In 2012, some very significant social media events happened which have paved the path for some exciting trends in 2013.
Pinterest became the darling of the social media set, especially the ladies and fashionistas.
Twitter continued to grow after being welcomed into the Apple fold with its inclusion in the mobile operating system on its iPhones.
Google+ continued to grow and with 5 billion “+1″ buttons being clicked on every day and with over 400 million users its success makes Google’s investment of over half a billion dollars in the social network platform look like a good decision.
LinkedIn decided its user interface needed a makeover and re-designed its website to increase its social attractiveness.
So what social media trends will we need to keep an eye on as we move through 2013 to ensure our marketing and communication is effective?
#1. Social content is the “new” king
Content has become mainstream as the foundation and cornerstone of social media marketing effort. Google has significantly changed the game by adding the social signals of the “+1” button with its Google+ platform as an important part of determining what content to serve up and how it is indexed so it appears higher in search results.
Expect to see more content marketing tools, tactics and strategies that accept the fact that social, search and content are increasingly integrated and intertwined.
Content is still king, but the shiny social media toys distracted us for a while from the importance of building content rich multi-media digital assets.
#2. Social at scale
Most people started to realize that despite the social networks being free to use, the resources required to play in the social media sandpit are substantial and can be expensive. Sourcing and creating content, publishing it and managing it are time consuming and require skills beyond finding interns who will work for free.
The big players are emerging such as Adobe Social, Exact Target and Salesforce.com (with its Radian 6 and Buddy Media acquisitions) realized doing social media at scale requires enterprise class platforms. They are providing the tools and platforms to this within the enterprise.
Expect to see this space rapidly evolve this year.
#3. 140 characters will become cooler
Twitter has captured the imagination of the younger generation and is no longer the enigma. It is indeed the new black, and brands will be building focused Twitter tribes that extend and amplify their reach.
Twitter doesn’t filter its stream and as Facebook continues to censor your visible content to their “pages” fans, Twitter is starting to look more attractive. So expect brands to add to the social media toolkit a more vibrant and focused attention on Twitter.
You cannot ignore Twitter anymore in 2013.
#4. The “social dominatrix” continues its grip
Facebook will continue to strengthen its grip as the dominating and the de facto social network of choice as it builds mobile advertising and allows integration with apps and other platforms. Instagram will evolve to provide a means to mobile advertising for Facebook.
Despite the looming Google+ juggernaut, Facebook will continue to thrive. The platforms in one sense do not compete, but complement.
You will need to get smarter at integrating Facebook commerce, build fans and grow your email list via custom tabs that offer exclusive content when liked. So continue to keep an eye on developments with Facebook this year so that your marketing doesn’t become stale.
#5. Visual as a social media weapon of mass destruction
Pinterest went from just being a fun way to share images, to a serious traffic source and sales referrer for online stores. Pinterest, in some cases, surpasses Facebook as a social media platform that creates real revenue and hard cash.
The visual social web is still rapidly evolving and is impacting web design interfaces and platforms. Sites such as Airbnb are offering Pinterest inspired platforms with compelling imagery that bypass traditional accomodation sites and also taps into the power of the social networks. Renting that spare room, bungalow or cottage has never been easier!
Designing your website, blog and online stores now needs to include strong, large and high definition photos and images that are easy to share. Don’t ignore the use of images and visuals in your content creation and design.
#6. Social and mobile
Designing and creating content for a social mobile web is becoming important as people find and consume information on tablets and smart phones. Responsive web technology that re-sizes text and images to fit any screen is becoming the norm with new websites.
As tablets are replacing magazines on your coffee table, make sure that your site design and content is able to be viewed on mobile so that TV inspired browsing or buying works seamlessly.
What about you?
Are any of these trends on your marketing event horizon? Is your current website, blog or online store able to be viewed on mobile platforms?
Have you secured your Pinterest name and account?
Are you still ignoring Twitter, hoping it will go away?
What trend intrigues you and how can you tap into that in 2013 that grows your business?
Look forward to reading your stories in the comments below.
Want to learn how to create contagious content and market it with social media?
My book – Blogging the Smart Way ìHow to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media – will show you how.