebook’s challenge to Google Adsense, can bring and how the concept of convergence between ads is going to develop.
3. More industries will see the potential in social media
Relationship-centric professions like finance, legal, accounting and medicine, are going to embrace social media to better meet expectations and improve the experience for the digitally connected consumer.
As we know, social media has seemingly limitless applications, which could become a support panel for those who suffer due to serious health conditions.
Relating with others with similar symptoms, being able to receive social support, treatments and beneficial information could help those who go through this hard time.
According to Fast Company, “in 2013, we’ll see more and more people connect to devices, share their data, and reach out to others, as social networking are three of the most prevalent factors revolutionizing health care.” Also social-networking sites like Patients Like Me or Cure Together will continue to grow as more personalized guidance seem to be high in demand by those who really need it.
4. Social media will be seen as working tool
According to Social Media Today ‘Office workers spend an average of 28 hours a week writing emails, searching for information and collaborating internally. Furthermore, 80 percent of Americans work “after hours,” equaling an extra day of work per week’. Surely this could be easily resolved by implementing social media management systems which can help and improve the conversations within a company. HootSuite is already embracing this trend with its HootSuite Conversation feature, allowing a collaborative approach to managing social media. But there are also other similar products like Sciomino, Tracky or Yammer.
5. And back to basics…. it is all about engagement!
We can’t deny that different social technologies have given us more options, but the most successful campaigns will always evolve around engagement. I believe that in 2013, more focus will be placed around community building rather than just selling. Social brands will invest more time and resources to perfect their social strategies and explore new ways of using social media as a megaphone, where consumers become marketers. Brand ambassadors will be more valued as they will become a big part of product and places recommendations with their own social connections and they will also help to gain feedback and extend marketing resources
Without a doubt, we all have been pulled further into the social media phenomenon and lost countless hours on the way. But what we may have seen is the change in our interests and tendency to become more selective in who we follow and what we want to listen to. That is why 2013 will become a year of social creativity where businesses are going to work hard in order to grab users attention – and for this, content will be key.
What do you expect to see in 2013 and where do you think social media will take us? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!