The three biggest social media trends for 2013

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Social media marketing expert Ian Gibbins discusses what social media trends will be hot in 2013.

When we look back on 2011/12 it is clear that businesses were just dipping their toes in the water and experimenting with social media marketing. They were creating Facebook and Twitter pages and other social network profiles. Many could see the importance of building brand awareness and credibility through having an effective social media presence but were also getting to grips with to use social media to benefit their business.
 
As we approach 2013, companies will no longer have a choice whether to have a presence on social media or not, it will be a necessity and an integral part of the business.
 
As social media becomes more popular, search engine algorithms have shifted to place more weight on social media. The number of people, who retweet your content or the traffic driven to your website via social media, certainly determines where you rank within the search engines.
 
Businesses are therefore starting to realise that their business needs social media and with a strategic plan in place and used to market a business to maximum effect.
 
So what will the coming year hold for your social media campaign? Here are my three predicted trends for how social media will evolve in 2013.
 
1.  A holistic approach and more strategic planning due to competitors' social media efforts
 
In 2013 companies will expect to begin achieving positive returns from their efforts. However, we need to think more about how we interpret the results we achieve, and how we can make good use of them in the future.
 
The coming year will see the need for an integrated strategy and plan. It will need to be more targeted than before. Content still needs to be the major priority, but needs to be more relevant, more valuable and more effective than previous years. Expect the competition to increase their activity, so you need to think about how to up your game.
 
More employees than ever before will be coming to the fore to promote their companies across social media by taking a more active role. This does not mean the death of social media managers as we know it – it spells more of a holistic approach – with many employees also taking charge of social media activity. With this in mind social media activity will need to be monitored closely within businesses to ensure total compliance.  So expect to see a rise in companies employing tracking facilities and built-in archiving as options to control activity.
 
2.  Pinterest and Instagram will grow
 
Expect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to continue to dominate the social media landscape. However ignore platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram at your peril. These 'new kids on the block' will continue to flourish at an increasing rate as the power of visual interaction becomes increasingly popular. Bear in mind that Instagram already has more mobile users than Twitter. These four dominant social networks as we know are constantly evolving. They need to invent new, innovative ways to keep interest within the network and keep up with the competition as new platforms are emerging on what seems a daily basis. As an example, Facebook Gifts will certainly become more prevalent. This enables visitors to purchase real gifts for friends; simply pick out your gift, add a message and then the gift is shipped and delivered.
 
3.  Social media will be used to provide instant feedback as mobile marketing grows
 
As mobile marketing continues to grow, an increasing number of companies will develop their 2013 social media strategies around mobile integration and reap the benefits. There will be even more mobile options for your customers as they will expect their activity to be optimized for social sharing. After all, around 60% of Twitter users access the network through a mobile device and more than half of all the activity on Google+ is also through a mobile. 40% of all social media users access social media content from their mobile device, so it’s no surprise that mobile and video are the two hottest growth areas in marketing and therefore cannot be ignored.
 
With this in mind, just consider how social media is increasingly being used to provide instant feedback as real time communication and instant messaging becomes commonplace. Expect to see this evolve in more detail through Social TV. This will allow viewers of programmes to share and comment during air time. This interaction strategy ensures clients and consumers engage with the content being delivered.
 
There has never been a better time for business owners to discover, explore and harness these tools provided for us on the social networks and promote our businesses. 2013 will no doubt prove to be an exciting yet definitive year for the many businesses interacting across social media.
 
Ian Gibbins is author of 'The New Guide to Social Media Profits' and founder of Social Media Simplicity, an online social media training course.
Richard Lane's picture

Great post

I think these three trends are spot on. You can already see evidence of cmpanies taking more care with their spcial media activity and beng more clever in the way they appraoch interaction and relationship building on social media. Instagram is also growing rapidly and I can see this being up there with Twitter and Facebook by the end of the year. 

Richard Lane, director at durhamlane, specialising in IT sales training and sales coaching.

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