Congratulations: If you’re reading this, you’ve made it through the Mayan Apocalypse unscathed! Now that we no longer have to worry about horsemen, eternal hellfire, or brain-eating zombies knocking down our doors, it’s time to start focusing on the new year and all it holds in store for us. Because what’s more fun than predicting trends for the upcoming year?!
While it’s fun to imagine what the zaniest celebrity baby name will be (Sunshine? Candlewick? Poopdeck?), or to speculate on whether there will be a food deemed majestic enough to dislodge bacon from its king-of-everything throne (my money’s on cheese!), we are going to focus on social media because, hey, it’s what we do.
Here are five big predictions from the social media experts on what we should expect in the coming year:
- Content Creation Becomes Shareworthy Content Creation — “An increasing number of marketers have embraced the idea that they need to be producing content as a cornerstone of their marketing and social media strategy. They know they have to produce a blog, for example, or a podcast or video series or ebooks, and so on. But in 2013, they’ll be focusing increasingly on not just creating content — but in creating content worth sharing. Creating relevant, enjoyable, quality content that inspires your prospects and customers to share it means marketers reach not just their own audience, but they’ll reach their audience’s audience as well. And that’s what will drive business growth.” — Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
- 2013 Will be the Real Deal “Year of Mobile” — “Some folks might be sick of hearing about the ever-imminent upsurge in mobile, but I’m banking on 2013 as really, finally the year of mobile. Consumers are spending more time and more money on their mobile devices than ever before. The catch is that mobile still means too many things to too many people. Brands, publishers and consumers all need it to accomplish different things. Until we see some convergence on the objectives of these key stakeholder groups, mobile will struggle to reach its full potential.” — Jonathan Gardner, Director of Communications at Vibrant Media.
- Social Media Will Transcend Marketing — “Last year, McKinsey published a report saying that social technologies stand to unlock $1.3 trillion in business value. Even more shocking: most of those savings come from boosting office productivity.In other words, social media isn’t a time-waster in the office – it’s a potential productivity tool. HR departments can use social to streamline the application process. Sales teams can identify clients and pursue leads. R&D can brainstorm in collaborative ways that are simply not possible via email. The key lies in next-generation internal social networks, where entire companies can interact and engage behind the firewall. Our own product, HootSuite Conversations, has emerged as a pioneer, allowing companies to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos.” — Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite
- The Expansion of Local Search — “In 2007, Google made a calculated shift towards providing searchers with locally relevant search results. The majority of searches at the time were found to actually be seeking local results, so Google decided to service the need. This shift reinvented the way people search and the way marketers approach their marketing strategies. In 2012, Google made the switch from Google Places to Google+ Local. 2013 will see the expansion and further implementation of search engine updates to better serve the demand for local results. In 2013, companies will also expand their local search marketing efforts in an attempt to capture as much local market share for their products and services as possible.” — Chris Marentis, CEO of Surefire Social
- Gamification Will Drive Customer Engagement — “There are gameified applications for saving energy, for chores around the house, and for payment. Wait, paying for goods is now a game? With an app like LevelUp, it becomes one. It also becomes a method to discover new businesses around you and unlock rewards and discounts at businesses. Rewarding loyalty to the business and the app plus exploration, we should be seeing a lot more of these type of apps for all types of businesses. Things will get even more targeted as larger businesses begin to transfer their loyalty programs to programs such as these.” — Ike Brooker, VP of Creative Services at Likeable Media
What trends are you noticing out there that you expect to see continue or grow in the new year? Share your thoughts in the comments.