What does 2013 have in store for social media? The Sociality Squared team shares their predictions.
After the confetti is swept, holiday decorations are down and the promise of longer days sets in, we come to the realization that – holy cow – 2013 is in full swing! We saw a lot of changes last year, including the increasing importance of adding mobile to the marketing mix, Instagram sale, Facebook Global Pages and the rise in popularity of Pinterest. What will 2013 hold? There's no need to look into a crystal ball when you have access to some of the best social media marketers we know: the Sociality Squared team! Read on for our social media predictions for 2013.
- “Visual Marketers” is the newest buzzword in social media and you'll increasingly hear the term more in 2013. What pops the most and generates the highest engagement in the Facebook News Feed? Images. What is so enticing about Pinterest, Tumblr and the (new) Myspace? They're all pretty – urr, visually and aesthetically appealing!
- Images, images, images. 2013 will see the rise of two predominate things is social media: mobile and images. Not surprising, the two go hand-in-hand. If you're a community manager or brand marketer, you should be thinking MOBILE and VISUALLY when it comes to social media marketing and communication. Nothing conveys a message faster and more universally than an image, especially as screen real estate gets smaller and smaller. Go high res, big and beautiful or go home (gone are the days when iPhone images are the staple for “grassroots” social media marketing).
- Emerging and established platforms that are image-driven will continue to rise IF they play their hands well: Myspace (get users); Pinterest (innovate more); Flickr (pray Marissa Mayer has a plan); Instagram (be more brand-friendly); Twitter (have option for users to select default feed to image-view in tweets); Facebook (keep your eye on the ball: user engagement not stockholders); G+ (you've lasted longer than Wave and Buzz…maybe there's hope for you yet!).
- Increase in mobile advertising. The demand for mobile advertising will grow significantly and major Facebook brands are already implementing. The need for mobile ads promoting Pages appear to perform 3x better than desktop Page ads. Studies from AdParlor and Miso showed Facebook mobile app install ads that drive people to the app stores were performing well for developers, delivering higher click-through rates. Facebook will stay at the forefront by improving the design and staying fresh so consumers don't tune out.
- Shift to more native advertising. This involves sponsored content that is designed to appear along with a publications' regular content, adopting the same look and feel as the website or blog it's placed in. This is meant to offer additional meaning or information beyond the scope of a traditional ad, which consumer have grown to distrust and/or ignore. Twitter's Promoted Tweets and Facebook's Sponsored Stories fall under the native advertising umbrella. Advertisers need to take advantage of this as a way to revitalize how people see ads. Better reputation for ads = better ad performance.
- Marketers are finally beginning to recognize that consumers and their individual networks drive the conversation on social media. Brands have been approaching social media as they’ve done in advertising, PR and other marketing functions – from the top down, pushing out their own content. This is not working for them, and instead there is a realization of a new paradigm that puts the consumer at the top of the ‘engagement pyramid’ leading the conversation rather than being on the receiving end.
- Memes are gaining popularity in the social media world. Marketers are finding effective ways to insert their brands into popular online conversations and gain some press at the same time. (e.g. PBS purchased the keyword “Big Bird” on Twitter after Mitt Romney said that he wanted to end government funding to PBS in the first presidential debate; Obama campaign responded to the Clint Eastwood “Invisible Obama” routine from the Republican National Convention by tweeting pictures of a chair (showing the back of Obama’s head) marked “the President” with the caption, “This seat’s taken.”
- It’s much easier to view a video on a mobile device then to have to use your finger to scroll across lines of text. It has also been found that people click on and view videos in e-newsletters and on websites more so than images or copy. So, brands (for profit and non-profit) are using videos more and more to get their messages across to their audiences. They’re using video to thank people in elaborate ways, educate viewers about products and services and engage their own staff of professionals, volunteers and donors.
- Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” is becoming a popular promotional tool for social media marketers. Not only does it allow people to interact in live online conversations, but the virility of the conversations are reinforced by participants voting on the platform. Many celebs are using AMA’s to interact with their audiences, driving people to websites, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, YouTube channels and even influencing the purchase of tickets to concerts and attractions.
