As is the pattern, with the start of the new year comes a raft of predictions for the upcoming year. Some will hit the mark and others will undoubtedly be off base. Others still will simply rehash predictions of yesteryear that never quite came to fruition.
Yesterday, top social media blog Social Media Examiner (it’s a great read if you’re new to the social space, or if you need some quick and dirty tactical advice) unleashed their own predicitions post, where 30 social media professionals shared their predictions for 2012.
Some are quite interesting and should provide small morsels to consider as you work to achieve your digital marketing goals for the year. Others are head scratchers, and some are just plane wrong.
Be sure to check out the full list for yourself, but here’s a quick analysis for those more pressed for time.
- Businesses consolidate social media activities – via Michael Stelzner
Absolutely true. Social resources are limited in most organizations and there simply isn’t enough manpower to properly cover dozens of different networks. To be successful, organizations have to switch from a broad and shallow approach to narrow and deep.
- Photo and video social networks will blossom – via Jay Baer
We already know that photo and video content performs best on social networks like Facebook, and experts have been saying for years how important video is to a brand’s digital strategy. This is an easy prediction. If it makes sense for your brand’s goals, absolutely take a stab using a site like Instagram.
- Businesses learn to choose the right channels – via Ryan Malone
Similar to Michael Stelzner’s point, this will happen. Social teams are strapped for resources and there’s only so much time to go around.
- More branded Facebook apps are on the way – via Janet Aronica
It will be a slow process for many, but this will absolutely happen. The recent stats on Open Graph Apps are too juicy to ignore. The thing to watch, however, is how Facebook works to tweak the Newsfeed algorithm as more application content is generated.
- Traditional marketing interweaves social media – via Tom Martin
Integration is where it’s at! Some of the most successful social campaigns I’ve been a part of were driven by multiple media channels.
- Businesses outsource content creation – via Nichole Kelly
I guess this depends on what exactly she means by outsourcing. A brand’s best storytellers are it’s own employees – outsource your content creation and you risk losing that authentic voice. There are better ways to accomplish this goal then simply handing off to a third party to execute.
- Rise of the media specialist – via Carla Dewing
In theory, I completely agree. To be a good digital strategist you at minimum should have a working knowledge of social, SEO, e-mail, coding, and other practice areas. But I do not think you should be expected to execute all knowledge areas at a high level. Smaller organizations and teams may be able to get away with a solid generalist, but at higher levels the skill required to execute properly is too great and a single individual can’t do it all. This is why when building a team one must consider the strengths of all the individuals and work to find complementary pieces.
- Strategy takes center stage for social media – via Jason Falls
Jason I think you’re an intelligent guy – but I know you’ve got better! Many in the industry have been saying this for years and this goal hasn’t changed. Some brands already understand this concept, and other’s are lagging. The date change won’t flip the insight switch for those who don’t get it yet. These kinds of focus shifts take time, and I expect this will still be an issue going into 2013 and beyond.
- Regularly creating unique content becomes essential – via Lewis Howes
Great tip! Really, this is essential to successful digital marketing. But it’s been essential for several years now, and it’s nothing new. If you’re not creating good, regular, and unique content for your brand then you’re not succeeding. It’s that simple.
My own predictions
- SEO takes a backseat
- Brands go 24/7 on social
- Facebook revamps brand pages
- Google+ revamps is promotions policy
With stronger and more sophisticated algorithms and the rise of modern, SEO friendly CMS systems, the need for dedicated SEO work will begin to decline. More and more, search engines are taking control from the website owner and placing into the hands of its users. Social data and user behavior are rising signals while keyword use, links and other traditional SEO metrics are on the decline.
Watch for brands with a customer service oriented social presence move closer towards providing 24/7 service on social channels.
Many in the industry have already predicated this, but I think this year we’ll see brand pages redesigned to look more like user profiles, as they have in the past.
As the network continues to grow and attract brands, look for Google+ to revise it’s current promotions policy to allow brands to run sweepstakes and contests within the network itself. For most brands, content alone won’t be enough to build the critical mass that it takes to make the network worth the time expenditure. This is one area where sweepstakes and promotions become a useful tool in a marketers toolbox. I’d expect Google to get pressure from some of their top brands to make this change.
What do you think? What’s in store for the digital professional in 2012?