- Greater interconnections between different media. Particularly, the internet and TV will become far more interlinked. Television will increasingly become a social experience e.g. more TV programme profiles, more voting for contests on TV programmes on Twitter, etc. Apple is set to create TV sets. Also, offline marketing literature will increasingly contain their social media details.
- Tablets and smartphones will further grow in popularity. New tablets will enter into the market and consumers will increase their usage of these devices. More businesses will make their sites mobile. Social media traffic will increasingly come from tablets and phones, surpassing their traffic from other devices.
- Engaging in social media has, and will, become even more vital – for consumers and businesses alike. It will continue to become even more engrained in the lives of consumers as well as spreading across the entire business culture of organisations. Social media will cease to be side-lined and confined to the marketing department. It will increasingly be integrated into the broader business strategy and across departments.
- British firms are projected to increase their social spending. 87% mid-to-large-sized British firms are forecast to maintain or increase social media spending in 2012. This is not surprising considering social media enables companies to get closer to their customers and is a cost effective way to improve company reputation. In fact, businesses have found this out for themselves in 2011. With increased investment in social media, companies will become more results-orientated and will increasingly measure their ROI from this medium.
- A more social approach to solving business problems. There will be more opportunities for consumers to get involved in product development.
- Social commerce will gain more momentum. With enhanced consumer perceptions, sales from this channel will grow.
- More branded content on social media networks.
- Improved search functions on Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
- Twitter will become even more popular amongst businesses and consumers.
- Google + is set to grow significantly in 2012.
- Facebook will go public and will create something innovative and effective in its effort to maintain dominance over the social media networks. It will be interesting to see how users react – many of their changes in 2011 weren’t received well.
- Social entertainment will become more mainstream. There is certainly demand for these platforms.
- The continuation of digital influence. But 2012 will be less about consumer players like Klout and more about the tools professionals use to ‘score’ digital influence.
- The increased integration of game-like qualities into social apps and into other sectors e.g. HR.
- The growing significance and spread of word-of-mouth. Especially as, globally, more and more people become digitally connected, and word-of-mouth is highly trusted and credible brand promotion. So expect more sharing buttons.
- Group buying sites will level off.
- More B2B companies will engage in social media and will increase their followers.
[pullquote]Overall, projections for social media in 2012 have important implications that businesses must consider in terms of competitor actions and their own strategies. [/pullquote]New innovations are expected, including the launch of new platforms, continuing evolutions on existing platforms, and growing extension onto new devices. New consumer trends and demands are anticipated. Social media will continue to become more mature and sophisticated in 2012, with a greater focus on data analytics and integration. But we can also expect more of what we saw in 2011: Social media will continue to be on the up – It is expected to expand, extend and develop, growing in popularity and usage. It will become even more integral to consumer behaviour and company strategy.
How will you be using social media in 2012? What do you think we can expect to see? Do you disagree with any of the projected trends I’ve listed above? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts
*image credited to Rob Cottingham, http://robcottingham.ca/
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