On: December 21, 2011
2011 marked the normalization of social media for many businesses. It was no longer viewed as some wacky niche channel use by “the kids.”
Rather big brands recognized that we are at the dawn of the era of social business, perhaps the biggest game changer ever in the way customers interact with businesses.
The pace of change continues to accelerate. Looking ahead to 2012, we can see a number of trends emerging:
1. Social Service – As consumers begin to demand it, more companies will be forced embrace customer service through social channels. But please Tweet when you’re happy, not just when you’re pissed.
2. Social Sales – Companies will seek to embrace social sales in a non-creepy, non-stalkerish way. This will be hard to do, and many consumers will be annoyed at the intrusion and the perceptions that their privacy has somehow been compromised.
3. More Branded Content – More companies will produce branded content while reducing their traditional advertising spend. Well-made branded content is a powerful tool in shaping brand perceptions. This new-style content marketing will help cement relationships between brands and their customers.
4. Friends as Curators – Your social circle will increasingly determine your content consumption. They will determine what “news” – however that may be defined – fills your stream.
5. Personalized Content Aggregators – With the success of apps like Flipboard, people will look increasingly to new tools to help them source a steady stream of personalized content influenced by their social circle.
6. Second Screens – There will be more online interaction with broadcast TV – both news and entertainment – as broadcasters fight to maintain their tenuous hold on “regularly scheduled programming” versus on-demand or streaming. They will try to make TV a shared event, rather than solitary and passive experience. Some will succeed. Most will fail.
7. Fewer Trolls – Anonymity on major media sites will be reduced as more sites use Facebook logins for comments (as USA Today has done). This will mean somewhat fewer trolls offering corrosive comments, but don’t expect a massive reduction in online snark. People just love to bitch.
8. Email’s Long Slow Fade – Email, like Blackberry, continues its inexorable decline. More and more people will communicate publicly and privately through social channels and less through email. But email won’t die; it just won’t dominate as it has for the past few decades.
9. Video Becomes Dominant – It’s 2012, why are we still writing things? Video will become a dominant force for ongoing communications. There will be a growing acceptance of “business casual” video that is reasonably well made but does not have massive production costs.
10. Marketing Convergence – Integrated marketing campaigns will become more than a Facebook page as brands leverage technology like NFC to interact directly with consumers and share the results across multiple channels.
11. Google+ Will Fail – Google does a lot of things well and the Google+ platform is a well-designed social network that also delivers compelling SEO results. But users, other than a small army of self-described social media gurus/ninjas/jedis, are not rushing to the platform. Facebook will remain dominant because people have no need to move to Google+ – all their friends, and all their previous content, is on Facebook.
12. But Google Will Succeed – Google will become even more dominant (if that’s possible) with an increased emphasis on social search, giving users relevant content directly from their social connections.
What do you think is going to happen in 2012?