Social Media – Predictions for the rest of 2012 Part 2 (of 4) 

Part 2 of 4

Over the last few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s happening in the ever-changing social media space, its emerging sites and key trends.  In our last blog post we mentioned some of the emerging trends within social media. We’ll now examine other key trends that are having an effect on the industry and also the main sites that will see some dramatic changes over the coming year.

Social media strategies will take precedence in 2012

2012 will be the year most businesses start to turn the corner in embracing and understanding social media and using it more strategically.  The rise of social media in recent years has forced businesses to develop a presence on the most popular networks but they haven’t been using it to its full potential.

Having a controlled approach to social media with a clear strategy and action plans will ensure businesses are meeting their objectives through the social networks.  Most strategies will form a benchmark on which to tailor and manage their social media efforts but will be fairly incremental due to the changing nature of social media.

Along side social media strategies there has been an ever increasing demand for social media policies.  Although many organisations are aware of the benefits social media can bring to them, they are also aware that social media can present many risks.  Social Media Usage Policies present clarity and clear guidelines on the etiquette around social media.

Making employees aware of simple do’s and don’ts helps to manage activity, giving employees confidence in using social media and mitigate any potential risks that may be presented to the individual or the organisation if using social media incorrectly.

Advanced Analytics will be more readily available

A lot of what we call social media analytics is actually social media metrics, which consequently is a lot of data telling a story of the past with great data visualisations.  Advanced analytics are now being performed in large agencies, brands and social networking sites with data analysts and scientists with advanced degrees in statistics in computer science doing the work.

Image In 2012, there will be social media analytics companies realising more simplified versions of the analytical tools targeted for the smaller agencies and brands to perform similar, less complex analytical functions.

Facebook growth will generate unique Facebook marketing experiences

In 2012 Facebook will hit one billion users and it will draw a huge amount of hype around the network.  Such hype will mean businesses will need to be more creative and strategic with their fan activity.

Facebook is getting crowded, and those businesses/brands that create unique user experiences will stand out from the masses.  These experiences will step from more sophisticated, third-party app and expanded live video capabilities and greater flexibility with page customization will play a big part as fan engagement become the most vital components for Facebook success.

Competition for Google+ will rise

More competition is arising within the social networks and Google+ has one sole aim, to dominate the market.  The unique circles feature is breaking down the barriers to mixing work with pleasure signifying you can use on network for your social and business contacts.  It’s functionality also make it very easy to share content with more targeted audiences, but how successful will this new social networking site be?

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In order for Google+ to compete with the Big Guns it will try to add features similar to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and try to further develop its functionality.  Out of these, the social network that will come on top will be the one that listens to their users or in Facebook’s case, use its financial power to keep ahead of the competition…………. for now.

YouTube takes the Lead

A big prediction for social media can be boiled down into one word: ‘Video.’  YouTube is gone through some big changes recently and although the network is only six years old it has a lot in store for 2012.  Its most recent design layout changes look extremely familiar to Facebooks Live Feed function, initiating that YouTube wants to behave like a social networking site.

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The YouTube audiences will now have more fun, engagement and interaction while on YouTube.  The more activity you have and receive from your videos, the more opportunity your content gets viewed and go viral.  The network itself is becoming high intuitive by displaying relevant and related content in an efficient manner, as well as starting feuds with the big TV Networks as they blur the line separating ‘offline television’ and online entertainment.

This will lead to higher standards and expectations from the average YouTube viewer and leave those who are resistant to using video in the marketing behind.

…our next series of blog posts will examine what we can expect in the next 12 months and a few predictions on where we believe the emerging social media sites are heading.  Our next blog post will examine:

  • The rise and success of Pinterest