What does the social media scene have in store for marketers throughout 2013? We asked industry experts and thought leaders to share their predictions, to help others better prepare for a successful year across social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Some of their predictions may surprise you. The experts we polled don't see Facebook or Twitter as networks primed for growth, for example. The networks they pegged for growth this year include Pinterest, LinkedIn, Slideshare and MySpace. Yes, you read that right... MySpace.
This year, there is a massive opportunity for social businesses. It is an important distinction to note that social businesses are not simply businesses participating in social, our experts are quick to point out. "Brands must empower, enable and activate their employees to engage in conversations with the community," said Michael Brito, Senior VP of Social Business Planning at Edelman and one of our e-book experts. He shared that employees are not only great brand advocates, but are trusted by the community and their peers.
LinkedIn is poised for growth, though poor Foursquare is on its way out the door, said Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. That is, unless they are able to better integrate with other applications that can use their geolocation and other features. As a standalone app, its days are numbered. Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, puts his bets on Pinterest, YouTube and Google+, which he expects to see grow substantially over the course of 2013.
Our experts also weighed in on what they would like to see over the next year. Ray Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, hopes to see improved context. Relevance is key to social success, he said, adding, "Context should come in terms of location, time, role, relationship, sentiment and even intent!" Author and consultant Shel Israel wants to see people become more conversational, noting this is both the power and the beauty of social media. "Incivility needs to stop. It seems to me that people on social networks were adversely influenced by the style and tone of the recent presidential campaign," Israel told Dell. "They feel the best way to be right is to demean people who disagree with them."
As social fans and customers come to expect increasing levels of communication and engagement from brands, how can companies meet their expectations? "Connecting with your audience is not something that happens overnight, or can be achieved in a short series of funny status updates," warns Lee Hopkins, founder and social media strategist at Better Communication Results. Hopkins advises, "It is achieved through the consistent communication of values, insights, discoveries and experiences of organizations over time." A few funny status updates or images may get a brand some Likes, he notes, though the sentiment won't remain positive if the brand fails to meet that entertaining, interesting expectation they've set. Spend your time more productively by researching your audience and learning their likes, dislikes, and what "makes their world rock," said Hopkins.
Don't miss predictions and tips from pro marketers Anita Campbell, Gaurav Mishra, Geoff Livingston, Paul Gillin, Philip Sheldrake, Rohit Bhargava, Toby Bloomberg and Valeria Maltoni, all featured in Social Media Predictions 2013. Learn how to evolve your products and services, grow your business and reach advocate for your brand through their timely advice.
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Couldn't agree more about the future of LinkedIn. We've seen it become increasingly relevant for our business and our clients as well . LinkedIn has undergone some radical changes recently, and there's certainly more to come.
Connie, thanks to Dell for making this expert resource for social media predictions available to everyone. I'm considering developing socialmediapredictions.com into a working site and so may wish to embed the ebook and spread the Dell love and the social media predictions made by your experts a little more. Thanks again for doing and sharing this project.
That sounds like a great idea! You could easily aggregate the predictions that are published around the web as well as crowd source it.
And thank you for offering to embed it. It's amazing to me that after one week it's been viewed 90,000 times! I'm glad that people are finding it helpful.