Tia Marie Kemp
- The new.myspace will come of age. As predicted by a couple others, I see the New Myspace really blooming this year, as long as people migrate to the site. It will still be musician friendly, but be discovered as a great tool for a variety of artists and causes tied to them. Connecting through other sites like Facebook will really push the remodeled site into the view of mainstream social media users, unlike sites such as Reverbnation. There will be a learning curve for social marketers, however, I think by the end of the year the New Facebook will be going strong and not only a part of nostalgia or independent music.
- With the increased use of Facebook Causes and several national tragedies last year, I see 2013 as the year people will start to harness more of the “do good” power that social media has to offer. Whether that means connecting and organizing people to help clean up after a horrible hurricane or start a movement for change, we will see increased activity of this sort along with increased attention. People only have so much time and money to donate, so social media marketers will really need to step it up to compete for resources to do social good.
- Social media is fragmenting into vastly different formats, forming unique communities and ways of interacting, regardless of subject matter. This trend will continue in 2013. People do not have time to digest everything, so they are relying more heavily on curators for the kinds of content they care about. Increasingly, they are also choosing which social media communities serve up that content just the way they like it — pinboards, tumblrs, tweets — and they are engaging there more exclusively. This means different audiences in different social communities, with less overlap than we see today. Brands need to know how to use different social media tools, but they also need to understand where their customers are likely to be.
- In 2013 we'll see the public grow more savvy about privacy in social media: how much information they share, who's collecting it, and what control they really have over it. The proliferation of Facebook's Open Graph shows that companies are eager to use customer data to foster immediate kinds of engagement. However, several high-profile foibles at the end of 2012, including a communications misstep by Instagram, show there is still a lack of understanding about how customer information can be used for profit. Brands will need to be smarter about what data they collect and why collect it, and may need to justify it publicly. There are also increasingly urgent implications for copyright law and data security.
- Emphasis on everything being mobile friendly! People will continue to look at FB, Twitter, etc. more and more from their mobile devices and these platforms will need to continue to become more mobile friendly. Marketers will also need to make sure promos, links, etc. work on mobile devices. (saw a little bit of this in '12 and think it will continue)
- Social media platforms as a tool for social justice/spreading news stories. Right now there is a horrible rape case that is affecting my hometown and EVERYTHING has blown up because of social media. A hashtag has been formed #oprollredroll. Through Twitter, Roseanne Barr has gotten involved, CNN has come to Steubenville and it made HuffPo because of reaching out to these people/organizations through SM. There's even a dedicated Facebook group that has been organized for protests, news, etc. I think social media will bring light and attention to more news stories like this that most people would never hear of otherwise. News stories will go viral more than ever.
- Negative of social media – putting content on that will get you criminally charged. People posting lude and illegal acts on Twitter, FB, etc and authorities getting involved. (see #2). Interesting how this all affects the legal system and what can be used as evidence…
- I definitely see more companies utilizing Pinterest in unique ways (giveaways, board sharing, etc.). I also think that over 2013, they will make Pinterest more user-friendly (we've already seen this with the addition of “secret boards” recently). I'm also hoping to see Pinterest expand its user-ship to more men and “alternative” folks (enough with the cutesy home decor, DIY & wedding pins! Even though I do love some of it…).
- Content marketing will be even MORE important in 2013 than it was in 2012. The longer people use Facebook and other SM channels, the better they get at filtering through the “junk content” that doesn't really matter to them. Businesses will need to make a special effort to publish lots of engaging and valuable content in 2013 to stay present in their fan's news-feeds going forward.
- Google will shake the industry up this year. Whether that means buying a major social networking site, making big changes to G+, or launching their own version of Twitter, Google will do something to increase their market share in social media on their quest to take over the world in 2013.
- “Gangnam Style 2” will be the #1 viral video in 2013.
- Instagram and Pinterest will both grow this year. The number of photos uploaded to the internet continues to increase each year, and 2013 will be no different.
The predictions are in. It's going to be fun to see what comes to fruition this year. Social media marketers should keep a finger on the pulse of these forecasts, since they're warm now and only likely to heat up throughout the year! Be sure to check back for the latest developments.