The truth is, you cannot really predict what will happen next week in social media, but nonetheless here are 12 predictions and thoughts we have going into 2012.
1. Content is (still) King - Over the past few years we’ve seen brands become their own publishers and content curators. The trend will continue in 2012, and brands will find more and more ways to integrate content with commerce and their communities. Brands with the most authentic, engaging, integrated, and useful content will find the most success. Those who tumbl just to tumbl will not find the digital community they hoped to build.
2. Digital Punch Cards in the form of Recommendations and Rewards - Have you noticed when you “like” pages on Facebook now you are offered the ability to recommend that brand to all of your friends? This feature and digital recommendation trend around social media will evolve in 2012, and brands, small businesses in particular will find a way to take advantage of it. Surprise and delight your fans perhaps? The key for brands will be to thank the audience they’ve accumulated and authentically encourage them to digitally recommend them to other friends. No need to carry those buy 40 get 1 free yogurt punch cards!
3. Brands will try to take advantage of Pinterest, and many will fail. – As any pinner knows, Pinterest is amazing for finding pretty things, new recipes, new looks, and overall inspiration. And many bloggers know that Pinterest drives a ton of traffic to their blogs. Brands are paying attention to this trend, but have not yet discovered how to use Pinterest as a proactive social media channel. 2012 will be the year of Pinterest for brands, “Like” will be replaced by many with “Pin it”.
4. Tumblr will roll out metrics (hopefully). – Early brand adopters of Tumblr have since voiced their frustration with the company’s business practices and its lack of an analytics dashboard. In 2012, Tumblr will should roll out some metrics, and/or brands will continue to devote more of their efforts to Facebook with its newer Tumblr-esque visual and re-sharing properties.
I heart glitterguide.tumblr.com
5. The 2012 Elections will be Social - If the 2012 election stays on trend with the 2008 election, increasing the votes cast by a demographic of younger voters, politicians will need to socialize. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 83% of Internet users ages 18-29 use social networking sites, and 65% of adults use social networking sites, most of whom form opinions of restaurants, styles, and even politics amongst friends. Notice, even Obama uses F-commerce (Facebook commerce).
6. Less is More. As brands and social gurus continue to refine metrics, we believe 2012 will simplify the actions of brands and their respective social communities. Instead of being spread across multiple channels and being a little bit effective in each, they will find the channel(s) that is best helping them achieve their marketing goals, and spend less time with all the other noise.
7. Your web experience will become more responsive – Everything you experience online with your iPhone, iPad and computer will be optimized for that platform more and more. As more shoppers do their research with mobile, companies will invest more dollars enhancing those handheld experiences, and allowing you to quickly share that experience with all of your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
8. Social will continue to integrate with all arms of marketing. – Social media will be painted on all digital and printed collateral, and more CMO’s will be asking how social media is woven into their overall objectives. Remember Dodge’s Find a Journey YouTube campaign where they hid 3 cars throughout America? The big brands are on board already, small to mid-size businesses will follow suit in 2012.
9. Twitter will be less social - Gasp I know! As Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and other niche communities continue to drive traffic and awareness to brands in 2012, Twitter just may become more and more what it really is. A place for quick information, news dissemination, and networking with like minds. Unless brands use Twitter as an in the moment customer service channel, or have a robust social media team, we think brands will devote less time and energy to the channel in respect to bandwidth and ROI.
10. The Olympics will be digital – In 2010, the Winter Olympics scratched the surface with fans experiencing the games through social media. Brands will roll out the red carpet for bloggers and fans to interact with them socially during the London games. Instagram will probably tell a pretty amazing story of the games.
11. Spotify will take over the world – Well maybe not the world, but it will definitely gain a serious amount of subscribers and go toe to toe with Pandora. There really is nothing like having a best friend miles away create a playlist for you and keep your tunes up to date. Not to mention your ability to see what all your friends are listening to constantly on Facebook. More companies and brands will try to find ways to follow Spotify’s lead in genuinely making their user’s experience “sharable”.
12. We can “like” Emails – This is really more of a wish of ours than a prediction. Although we do think more brands should pay attention to their email strategy and how it integrates with their social media efforts. We would LOVE if you had the ability to “like” an email instead of having to reply with “thanks”, “sounds good”, or the other. Could you imagine the time and amount of emails you could save if you just had to “like” it to send your “I got it and have read it all” message?
What do you think will happen within the realm of social media in 2012?