Can you believe it? It’s already that time of year when we look into our crystal ball and predict what’s to come in 2012. So sit back, relax, and let me tell you the future for…. social media.
#1 Social Media Will Be More Scientific
With more than 200 social media analytic tools popping up, it’s not a surprise that in 2012 we will have more data than we will know what to do with. Calling all statisticians, mathematicians, and technology experts! Social Media needs your help.
#2 Companies Will Work To Tie Social Media Efforts Back To Business Goals
No longer is Social Media going to be full of rainbows, unicorns, and puppy dogs. In 2012 more and more businesses are going to focus on actual business goals and how to achieve them using social media. For example, metrics like Facebook “Likes” or Twitter “RTs” are simply not going to be good enough for business owners. Instead they will have a business goal of increasing the percentage of customers buying their product. This business goal translates into a social media metric -the redemption rate of a social media coupon.
#3 Social Television Meets Regular Television
A bill has just passed in the House of Representatives to allow a new Netflix application on Facebook. This new Netflix app would automatically let your friends know what shows or movies you are enjoying. I’m excited about this new convergence of entertainment and social media. But at the same time, I worry my friends might judge me when they see me (actually my kids) watching yet another episode of Dragon Tails.
It seems like Apple will launch a new product or service that involves television. Also a service called GetGlue allows users to check in to their favorite television shows, movies, and more. You can see what your friends are watching on TV and find other shows based on your interests.
#4 Better Images
With images becoming more prominent on Twitter and Facebook, you will see more and better images in 2012. Instead of just writing a simple status update, businesses will realize they will get more attention if they post a picture instead.
Also, a fairly new website called Pinterest says everything with pictures. So it’s time to improve your images and make them stand out.
#5 Social Media Continues To Play A Bigger Role In Search
Google recently made some tweaks to their search algorithm. It now returns more timely and recently published content in the search results. This will continue to grow even more important in 2012 especially now with the integration of Google+.
#6 More Company Ambassadors
Social Media is making it easier for companies to find and reward their biggest fans. In 2012 we will see more company ambassadors where their customers become similar to an employee. The line between employee and customer blurs as customers help spread the word about their favorite company.
#7 Closer To Relevant And Measurable Social Influence
This year there has been a lot of debate on whether social influence is measurable. Also, even if it can be measured, should it be? But despite the debate, Klout has come up as a major player in this space. Businesses will use social influence in 2012 to find more relevant bloggers in their industry and much more. As the years move on we will see more relevant, though never perfect, social influence data.
#8 Automatic Sharing
Facebook has taken sharing to the next level and you will really see this ramp up in 2012. For example, now all you have to do is listen to a song on Spotify and all of your friends know what you are listening to. Facebook is way ahead of the other social networks when it comes to automatic sharing. But I’m sure there will be issues of privacy surrounding their open graph sharing concept.
#9 Day Parting For Social Media
With more noise in social media in 2012, it will be essential to post when people are most likely to be “listening”. For example, post to Facebook during the weekday evenings for maximum exposure. Most people are on Facebook after work and when they are relaxing in the evenings.
#10 Online Experience While Offline
We’ll see a continued push of Facebook places promotions, Foursquare promotions, QR codes to scan, and many more online experiences being pushed while offline.
So those are my predictions for Social Media in 2012. What do you think? Is my crystal ball accurate? Let me know in the comments below.