When it comes to most technical systems, there is so much change in one year, that it can be a bit tricky to predict what the next year will bring. Social media is no different. While there are a number of trends that will continue on from last year, there are going to be some surprises along the way too. What we can do however is take our best guess based on what's going on right now.
Social goes mobile
The way people view information is changing thanks to increasing adoption of tablets and mobile devices. The adoption rate is forecasted to rise in 2013, with the number of users who view your content on mobile devices soon overtaking those using a more traditional browser.
Because of this, the use of web technology that resizes text, images and other content to any screen size, will become even more popular. What this means for social media managers is that you will need to keep mobile users in mind when developing content and ensure it can be easily viewed on tablets and smartphones.
Visual marketing is the use of video, images, infographics, etc. to get your message across to your target audience. The key to this type of marketing is that it enhances brand memory, recall and identity.
Social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, are perfect platforms that, with effective use, can create an awareness that resonates with target groups, creating increased engagement.
While this marketing concept isn't new, you can expect to see more companies focusing on developing more content that's visual in nature throughout the next year and beyond.
Content marketing (B2B)
When it comes to B2B marketing on social platforms, companies have been using content as the main brand driver. This takes many forms, including: Papers, ebooks, infographics, webinars, etc. For example, infographics have proven to be valuable tools in increasing brand awareness. Most companies are well aware of this and it's hard to find a business that doesn't have some kind of content on their website.
In 2013, you can expect to see many enterprises turning to social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, etc. to develop and share content. Couple this with an increase in visual content and there will be an increased trend for smart marketers to develop engaging posts that are also visually appealing.
Google+ is a Google must
Google is playing the long game with it's social media platform, Google+. While it currently isn't anywhere near as popular as Facebook, Google is making changes to the platform and turning the service into a central hub for managing your online presence - when it comes to Google that is.
Last year, Google rolled out a number of services, such as Local, into Google+. This forced businesses with a Google presence to use this service to manage it. This trend will likely continue over the next few years, with the slow release of valuable services that are exclusively for Google+ users and force users to switch to them.
In other words, for companies using Google's services: Google+ is a Google must.
Facebook remains king. For now!
Despite a disappointing IPO last year, Facebook is still #1 when it comes to social media. This likely won't change in the near future. Facebook is well aware of this and will continue to take steps to keep users.
We can expect Facebook to introduce a premium version of Pages, along with increasingly powerful analytics tools. Alongside this, their mobile advertising service will likely mature into a viable business option. What this means for businesses is that they will need to keep on top of these offerings and figure out how to best leverage their content.
These are just five social media trends for the coming year. Have you identified any more? What do you think will be the biggest change to social media in 2013? We're interested to hear your thoughts.