2012 was a great year for social media – and I believe 2013 might just be even better!
Here are my predictions:
1. Mobile Friendly
People cannot be restricted to use social networks just on their computers. After all, we are all busy, constantly on the run and we have a small computer that we can’t live without in our pockets, at all times. It’s no secret how many people use Facebook, Twitter and the like on their smartphones every day. Many people actually prefer Facebook when communicating with their friends to texting and regular calls. Also, one of the most popular social networks out there, Instagram, with over 100 million users, is a smartphone-only based app.
With more and more people converting to smartphones, we can expect that 2013 will be even more mobile than 2012. After all, smartphones are rapidly becoming the new “regular” mobile phones, as they are becoming more affordable and they seem to be indispensable to everyday life. There are more than 1 billion active smartphone users over the world – and that number is consistently growing! Furthermore, a study made by Nielsen and NM Incite found that a staggering 46% of all social media users use their smartphones to access their favorite social networks and 16% use their tablets for the same reason.
More and more WordPress themes are now available that are mobile friendly too. I also think that there will be a surge of small businesses creating apps for their sites. (Something I’m planning on doing for Socialable in the next couple of months). Particularly as you no longer need to rely on expensive developers and can easily create your own apps using sites such as appmakr, mippin or MobileAppLoader.
Photos and videos are a great way to get more engagement on social platforms. Just think of how many people have viewed, shared and commented on Psy’s Gangnam Style (by the way – is it ever going to end??). And how about the hundreds of millions of people that use Instagram, Pinterest and other similar social apps?
I personally believe that the imagery trend will not only continue, but also grow in 2013. Another clear sign that this might happen is the fact that Facebook bought Instagram last summer for a staggering US $1 billion! (Let’s not even talk about their T&C’s fiasco! – but they do say that all publicity is good!) They clearly see some great potential in the relatively small (at least compared to the mother-company) social network.
Content is king, and I’ve said it time and time again. Every business out there has so many competitors which are invading consumers’ ears and eyes with so much information that it becomes almost impossible to stand out in the crowd. And that is where content comes in.
The more interesting, engaging, relevant and up-to-date a businesses’ content is, the better their chances are of reaching more people and also of retaining more customers. And businesses are increasingly learning this. I’m convinced that in 2013 not only will businesses continue to offer content like in previous years, but also they will make an effort to offer better content and more of it.
Businesses will have to embrace content marketing in 2013 if they want to at least keep afloat!
4. Websites – the new magazines?
I’ve already highlighted how important content is for the success of any business that has some form of online presence. And I think this trend could lead to a new business model that has been slowly emerging in the past few years.
Businesses are and will be offering so much up-to-date, interesting content on their websites, that they will probably end up looking like proper magazines. People will probably start coming to such websites to get their news and find out more about different subjects. I’m not saying that The Times and Forbes will simply die out – just that people will come to businesses’ websites to get more information, in addition to ‘regular’ online magazines and news websites.
There is already so much information out there, and so many businesses fighting over the same people! Unfortunately, I believe 2013 will be even worse: there will be even more “noise” on the web, particularly on social networks, and it will become that much harder for businesses to stand out!
It won’t be easy for the 2013 business to come up with innovative ways to capture its audiences’ attention. It will have to be very creative if there is any chance of standing out between other businesses that are trying just as hard, and trying to be just as creative.
6. Better tools for businesses?
As more and more businesses are using social media as part of their marketing campaigns, better tools will come out to help them with their efforts. Social networks will probably acquire more tools this year to make it easier for businesses to monitor, schedule and analyze without having to go to other websites.
Facebook, for example, is offering a premium version of Facebook Pages in 2013 and they have also acquired analytical tool Threadsy now named Swaylo). I’m sure that other social networks will follow Facebook’s lead this year.
On the other hand, I have to say I kind of wish all of the social influence tools, such as Klout, will die out this year! I’m not saying that I believe they will disappear. These types of “social influence” tools are so popular, but I believe they offer almost no real value. They are just a numbers game which don’t offer you a true insight into your online influence. That said they have improved in the last 12 months but they still have a long way to go to truly measuring one’s influence.
7. More resources spent on social media?
I still find it shocking that so many businesses aren’t using Social Media effectively. Businesses now have enough proof that social networks are here to stay. The ones we use now might not exist in 5 years, but others will definitely take their place. Networking online and sharing are the very essence of the Internet.
Social media can also prove to be less expensive than other, more traditional forms of marketing, which is another great plus for small businesses.
Because of that, I believe businesses will pay more money and spend more time on learning how to use social media efficiently. People will want more badly than ever to see a financial return from their use of social media so they will probably be much more ruthless in their way to getting results.
8. Less spamming, but more ads?
I think there might be a chance that we will see less spamming this year. However, we will almost surely see more ads. Social networks are supposed to be free, after all. But the companies behind them need employees and require people to work full time, which in turn requires funds. Plus, of course, they want lots of money, like we all do. Not to mention they need more revenue in order to keep their shareholders happy.
This is good news for businesses however, as advertising on social networks can be quite inexpensive and extremely well targeted. (That said last week I turned 40 and am now seeing ads on Facebook for Botox! which clearly shows that they don’t get it right every time!!) Social networks are doing their best to make it easier and more effective for companies to advertise on their sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) so I predict that this year will give us more ads than ever on social networks.
Last year, Facebook started a new feature called “promoted posts” that would help businesses get their content into more news feeds than they normally would. For a fee, of course. Great news? Not necessarily, as it seems that Facebook is deliberately driving down traffic from fan pages that don’t use this feature. Unfortunately I think we will be seeing a lot more of this in 2013, as Facebook is trying to bring in more revenue in order to please its shareholders. If it comes out that Facebook is doing this deliberately however it could really upset brands, and rightfully so.
What changes do you think 2013 will bring in social media? Do you agree with my predictions? Please leave your comments below, as I would love to hear your thoughts!
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